How is it that I live in a world in which the graph above is real?
How is it that an obvious human monster is able to get this far? How can people be so committed to winning, or just destroying their opponents, as to be so stupid?
And it is stupidity. Massive stupidity. There is no other root explanation.
That’s what bothers me most. Not the Orange One, his type has long been with us, so much as his supporters. The combination of stupid, angry, and incited, scares the shit out of me. There are signs and portents that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Julian Zelizer, writing for CNN Politics (Why Donald Trump is the Next Walter White), invokes our modern love of the anti-hero as a reason more aren’t repelled:
Americans no longer expect virtuous protagonists. For almost two decades, Americans have been tuning in to cheer on the antihero on television, on acclaimed series from “The Sopranos” to “Breaking Bad” — and dozens more. We watch characters who do whatever is necessary to make things happen. They are not pleasant, they are unethical, they are mean and nasty, and they cheat and steal to get their way. Some even resort to torture and murder. Yet we have urged them on with our fandom and our excitement.
He goes on to mention J.R. (from Dallas), Dr. Greg House (House, M.D.), Don Draper (Mad Men), Frank Underwood (House of Cards), and others.
The combination of reality show addiction, an obsession with anti-heroes, the devaluation of intellect and rational thought, frustration and anger with a rapidly changing world, and a ‘burn down the house’ mentality, and it’s not hard to see how this happened.
There’s no more clear example of extreme dissonance than in how the Evangelical Christian Right has embraced Trump, a man who clearly and obviously lives a life completely contrary to their espoused views.
It’s not like it’s hard to tell the difference between Trump and Jesus.
The level of hypocrisy going on there is jaw-dropping to me. And by people who pride themselves on being ‘more Christian’ than average. Astonishing how many of them wear the WWJD bracelet.
Back in July, after the convention, Jennifer Rubin (wish there were more conservatives like her) wrote in the Washington Post:
This past week many Republicans were suffering from convention envy. Their own convention was angry, pessimistic and lacking in joy. Democrats were having fun, taking the mantle of the party of patriotism, inclusion and optimism. The GOP had a parade of victims blaming illegal immigrants; the Democrats had a parade of survivors (a disabled woman who overcame challenges, mothers of killed African American sons, Mr. and Mrs. Khan) who extolled America and are showing their grit and determination. The Democrats had first-tier entertainers; the Republicans had the dregs. Bill Clinton gave a fact-filled speech highlighting his wife’s accomplishments; Melania Trump read a plagiarized script. Democrats had oodles of Hillary friends, people she’s helped, and fellow Democrats; Trump had blood relatives and paid staff. The top-tier Republicans generally stayed away from Cleveland.
The contrast between the two was, indeed, something to behold!
In Politico, also in July after the conventions, Michael Grunwald wrote:
The 2016 conventions featured a plagiarism scandal and a Wikileaks scandal, a snub by Ted Cruz and a non-snub by Bernie Sanders, Republicans chanting “Lock Her Up!” and Democrats chanting “Not a Clue!” Republicans heard from the National Rifle Association, a Benghazi mom, and Scott Baio; Democrats heard from Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter moms, and Meryl Streep. The parties nominated two well-known but not well-liked candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as well as their less controversial two-syllable sidekicks, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine. There were high-profile speeches by six Trumps, three Clintons and two Obamas.
It ought to be beyond belief that the GOP can even continue this charade, but the polls show many genuinely support Trump (along with whores like Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, and others who have hitched their wagons to what surely will be a falling star… unless the world truly has gone mad).
As an aside, I gotta record: I never liked Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
When she first appeared on the scene, she seemed okay, but as her star rose she got more and more political (by which I mean: an obvious liar spouting party rhetoric). She has all Hillary Clinton’s personality negatives without any of the upside or grace that Clinton has.
What happened didn’t surprise me in the least.
Speaking of Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Rubin (WaPo, July) points out that:
In a general election, we could find ourselves with a choice between one candidate who repeatedly tells us untrue things about her own conduct and another who tells us untrue things about the world. You would think that in a country of this size we could find someone who inhabits reality and stays within spitting distance of the truth.
Maybe you can see why I like reading her so much. Exactly so! What has happened to us that we’re in this strange pickle?
Also for the record, Rosalie Chan, Time, Aug 4, writes:
[Khizr] Khan [66, along with his wife Ghazala, came to USA in 1980, Master in Law at Harvard, 1986,] spoke at the Democratic National Convention about his son Humayun Khan, a Muslim American army captain who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004, and attacked Republican Donald Trump. Trump later responded by saying he, too, had made sacrifices, which sparked criticism from many, including families of fallen soldiers.
[Added bits mine to include some biographical data.] This is the man and wife who showed Trump for the monster he really is. You need no further demonstration than this that he is unfit to sit in Lincoln’s chair.
And, as I said before, if this turned out to be the turning point (as it seems to be per the graph at the top of this post), what perfect justice and balance is there in a Constitution-loving Muslim-American immigrant being the one to finally slay the monster?
In New Republic, Aug 23, Ani Kokobobo writes:
As a professor of Russian literature, I’ve come to realize that it’s never a good sign when real life resembles a Fyodor Dostoevsky novel.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, with its riotous rhetoric and steady stream of scandals, calls to mind Dostoevsky’s most political novel, “Demons,” written in 1872. In it, the writer wanted to warn readers about the destructive force of demagoguery and unchecked rhetoric, and his cautionary messages – largely influenced by 19th-century Russian political chaos – resonate in our present political climate.
As I said above: signs and portents. We’ve seen this movie.
I’ll leave you with a little tragic-comic relief: