This morning, Time Magazine announced that Donald Trump is its 2016 Person of the Year.
Trump fans celebrated the announcement, saying that it proves how great a leader Donald Trump is. Critics of Donald Trump have cautioned that greatness and goodness are not the same thing.
After all, in 1938, the Time Magazine Person of the Year was Adolf Hitler. Time’s editors point out that the award is not intended to be a moral endorsement, but is given to “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse.”
The editors made it clear that their selection of Donald Trump was a testament to the terror and destruction he inspires as much as to the power he has demonstrated. They wrote, “For reminding America that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow’s political culture by demolishing yesterday’s, Donald Trump is TIME’s 2016 Person of the Year.”
Is it unfair to note the parallels between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler? No, indeed, the violent nationalism and contempt for equality displayed by Donald Trump and his supporters make such considerations a responsibility of all Americans who truly value the ideals represented in the Constitution. The need to compare Trump and Hitler has smashed Godwin’s Law, with Mike Godwin himself telling his fans, “If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump.”
Time Magazine’s choice today is a warning to all Americans who value democracy of the people that a cult of personality is settling over the land. Already, we feel the terror of Trump’s greatness.