I am a huge Orson Welles fan. This weekend I decided to watch Citizen Kane again to escape the daily Donald Trump soap opera. Bad idea. It became a double-dose of emotional upheaval as I juxtaposed the various personality traits embodied by both characters. Kane’s character is at times pompous, lording over anyone he could belittle. Sounds familiar. At other times he appears shallow and pathetic. Lessons relearned. One cannot accumulate enough material things to make life meaningful and rewarding. There is no escaping yourself and soon enough you will be a lonely, despised character waiting for your inevitable encounter with the grim reaper. Welles was remarkable in that role. I cannot say the same for Mr. Trump; he’s doing a lousy job playing President.
However, for millions of Americans, Donald Trump is that “great man” they desperately need to feel safe. He is the Jim Taylor in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, who ensures everyone toes the line and stay in their places in order to keep order. As Ayn Rand wrote in The Fountainhead: “Great men can’t be ruled… The great is the rare, the difficult, the exceptional.” America was built by exceptional men—the Rockefellers, the Gettys, the Vanderbilts. Donald Trump would like us to believe he belongs in that pantheon. Until we see his tax returns, millions share his fantasies as one who can make America great again.