THE BLOG
07/27/2016 08:06 pm ET Updated Jul 28, 2017

History's Lesson: Andrew Jackson and Trump -- Tyranny's Twins

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

History? It is what we remember. When I try to imagine a President Trump -- God help us -- the only former president who comes near to him is Andrew Jackson. From what I recall of our history President Andrew Jackson kept 150 slaves, brutally drove the Native Americans from their lands into a terrible exile so he could grab their lands -- an early form of real estate dealing -- the art of the steal. He is famous for having lived a rowdy life, enjoying the company of "loose women" and fighting a duel over Rachel his beautiful "was she still married to someone else" wife (dueling was then the preferred form of tweeting). Like Trump he bragged about speaking his mind -- although the mind was filled with bigotry and rage, a rage that stirred mobs and decimated rivals.

Despite a few good acts -- it is difficult when you do so much not to let a few good deeds slip through the net of cruelty -- like Trump building an ice skating rink in Central Park, he was an abomination before the Lord in his own time and in ours. Vain, cruel, rowdy and quick to anger -- he was the last thing one needed or wanted in a leader, yet the good folks voted him into power. The country survived him because it was a world of muskets, dueling pistols and personal insults, not hydrogen bombs and internet slams and international treaties -- he was also, I believe, a notable warrior who won a famous battle long after the War of 1812 was over, email in those days was a slightly battered carrier pigeon. And glory came with the devil on horseback.

The point of this very rough exercise in history -- which would earn me a passing C plus -- is to note that the country was once able to survive abominable leaders -- although even these had a great capacity to do harm to "the other" -- the less technically advanced Native Americans and, of course, their chattel slaves. We can no longer afford the innocence of our guilty pleasures in having a strong-man as a leader -- a proudly ignorant man who equates his own personal glory with the good of his country, and uses bluster instead of brains to lead. No, Trump is not the first bad man to seek power in this country, Jackson -- at least -- had the courage to match his cruelties. Trump hides behind his little snarling insults building a wall of needle sharp meanness to protect himself from reality. His is the pain of the injection in the roof of the mouth that makes you numb and renders you helpless on the dentist's chair. You can see where I have spent the past few days. It was Andrew Jackson who, ironically started the Democratic Party, and stumbled through his Presidency without doing greater harm than his ignorance and bigotry permitted. But we no longer live in a world where a foolish, ruthless adventurer can lead with his harmful ignorance and merely have it touch the present as it did in the Jacksonian era. Such a person as Trump can mean the very end of the future of this country as we know it -- the end of the rule of law. No, I am not "for her" -- I am for my family, my friends and my country -- and that means I will be voting for Hillary with a prayer as well as a ballot.