Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked America’s free press, including for its reporting on the approximate 15,000 lies he has spoken to the American people. Trump-shouted slurs, as well as related, incredible incivilities, are common parts of Trump’s performance “vocabulary.” They are directed not only at those brave enough to oppose him, but in classic bully fashion are also aimed at the weak, the dead, mourners of the dead and any who differ with Trump.

There is much disgustingly wrong in this from our highest officeholder, but apart from the wrongness of Trump’s separate rants and rages there is transcendent evil in what we are forced to endure.

First is the normalization of this invective by its repetitive use, dulling our senses by concussive bombardment, which becomes “he’s just being Trump” and dismissive of the sulphuric odor, fundamental evil of it, or it is unobjected to because America’s better senses and angels have become lost by the difficulties of objecting to it time and time again.

Second is what our children and grandchildren are being taught as to what is acceptable American behavior in the treatment and characterization of others and of American institutions. “Modeling” is a word that has profound meaning: Modeled words and behavior become the words and behavior of our citizenry of tomorrow, and of today, such as Senator McSally’s Trumpian slander of a reporter by calling him a “liberal hack” rather than answer his question.

Third is Trump’s concentrated effort to destroy important democratic institutions: The press and civil language and behavior. Tyranny begins with destruction of institutions that preserve decency. Tyrants have come to power through institutions such as free elections, but once in office, have destroyed other fundamental institutions, such as the press, truth and civility in word and deed.

Support America’s institutions. Support truth.

John Erickson