No Friend of Honor: Donald Trump and the Politics of Hate

Where is our φιλότιμο?

Filotemo or φιλότιμο literally translates as 'friend of honor.' However, it means much more than that. It's respect, honoring your friends (even when they are wrongheaded), gratitude for small things like gifts, heritage, and kindness, pride, dignity, duty, and logical critical thinking. It's about courage and virtue and standing up for what is right and for the common good. It's about sacrifices and a deep commitment to personal freedom. It's also about keeping a self-deprecating sense of humor - since no one else actually does.

I am a third-gen American of mostly Hellenic descent. That's important because I learned a long time ago about the pre-Socratic idea of φιλότιμο. No other language has this concept -The Urban Dictionary even says so. My classically-oriented family taught this concept at an early age, and it's stayed with me all this time.

Perhaps the perfect example of φιλότιμο is that Greece, shackled by major austerity measures and in economic meltdown, has still managed to welcome thousands of refugees each day to its shores. They have shown true xenophilia, a love of strangers, and have put their φιλότιμο into practice every day.

Whatever φιλότιμο truly is, it's not about hate.

And yet hate is exactly what is being spewed from that ultimate xenophobe - the misogynistic, racist, isolationist Donald J. Trump. Oh, he pretends he's looking out for America, but really, all he is doing is spreading a message of anger, distrust, and not loving his neighbor as himself. Whatever virtues Mr. Trump has, he certainly doesn't come close to having any φιλότιμο.

Whenever Donald Trump opens his mouth, venom and intolerance flow from him like a raging river. He is a self-aggrandizing megalomaniac, with an ego too large to realize his message is as repulsive as the man himself. His followers swallow his bile and they go forth and regurgitate his message of intolerance and hate, and cater to the lowest common denominator in this country. He lies, he incites, and he is inexplicably winning.

We need to understand something. This one-time joke has become a menace to society.

Did you hear the latest? He threatened that when the Republican convention comes to Cleveland, if he is short any votes and not awarded the nomination that he didn't win, there'd be riots. Does this man have a clue about what voting means? If you don't have enough votes, you don't win. You don't threaten that your mouth-breathing followers will riot. You don't denigrate the other candidates, even if you dislike them. You learn what democracy and majority rule really mean. Did he even take civics?

When you start counting all the people he disparages, the numbers are staggering. He hates all minorities. See how he allows people to be treated at his Triumph of the Will-like rallies. Donald likes freedom of the press, as long as only his viewpoints are reported. Anyone antithetical to his way of thinking is threatened with physical harm. It's okay to vote, if you vote for him, if not, then he encourages sucker punches, while pretending to abhor it.

His vituperative comments against womenhave echoed down through the years, and although he may like his trophy wives, and trophy daughter, he has no use for the rest of us. He condones his big-game hunting sons slaughtering endangered species, thinking this makes them true 'men'. It makes me seriously wonder if they too inherited his unnaturally small hands.

That would explain so much.

Let's be clear here. This is not about disliking a political party, or distrusting someone whose ideas differ from my own. I grew up with Democrats, Republicans, Socialists and even an unrepentant Monarchist. Politics should elevate us, inspire us, and move us forward as a society. We should take the best ideas and solutions from all sides and forge them into a cohesive and positive message of progress. What we shouldn't do is devolve into name-calling, violence, and such mean-spirited and nasty discourse that we alienate, well, everyone.

What kind of a leader of the free world could he possibly be?

Oh, right. He doesn't want a free world - not here, not anywhere. He wants one he can manipulate and run into the ground. Something to brand with his Trump moniker, like his casinos, his hotels, and his failed Trump University.

He is a disaster waiting to happen.

I realize that he is at a disadvantage of not being Greek and, understanding in his DNA, the concept of φιλότιμο, but he could at least try. His xenophobia has created greater barriers than any wall he could build. His desire to register and monitor all Muslims in the United States smacks of the good old National Socialist Party of WW2 Germany fame. He even has the salute down pat, and has his followers swearing allegiance to him.

Not the United States, but to him.

Okay, that was truly mean, but that is what this wannabe brings out in people. He advocates force and violence and then lies that he's done so. He subscribes to the Tennessee Williams concept in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that "mendacity is the system we live in" and plays his lies for all they are worth.

I'd like to sit down with Mr. Trump, grandson of an immigrant, son of a KKK sympathizer, trust fund baby, business failure, and presidential candidate, and try to explain to him what φιλότιμο means.

But I don't think he'd ever talk to me because I am a woman. I don't take any crap from someone of his ilk, and I am like no one he's ever met before. I'd probably scare him. But it's a thought.

Maybe I could get him to understand φιλότιμο. Or not. He'd have to be Greek and have φιλότιμο in his soul.

For this to work, most importantly, he has to have a soul.