Monday, May 9, 2016

How are we going to make it through six months of this?



     Trump v. Hillary.
     Coming soon to a theater near you.
     Well, not really coming to a theater.
     That might be the one place it's not coming.
     And certainly not coming soon.

     A full six months.
     Quite a lot, really.
     So tell me. How much would you pay to cut to the chase? To have the election over, the results known?
     A dollar? A hundred dollars? A thousand? I suppose it depends on the state of your pocketbook.

     I would pay a lot. Because the next six months will be what the New York Times described Saturday as "the ugliest, most cringeworthy presidential contest of the modern era ... a half-year slog through the marital troubles, personal peccadilloes, financial ambitions, social-media habits and physical appearances of 'Dangerous Donald' and 'Crooked Hillary.'"
     A grim prospect. And pointless too. What can we possibly learn about either that we don't already know?
     I keep flashing on the O.J. Simpson trial. Day after day of Johnnie Cochran and Marcia Clark, the lost eyeglasses, the glove. I wanted to clamp my hands over my ears, squeeze my eyes closed and scream, "Make it stop!"
     Not the most laudable sentiment for a newsman, I know. But sincere nevertheless.
     The cold truth is, life must be lived, one day at a time. And we must get ourselves to Nov. 8.
     "To bear," as the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell writes, "is to conquer our fate."
     So how do we bear this? How to endure a campaign guaranteed to be agony, at least for those of us who aren't whooping for Trump? His supporters are having fun, energized, like kids excited to be allowed to stay up late, thrilled to find they suddenly have permission to let their fears and bigotries strut about unashamed at mid-day, the bedrock of the Trump appeal. To be honest, I don't really blame Trump. People were already like this: he's just the mirror, the blowhard wind stoking their flames.
     What about the rest of us? Those for whom Hillary is like the firefighter who bursts through the door of our burning house—not necessarily the best person in the department, but who cares? She's the one we're counting on to escort us down the ladder to safety.
     We could try to view it through the long lens of history. A thrilling, knock-down, drag-out fight harkening back to the bare knuckled era of the early Republic. When Ted Cruz, already a fading memory, just one week ago accused Trump of being a serial philanderer struggling with venereal disease, the historian in me wanted to dig up when charges like that were being flung around in a presidential election. My guess: Jefferson v. Adams in 1800 (Bingo. Jefferson's followers even presaged our current bathroom fixation, detecting in Adams a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman" while Adams' camp referred to Jefferson as "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.")
     So this is history. Or will be, when we get through it.
     Something to look forward to.
     Plus, Clinton's going to win, right? I mean, between Trump proposing catastrophic schemes, and his offending Hispanics, women and Muslims, then continually re-offending them over the next six months with his leering, ham-handed, Taco Bowl attempts to regain their good favor, she has to win.
     Though if Trump is evidence of anything, it is that certainty has left the building.
     I have a quote I've been repeating—I'm not sure why it helps, but it does.
     "Why, this is hell," Christopher Marlowe writes, "nor am I out of it."
     I guess it helps because it implies that one day, eventually, we will be out of it.
     And we will. On Nov. 9.
     Although, whether that marks the end of one hell or the beginning of another, worse one, well, we'll find out.



20 comments:

  1. There's another apt quote I thought of that might be of some comfort: "Hell is other people". By Sartre, I believe. (The "other people" in this case being Trump and all his zealots.) Sure wish we could push the clock forward...

    SandyK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A good one. From his play, "No Exit."

      Delete
    2. "Other people" might include our Hillary as well. After being subjected to 20 some years of incessant right wing mudslinging, even Mother Teresa would be damaged goods. There's no doubt a lot of that mud has stuck to Hillary and of course she's not Mother Teresa either, but Eva Peron would be better than Donald Trump.

      john

      Delete
    3. It's a very apt quote because, if memory serves, "No Exit" portrays three people, a lesbian, a nymphonaiac and an impotent man, doomed to spend eternity together, the point being not only that Hell is other people, but other people who are, by their nature, unable to meet -- or even comprehend -- the others' needs. That seems a good desctiption of the dichotomy between Trump followers and most readers of EGDD.

      Tom Evans

      Delete
    4. We're also stuck with the hordes of would-be voters who, hating Hillary and abhorring Trump, will stay at home or vote for Donald Duck instead, not incomprehensible perhaps, but oh so frustrating.

      john

      john

      Delete
    5. @tate 8:38AM -- Yes, but don't forget, there are nine circles of Hell. Trump is entitled to a much lower circle than our Hillary :)

      SandyK

      Delete
    6. Christopher Hitchens said it best about Mother Teresa. She was "a vile Albanian dwarf!"
      She consorted with thieves & dictators & didn't give a damn about the patients in her filthy & overcrowded "hospitals". According to her, the poor were meant to suffer!
      She only cared about her image.

      Delete
    7. Well, like any top-flight CEO, she left the company before it crashed.

      Whom would you suggest for a paragon of virtue, now the "dwarf" no longer qualifies?

      john

      Delete
  2. Asked about this, my attorney has advised me to take a hit off the little brown bottle in his shaving kit.

    This feels like bad advice, but the alternative feels much worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's probably a bad sign that I know exactly where this is from.

      Delete
  3. As usual Neil is right. Those old timey campaigns, make more recent political battles pale in comparison, but records are meant to be broken.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hillary's email situation may still derail her before the general election. Would that result in Trump vs Bernie? What a mess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doubtful. It's like Whitewater, a non-issue puffed up by those who hate her anyway.

      Delete
  5. Personally I don't mind the intensity of the campaign as much as I do the inevitable efforts to tamp it down through false equivalence. Too many journalists treat Trump's ignorance as equal to Clinton's knowledge.

    Bitter Scribe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You beat me to it. I am also worried about the false equivalencies that will make Clinton's sins seem comparable to Trumps. It is the game plan of modern conservatism. "Yes I know my guy is guilty of murder, but your guy jaywalked so we're even"

      Delete
  6. It will be interesting to see how the sex thing plays out. Evangelicals are already concerned about him boasting about the size of his penis and the many women he's screwed. And devout catholics can't be happy about his three marraiges. Hillary has been attacked by feminists for not devorcing Bill, but for most of them that will end up being seen as a forgivable sin. And for the "family values" crowd a virtue. And she can play the grandmother card.

    Tom Evans

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wonder if Trump believes his ex-wives enabled his adulterous behavior? Were they "nasty and mean'?

    Attacking Hillary with her husband's infidelities and accusing her of using the woman's card helps her, not him.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm starting to ignore it all. It is like a festering boil that will pop in November.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yeah! Bernie won in WVa-it's not over yet.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment, which will be published at the discretion of the proprietor.