Demagogues and democracy

Military service can be liberating. Its meritocracy, blind to forms of identity other than professional competence, reflects the egalitarian ideals upon which our nation was founded. For many, it’s refreshing (it was for me!). When political candidates appeal to ethnic and religious divisions, servicemen and women find it particularly troublesome, as we have long set aside those differences for a cause greater than ourselves.

Divisive appeals, notable in the populism of presidential candidate Donald Trump, also remind us of a dark past in America history. A documentary about the last great divider in American politics, a racist white Southern liberal named George Wallace, is below. Those who wish to understand the rhetorical skills and political opportunism manifest in demagoguery will find Wallace’s bio instructive.

 

— Marcus