In today’s society of choices, common questions include diet or regular? Strawberry or chocolate? Ford, Chevrolet or Chrysler?

Since 2016, the question is: “What kind of government or leader do you want?”

In 1967, when I was a junior in a small college in the center of conservative Kansas, my professor said: “Some day, the USA will have a dictator instead of a president.” There were about 10 of us in class, mostly men, all political science or history majors, and all had received A’s in U.S. history. In a chorus we all said, “No!” It could never happen. Our government has checks and balances derived from the 18th century liberal thinkers of the Enlightenment. They favored checks and balances and the division of power among among the legislative, judicial and executive branches.  

My professor has been deceased for many years, but I have not forgotten his warning for two reasons. The first is the growth of the executive branch, and the second is when political pundits start saying that our president is behaving like a king, dictator, oligarch or a tyrant. I start to wonder if my professor’s prediction 52 years ago is coming true.

If our president, Donald Trump, is becoming a dictator, what kind of dictator is he evolving into? My observation is based on watching this president on TV for the last two-and-a-half-years. It’s hard to see a definite political philosophy in his actions, but he seems to favor his friend, North Korean Communist dictator Kim Jung Un, and his admirer Vladimir Putin of Russia, as he becomes more like them.  

We can see two dominant characteristics in our president’s behavior that are turning him into a dictator.

The first is benevolence, for he loves to say nice things about some people. He showers his benevolence on people who admire him and say it’s such an honor to serve him, like his cabinet members.

The next characteristic is vengeance. If you were beautiful or wonderful and crossed this man, you may suffer his full vengeance. Our president is the benevolent dictator, no longer president of all the people, but only the president of a minority that he showers with his benevolence because they worship him.  

With the Electoral College and what some call a booming economy, he can actually, with the help of Russia or North Korea, win. He has even said he will take help from a foreign power to win again in 2020.

So much for “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” My professor’s prediction will be right, because then we will be living under the whim and tyranny of one man.   

(Cripe is a resident of Nogales.)

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