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Why I Could Not Vote for Trump

I’m not a liberal or a Democrat and I’ve abandoned the Republican Party of my father reluctantly. I make my living as an engineer, which requires a clear and detailed understanding of reality. Inspired by a father who taught me Santayana’s dictum that “those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it”, I have spent a lifetime studying history. I learned the necessity of duty, honor, and self-sacrifice as a military officer in combat in the defense of my Nation. Also from my father, I acquired a reverence for our Constitution and an appreciation for the checks, balances, and democratic processes with which it protects our freedom. I swore an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic” when I was commissioned an Army officer in 1967. Before I could vote, I passed out campaign literature for Richard Nixon (1960) and Barry Goldwater (1964). Since turning 21 I have voted for Richard Nixon (in ’68, absentee from Vietnam), Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Robert Dole, and George W. Bush.

My oath to protect and defend the Constitution prevented me from voting for Donald Trump. When I worked as a consultant in NYC I had the opportunity to watch Trump in action when he was still nominally a Democrat. He was liar, cheat, fraud, and con-man then. He was also incompetent running his businesses. Unlike my good fortune in fathers, he was raised by Fred Trump who taught him to take any and every advantage he could get away with, regardless of legality. ethics, or morality. There were only wolves and sheep, and he should always be a wolf. When Fred sank into dementia, Donald and his siblings stole all Fred’s assets and Donald’s businesses appeared to prosper, bailed out by the influx of cash.

During that part of his life, there was no incentive for the “fake news” to besmirch his reputation and he had not yet threatened his schools with lawsuits if they divulged his academic records. While he was a student, he was classified by the draft to be fit to serve but had the standard student deferments. When he graduated he was reclassified 4-F due to “bone spurs”. He graduated from the Real Estate Management bachelor’s program at Wharton. He’s not an MBA and there is no evidence that he graduated at the top of his class as he has claimed. There is proof that he lied to Forbes magazine to get into their list of American millionaires as he crafted his reputation as wealthy and successful.

Few politicians are as squeaky clean or truthful as they claim, so none of this would disqualify him from running for office. However, it makes his claims of “fake news” when he is criticized less than compelling. So why is he so dangerous to the Constitution?

  • Fred taught him that only fools follow rules and that he is above them.
  • His mentor after Fred was Roy Cohn, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel on the Permanent Committee on Investigations, who taught him to use the law as a personal weapon, not a tool for justice. He recognizes no legal constraints on his behavior.
  • His view of governing is entirely transactional and he has no concept of Constitutional roles and limitations. When he wants something, any means that work are acceptable. He, therefore, takes the position that there are no limits on Presidential power.
  • He has no knowledge of the Constitution or American history and absolutely no interest in learning about them — “Who knew Lincoln was a Republican?” To him, the Constitution is merely an obstacle to his whims and ambitions that must be circumvented and overcome. That attitude has become increasingly dangerous since he appointed an Attorney General who is willing to aid and abet him.
  • As he has no understanding of his own weaknesses and limitations, he tends to choose enablers as aides and political appointees. In the life and death decision making of Vietnam, I learned to value subordinates who questioned me and forced me to think. He was always protected by wealth and power and never learned that lesson.
  • He accepts responsibility only for successes, never for failures which he always blames on something or someone else. A behavior that, as a former Army officer, I find abhorrent.
  • He fosters a cult of personality and has absolutely no moral compass to help guide his decision making, making him a dictator wannabe. His admiration for, and envy of, dictators has been only too obvious.

This is not about politics! Throughout our history, America has swung back and forth between conservatism and liberalism. We always had the opportunity to change our minds and take chances because the Constitution protected the democratic processes that enabled that freedom of choice. This President, aided and abetted by Mitch McConnell and William Barr is destroying those Constitutional norms and breaking the democratic processes — leaving the Constitution a powerless piece of paper — all for the sake of political power and expediency. Can you, or anyone else, guarantee me our Republic will survive that. Don’t tell me it cannot happen here. History proves otherwise.

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