Let’s hope this week 50 years from now, Americans will still be celebrating the first moon landing instead of mourning the death of democracy in a country that was once dedicated to tolerance, political comity, and the rule of law.

Neil Armstrong’s step onto the surface of the moon expanded mankind’s horizon. It exhilarated Americans at a time of deep funk: the summer of 1969 was six months removed from 1968, the year the country was nearly undone.

At least 1968 had the virtue of being about something: war, civil rights, civic engagement.

The cataclysmic events of the past week are the result of one man’s power lust, a corrupted Republican Party, and the millions of knuckleheads who look to Trump for leadership.

Some leadership. Here is what Trump’s Wednesday night rally in North Carolina sounded like, as reported in The New York Times:

“He [Trump] charged that the “dangerous, militant hard left” among the Democrats were “hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down.” By the end of the rally, Mr. Trump went even further, accusing them of seeking the “destruction of our country.”“They don’t love our country,” he told the roaring crowd. “I think, in some cases, they hate our country. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it.”

There have been moments during the last two-and-a-half years when I’ve wondered: Is it me? What am I missing about Donald J. Trump? He can’t be all that bad, can he?

This week, however, provided yet one more example of how awful this guy really is, how unlike he is from any other president we’ve ever had, how unlike is from the kind of president a country as big and diverse as ours needs.

I hate to say this because it portends doomsday for America, nevertheless I think it’s true. Donald Trump is the one who hates America. His indifference to the country’s long term welfare is vast - as vast as his endless ego and his seemingly bottomless need for personal affirmation.

As for his perceived intolerance, it’s immaterial whether or not Trump himself is a racist. Leaders are measured not by what they harbor in the inner most recesses of their brains, but by what they express and the acts they perform.

A nativist from the most worldly of cities, the president of the United States has delivered this country to the brink of (a) a nervous breakdown, (b) the end of representative government, or (c) Ivanka Trump as the next Secretary of State/Commerce?

If you answer all three, you are pretty close to the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. So help us, God.

Here on earth, as has been said, God’s work must truly be our own. In the case of Trump, I’m afraid, it comes down to having the Democrats, both lay and leadership, save the day.

I say “I’m afraid” because Democrats appear ill prepared for the task at hand. They are skipping to Trump’s fiddle, pure and simple.

Donald Trump would love the election of 2020 to be about the southern border and immigration. He’d love to run against a Democratic candidate who’s for “open borders,” “free” medical care for illegal immigrants, reparations, and the like.

He must not be given the opportunity.

Every time a congressional Democrat or a Democrat running for president visits a border detention facility without visiting a struggling community in the Midwest or Appalachia; every time he or she speaks with compassion about the plight of children at such a facility without speaking with equal compassion about the millions of children living in dire circumstances across the United States - every time this or something similar happens, Donald Trump inches closer to a second term in the White House.

The election of 2020 should be about the future of America, not about the future of the Central Americans who want to come here.

The election should be about American identity, not about ethnic, racial, or gender identity.

It should be about the country’s future, not its past.

For sure, talk about Donald Trump’s failures and his lying ways. Talk about the soft spot in his heart for Putin and Russia, for Kim Jong-un and North Korea. And why did he tear up the Iranian nuclear deal? That was just stupid.

Campaigning is about engaging your foe. But don’t forget: having a Donald Trump fixation is bad; better to obsess about the American people and their future.

“He [Trump] is crazy like a fox, and it only makes perfectly good sense for him to go back to what got him here in the first place, which is driving this racial angst in the electorate,”Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher recently told the Times.

“To a certain extent, the electorate already gets that Donald Trump is racist and he says racist, offensive things, so of course, you have to condemn what he says as a matter of principle. But from a strategic standpoint, does it get you anything to fall into where he clearly wants the battle to be fought? It’s almost like he’s picking the battlefield for 2020.”

Richard Robbins lives in Uniontown. He can be reached at dick.l.robbins@gmail.com.

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