I am the “Indy reader” Howard Hills referred to in his letter last Friday. Clearly, we differ on the influence Bob Dylan’s iconic song “The Times They Are a-Changin” had on turning ruby red Orange County bright blue last month.
As Howard and I both know, winning an election is one thing; it’s another thing to govern wisely. I just wish President Trump understood this. Consider the following example:
In the closing weeks of the recent mid-term elections, Mr. Trump declared himself a nationalist. It wasn’t the first time he described himself as such, but it was the most revealing.
“You know what a globalist is?” Trump asked the crowds. “It’s someone who wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country,” the president declared.
“And you know what? We can’t have that. You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist,” he continued.
“We’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I am a nationalist, okay? Use that word.”
Sorry, but I don’t think I will. Nor will French President Emmanuel Macron. Last month, as world leaders met to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, Macron declared, “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” I couldn’t agree more.
Like Mr. Trump, my ancestors emigrated from Germany to America. They arrived in this country before 1830. To underscore how long they have lived here, my grandfather was born in Baltimore in 1842. He was 19 when the Civil War broke out. Mr. Trump’s grandfather didn’t arrive in the U.S. until 1885, 20 years after the war between the states ended.
Which begs the question: If Donald Trump is a nationalist, then what does that make me?
Despite attending high school and college at roughly the same time, Mr. Trump and I couldn’t be more different. Before running for office, Trump’s entire career was focused on making money. Mine not so much. I always was more interested in public service.
Based on his recent remarks, you might think the president is more patriotic than I am; but nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t condone violence like he does, nor do I have trouble calling homeland neo-Nazis what they truly are…un-American.
If these are the tenants of being a nationalist, then count me out. Neither symbolizes the spirit of the people or country I was taught to respect and love. From my perspective, Donald Trump owes the nation an apology.
Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach