By ANGELO LYNN

If you’re an American patriot and a believer in democracy, these goals for the country should resonate: As a nation, we should strive to create a society and government that diffuses power to the many, not concentrate it in the hands of the few; embrace the diverse, not just the similar; don’t use up the future to serve the immediate (yes, that refers to climate change); and champion a society that respects and protects basic human rights and decencies, not a crazed pursuit of power and money. Most Americans would agree with those broad principles and goals.

President Trump does not.

Cartoonist and blogger Tom Toles of the Washington Post articulated that list of objectives in a piece Wednesday, along with describing the tactics behind Trump’s leadership: “President Trump thrives in an environment of chaos,” Toles writes. “He takes advantage…of others when they are off balance. That is why he needs to create and maintain an envelope of constant chaos around him…The whole world is often included.

“The formula is: Create disturbance, and pick off foes and recruit the disturbed,” Toles continues. “Trump did not invent this pattern of behavior; it is the instinctive habit of the authoritarian character. Disturb, reward, punish, repeat. It works until it doesn’t, but before you get to the doesn’t, a world of damage can pile up.

“How should we respond,” Toles asks? “Don’t play his game. Stop the game. Don’t reward him on the rare occasions he plays nice. Those are the false moments. His long game is to accumulate power and prerogative. Our long game needs to be to disempower him and his enablers.

“Trump wants to create enough disturbance that we lose our bearings and forget what it means to be a decent human being and a decent society,” Toles continues. “He wants to create an environment that looks as though it’s every man for himself and everyone should grab while the grabbing is good. This never ends well. And the later the ending, the worse the ending.”

It’s an astute observation by Toles. His advice going forward? “Stop the madness. Vote in November, and meanwhile, remember your values.” Amen.

Angelo Lynn is publisher of the Addison Independent, the Indy’s cousin paper,  where this editorial originally appeared.