Trump the Charlatan

Let me put it simply: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump scares the sinner out of me. His egotism, prejudices and impulsiveness make me worry for this country's soul. I consider myself a spiritual person, though I struggle, and while in despair I sometimes turn to the Bible. One of my favorite passages from the Bible seems particularly apt this election season. In Hosea, it is written, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hath rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee."

Trump is a person who rejects hard knowledge in favor of the easy road of ignorance. So don't believe him when he says he's tough. In an interview with Megyn Kelly--Fox News' 'get religion' moment and an attempt at reconciliation with Trump--Trump revealed that he does not read books. He scans them. He reads passages (if at all) because he doesn't have time to sit, think and reflect. His habit of learning is similar to how he interacts with people, superficially, for instance viewing women as "piece(s) of ass."

In his book The Money Culture, Michael Lewis (of Moneyball and The Big Short fame) alludes to how Trump's inflated sense of himself is related to a long history of supposedly devout Americans actually serving two masters. Lewis writes, "God and money have never been as far apart in America as they have been in most places. Partly this may be because selling is a form of ecstasy in America. But there is also a long history of American preachers aiming to reconcile the moral precepts of the Bible with the making of money."

If there is a better example of a preacher of the gospel of wealth than Donald Trump, I can't think of one. His slipshod university courses are meant to make money off the backs of gullible fans. His message is that if you're tough enough, you'll win, carefully forgetting the fact that he was born into wealth and privilege. If he were a televangelist, he wouldn't have to change his narcissistic personality much. His entire brand of ignorance is built on deception, easy meanings and self-aggrandized sloganeering.

Most importantly, Trump is insincere about his ignorance and bad faith, in the existentialist sense. He doesn't want you to know what he doesn't know. One gets the sense Trump has never gone through a dark night of the soul. His faith must be shallow because, though he professes admiration for the Bible for example, he can't name a favorite verse. Indeed, he must have been skipping quite a few passages in his reading. Yet he wants to subject millions of Muslims to veritable tests of faith by prohibiting them from entering this country.

For Trump, all is sweetness and light because he exalts himself instead of others. He is a charlatan, plain and simple. I am not alone in believing he would make a horrible president. And, yes, his self-deceptive bad faith is part of the problem.