For the first 240 years of U.S. history, at least, our most revered chief executives reliably articulated a set of high-minded, humanist values that bound together a diverse nation by naming what we aspired to: democracy, humanity, equality. The Enlightenment ideals Thomas Jefferson etched onto the Declaration of Independence were given voice by Presidents from George Washington to @barackobama. @realdonaldtrump doesn’t talk like that. In the 18 months since his Inauguration, #Trump has mentioned “democracy” fewer than 100 times, “equality” only 12 times and “human rights” just 10 times. The tallies, drawn from a searchable online agglomeration of 5 million of Trump’s words, contrast with his predecessors’: at the same point in his first term, #RonaldReagan had mentioned equality three times as often in recorded remarks, which included 48 references to human rights, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Trump embraces a different set of values. He speaks often of #patriotism, albeit in the narrow sense of military duty, or as the kind of loyalty test he’s made to #NFL players. He also esteems religious liberty and economic vitality. But America’s 45th President is “not doing what rhetoricians call that ‘transcendent move,'” says Mary E. Stuckey, a communications professor at Penn State University and author of Defining Americans: The Presidency and National Identity. Instead, with each passing month he is testing anew just how far from our founding humanism his “America first” policies can take us. And over the past two months on our southern border, we have seen the result. Read this week's full cover story on TIME.com. TIME Photo-Illustration. Girl: @jbmoorephoto—@gettyimages; Trump: Thierry Charlier—@afpphoto/@gettyimages, @olivierdouliery—Pool/@gettyimages; animation by @brobeldesign
A post shared by TIME (@time) on Jun 21, 2018 at 5:16am PDT
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