No conscience

President Richard Nixon’s western White House was located at San Clemente in Southern California (Orange County). It was near his boyhood home, where the the Nixon family lived in modest, if not spare, comfort.

Living in such circumstances should not have mattered to a clan strongly influenced by a mother and the Quaker faith. Many years later this president would often recall, “She was a saint.”

Where the son would acquire his vaulting political ambition is a mystery to me. It undoubtedly evolved (with mounting desire), over a long period.

Pop psychology suggests some possible clues. My own dubious version is that, as he is gaining fame (and notoriety), he is also becoming somewhat at odds with himself.

His upbringing seems to have planted in him a conscience — one demanding, ideally, care and nurture. Was he going to remain contented and composed? Or carelessly, would he choose a less stringent and demanding ethical life?

In such a compromised psyche may be the beginning of paranoia.

Donald John Trump’s case is easier to diagnose, even for this layman. At seven years of age, he punches his teacher in the face. That incident is the action of an unrestrained child; his willful child syndrome is then not treated.

Is it ever? In several years he would attend military academy. In the interim before, however, he has learned to go along when it serves his interests.

For a career in business, he is groomed by the infamous “fixer” attorney Roy Cohn, once described on a New York magazine cover as “the worst human being who ever lived.” At a stage of diseased health, and nearing a tortured end, Trump abandons him. So the Donald now puts himself on the path to become the new “worst.”

If the above is at all accepted, how does one at this point compare the presidents Nixon and Trump? If Richard Nixon took a nation into unsafe waters, Trump now has us in the narrowest straits. Our democracy and our role as a hope in the world is in abeyance. (Lincoln once said the United States is “an almost chosen land.”) Nixon wouldn’t follow a conscience. Trump has never — ever — had a conscience (with which to be burdened).

Richard J. Yost

South Abington Township

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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