Most folks adhere to some form of moral standard. For some, this standard may be based on a religious or political belief. For others, this standard may simply be based on some form of acceptable social ethics. But some folks’ standards are not based on religion or politics or any form of acceptable ethics. Some folks’ moral standard is based on the old adage, ‘by hook or by crook.’ Which means ‘by any means necessary.’
This is a standard that has been followed by pirates, gangsters, con-artists, grifters, and thieves, of all stripes, since time immemorial. Those who follow it have been the bane of law-abiding, God-fearing, and morally upstanding people since people first formed into social groups. They have been feared, despised, hated, loved, admired, and emulated. They fill our police blotters, pulp-fiction, action movies, and news broadcasts. They walk the streets of the hood, they haunt the halls of Congress, and they inhabit the boardrooms of big business. They may be your co-worker, next-door neighbor, or even a family member.
It is hard to say what kind of child, or when and how a child will pick up this standard of behavior. For some, it may be due to a form of trauma. For others, it may be due to how they are raised. For many, it is probably a combination of both. Donald Trump was raised by his father with this standard, and he, in turn, raised his children in the same way. His father taught him that the only thing that matters is winning and in order to win one has to be a killer. In other words, one has to win ‘by hook or by crook.’
What does this mean? It means that all other standards of behavior, be they religious, political, or ethical in any socially acceptable way, are secondary. It means that honesty, fairness, and compassion, are seen as signs of weakness, while dishonesty, double-dealing, and cold-heartedness are seen as signs of strength.
In the world of the pirate, gangster, con-artist, grifter and thief, to outsmart, con, take, buffalo, hoodwink or rip-off the common citizen, mark, John, or sucker is not only a sign of success but confirmation of one’s own superiority over the ordinary human being. Because at the core of a criminal’s cynical rationalizations and justifications for doing what they do is a belief that the ordinary human being is stupid and the moral beliefs and standards of ordinary human beings are foolish. And so, ordinary human beings deserve what they get.
Donald Trump and his family have carried the cynical rationalizations and justifications of the common criminal into their adult lives and into the White House of the United States. And they have succeeded, with the help of corrupt politicians, disgruntled Americans, and a foreign government, in pulling off one of the greatest political cons, economic heists, and social grifts in human history.
Now the American People, the American economy, and the American political system are being held hostage by a virtual gang of pirates who are busy ransacking the coffers of the American government and wrecking the American ship of state for as long as they can get away with it. Unless we, the American people, wake up to what is happening, muster all of the weapons our legal system has to offer, and launch a full frontal assault on these marauders and drive them out.
And we must drive them out, or at least drive them back into the holes they climbed out of, because these pirates, gangsters, con-artists, grifters, and thieves care nothing for the standards of democracy we value. They do not care about democracy and they have no business being involved with the management of the business of democracy. They only seek to satisfy their insatiable and prideful need to win at any cost, ‘by hook or by crook.’ And they will destroy our democracy in the process if we let them. We must not let them.