Re “Ted Kennedy, Donald Trump, and the death of moral politics” by Neal Gabler (Ideas, Jan. 3): Donald Trump is not the cause of any moral decline or decay in America. He is a symptom, an ugly, malignant product of a terrible, enduring dark side of America. Make no mistake, this darkness exists and it is dangerous. Attempts to legislate it out of existence have only driven it underground; attempts to educate it have never taken root.
It is the America that values individual wishes over a shared sense of community support, no matter how venal those individual desires may be. It is the America that values white, Christian culture over any and all others. It is the America that espouses exclusion, segregation, subjection, and, yes, force and violence. It is the America that thrives on hate.
Recognizing that the phenomenon of Trump is not just a one-time oddity but rather is a significant outbreak of a substantial component of American culture is crucial if we are to prevent America from devolving into an undemocratic, fascistic dictatorship.
Focusing only on Trump will impede our ability to understand and successfully deal with the dark side of the American soul.
As Shakespeare had Cassius say in “Julius Caesar”: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”