American history abounds with flawed presidents. We have endured racists, misogynists and xenophobes. Some possessed no literary ability or social grace. All presidents bring varying levels of inadequate experience to the position; most have economic conflicts of interest. And most carry some degree of economic conflicts of interest from their personal lives.
But never have we coped with a person vainly owning all these faults and more. And while this administration’s positive accomplishments barely tip any scale, at least the damage to date has been minimal.
With his speech before the United Nations last month, however, Donald Trump achieved a feat shared with no previous occupant of the White House. Before representatives of 193 nations, this American president promised under certain provocation to commit a heinous war crime. Specifically, he said that if America “is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” which would violate any just-war criterion of proportionality.
Now, we all know this president is prone to childish hyperbole. Regardless, this shocking statement must send chills down the spine of any rational person. Whatever method used, destroying North Korea would entail the deaths mass murder of tens of millions of men, women and children.
Trump has already displayed his contempt for human life (trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement), his lack of compassion (Dreamers) and his willful ignorance about human sexuality (ban on transgender people serving in our military). But nothing could prepare us for his willingness to condemn 25 million North Koreans to death, and endanger the lives of hundreds of millions more in South Korea, Japan and other nations.
How much longer must we jeopardize the security of the world by empowering this man? People of faith must see that his attitude reflects blatant demagoguery on a scale approaching blasphemy. Donald Trump does not represent conservative values. Donald Trump worships only at the Tabernacle of Trump — an altar of massive gold letters, undeserved wealth and unearned privilege. I call on all people of faith to denounce this self-proclaimed demiurge and bring some sense of sanity and morality back to our national leadership.
Rev. Jeff Liebmann
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia