Protesting agains Trump in Cleveland
Protesting agains Trump in Cleveland
The Editorial Board

WASHINGTON — These are anxious times in America. Despite a steadily, if slowly, growing economy and the absence of a major war, people remain troubled by a sense of national underperformance and myriad social ills, most recently the surge in racially tinged fatal shootings committed by law enforcement officers and against them. A new Gallup poll reports that only 17% of Americans feel satisfied with the way things are going, the lowest percentage since October 2013 — and down 12 points in just the past month.

For many, of course, a cause of concern is Donald Trump, who accepted the Republican presidential nomination Thursday evening. Belligerent and erratic, Trump nevertheless has a serious chance to win in November. In his acceptance speech, he sought to enhance his political prospects the only way he knows how: by inflaming public angst, so as to exploit it.

Trump took real challenges and recast them in terms that were not only exaggerated but also apocalyptic. "The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life," he claimed. Though he addressed issues ranging from public safety, to immigration, to trade, Trump's proposed solutions all shared a common premise: The way to overcome difficulty is through force. To American companies that exercise their right to move production abroad, the Trump administration will administer unspecified "consequences." A giant wall will block migrants and drug traffickers along the Mexico border. And "law and order" — an old trope of Richard Nixon and George Wallace that Trump brought out of retirement — will be restored.

Perhaps politically effective because of their simplicity, Trump's now-familiar formulations would fail as actual policies — because they are simplistic. There is no practical prospect, for example, of constructing the wall he insistently touts; even if built, drug traffickers and others could eventually tunnel under it. And, as per usual, last night he added no details to this plan that might convince anyone otherwise.

As for law and order, the president has at most indirect influence over thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country. To the extent it can be taken seriously at all, Trump's assertion that "safety will be restored" on the day of his inauguration implies a vast federalization of a traditional state and local function, contrary to long-standing law and custom — not to mention the small-government doctrine of the Republican Party that has so unwisely and hypocritically hitched its wagon to Mr. Trump's star. To tense communities in need of the nuanced toughness that police chiefs such as David O. Brown of Dallas have successfully applied, a President Trump would project from the White House a repressive attitude, unbuffered by a shred of sensitivity, racial or otherwise. Less safety, not more, could be the result.

Trump began his speech by presenting himself as the bearer of painful but necessary truth. And no doubt, for many of his listeners, his words expressed a deeply felt emotional reality. There is real fear in the land; real pain. But it will take real leadership, not the wishful, demagogic brand Trump embodied Thursday night, to address this.

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Society

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

Hair Salon Rob Peetoom in Rotterdam

Daphne van Paassen

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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