Regarding Kevin McDermott’s column “Trump’s own incompetence spared democracy. What if the next despot is smarter?” (Nov. 21): While I agree with McDermott’s warning that we need to guard against a future “smarter Trump,” it is perhaps more imperative to examine how we guard against nearly half of our country’s voting population supporting this autocratic candidate and president in the first place.
It is essential to ask ourselves how we have nurtured a culture of fierce individualism over the democratic culture of working toward the common good. What values are being taught and exemplified by parents, schools, churches and communities that result in our inability to even agree on the basic facts of how our democracy should work? While the prospect of a future, more successful autocratic president is scary, what is more frightening is the huge number of our fellow Americans who are inclined to support and enable such a strongman.
Trump needs to be held accountable for the damage he has caused to our democracy. But he could never have done it without the Republican Party and nearly half of voters enabling him to do so. It’s time to take a hard look at what we, as a people, need to do to reinvest in the commonly held truths and aspirations that have made our country, while never perfect, a stronghold of democracy in the past.