By Herman Meister

Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor or a guest column.

Technically since I’m still a registered Republican I receive mailings and phone calls to support the Republican Party. Sometimes I wish there were no parties that fester such myopic divisiveness and hate. Unfortunately the John Lennon song “Imagine” only provides us brief meanderings from our real world.

A few days ago I received a “personal” letter in the mail from first lady Melania Trump. My pulse quickened when I read that there was also a check enclosed! The letter was a plea to help her husband gain reelection and funds were needed to ward off the socialistic and “destructive attacks” from “obstructionist Democrats” and “mainstream media” among others. All I had to do was write a matching check to the Republican National Committee, mail them back, and the country we all love would be saved (my words). I chuckled at the tone and purpose of the letter, but then upon deeper reflection I was washed by a sense of sadness for our nation and I figured out why.

Here is a first lady who’s website proclaims she “focuses her time on the many issues affecting children,” etc., etc. She definitely needs a better public relations staff. I’m not sure what happened to her agenda to stop bullying, but since she is married to the biggest bully on the block someone realized that going down that path would have been moral hypocrisy.

Melania likely doesn’t have much influence in what her husband says or does. She is basically a willing captive and political pawn in a seemingly very dysfunctional family, including their White House family.

From where I sit this seems to be a president and White House almost completely devoid of culture, family, love and empathy. I look back on almost any administration of either party and they have seemingly welcomed us into the White House and in some cases their own personal lives. We’ve enjoyed both cultural and traditional televised events. It seems as if it’s almost painful for this president to acknowledge or participate in these social and cultural occasions. This administration offers us no fun family insights, no family dogs or cats, no informal photo ops, no musical or cultural guests to the White House. The only thing that pours from the interior are hateful tweets and denigration of those who dare to disagree with the president or even question him.

I agree that a socialistic government is not what the United States needs and is not how we became the nation we are today, but where this president is taking us is a divisive, hateful and destructive place that should never be tolerated within our borders or elsewhere. At this point it is far too melodramatic and an overstatement to suggest that we are headed towards a fascist state, but there are disturbing flickerings, intended or not, to argue that this administration is leaning toward, or at least infatuated by that way of governing. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Fascism” as “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” Have any bells gone off yet? Certainly we can’t check all the boxes right now, but the president’s fawning over current world dictators and how he treats others who disagree with him speaks volumes. A dictatorship would make implementation of his impulsive thoughts and hate agenda so much easier.

Prior to World War II Prime Minister to the U.K., Neville Chamberlain and many other influential people were seduced and fooled by Adolf Hitler. We are far too knowledgeable and sophisticated to ever let something like that happen right?

As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated: “Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.”

— Herman Meister lives in Sunriver.