Sunday, May 22, 2016
Republican Fear Junkies
Honestly? I'm not afraid of Donald Trump becoming president.
First, because I do believe Hillary Clinton will win.
Yes, that might be the dark star of hope, its unseen gravity distorting my judgment and pulling me toward an optimistic conclusion. But so far, as much as the electorate disdains Hillary, they hate Trump more, and with good reason.
And second, should the United States suffer the ultimate infamy of Donald Trump being elected president, we'll survive it. We survived eight year of George W. Bush, we'd survive Trump too, for a number of reasons.
A), He's erratic. The Republicans are embracing what he says, now, gingerly, the way you'd hug someone with dirty clothes. By an act of intellectual gymnastics they forget his saying the opposite, whether years ago or yesterday, and ignore the inescapable reality that Trump could change again and will, as circumstances dictate. So no Wall, no barring Muslims, none of the truly crazy stuff, or not much of it.
Though that could, again, be hope talking.
B), what I've dubbed The Curse of the Outsider (op cit, Jane Byrne, Jimmy Carter). You sweep in from nowhere, knowing nothing—and knowing nothing is Trump's modus operandi—and you can't get anything done. Yes, the GOP hierarchy are lining up behind Trump, to their eternal shame.
John McCain! I still can't get my head around that. McCain endorsed Trump. After Trump insulted him personally, and sneered at all American POWs. I never would have imaged it possible. McCain, and his quisling cast of defeated cowards amble, cringing, onto the Trump stage to join Chris Christie, in his dunce cap and chains.
But will they really work hard for his vague platform of ad hoc idiocy?
And the Democrats, freed of any lingering requirements of concern for governance by eight years of bitter Republican obscurantism, plus the genuinely vile and impossible programs Trump advocates, not to mention his bullying, my-way-or-the-highway demeanor, and they can sit on their hands and watch, grinning, as Trump tries to enforce his folly.
C). Have you looked at his face? The strain. The white circles around the eyes. He just doesn't look like a well man. Yes, his keeling over dead sometime in the next six months would be a deus ex machina solution. But God looks kindly upon America. Or did.
Not to get overly personal and mean, which smacks of Trumpism. I don't wish the man dead, just not living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The toughest challenge, facing him, is not to become like him. Because we lose that game, since he's better at being him than we are.
"When fighting monsters," as my favorite Nietszche quote goes, "take care not to become a monster."
The whole thing does make me very sad, and not just for the Republicans. You have the Bernie Sanders crowd, buying lies as outrageous as Trump's, mirror image promises. Like two halves of a coin, like Raskalnikov and Razumikhin in Crime and Punishment. Sanders and Trump would look trite in fiction (not that Crime and Punishment is trite, but the symbolism would wilt in lesser hands, and whoever is authoring our current farce, it ain't Dostoevsky. Bulgakov maybe.)
The Sanders supporters are already going all Ralph Nader on us, and daring suggest there is no different between Trump and Clinton.
They must not have been listening Friday, when Trump said he would end no-gun zones (while standing at the NRA convention, a no-gun zone, which would be staggering hypocrisy if he, you know, cared).
Clinton, Trump said, slipping into pure hallucination, is hot "to release the violent criminals from jail" while snatching away the guns of law abiding citizens, particularly our blushing, vulnerable daughters and mothers.
"In trying to overturn the Second Amendment, Hillary Clinton is telling everyone— and every woman living in a dangerous community — that she doesn't have the right to defend herself."
His appeal to female voters, I guess.
Meanwhile Clinton sticking to her guns, so to speak, called for the sensible gun safety measures that 92 percent of the country endorse.
Seems like a difference to me.
And it's so astounding -- I'm not scared, I'm amazed -- that even the most rabid gun fan could slurp that up, this wild, obvious pandering. But they do. They're fear junkies. Terror makes their hearts pump, makes them feel alive. They gotta have it to get through their days. It's like they're living in a horror film. They need to rationalize building an armory in their basement, stockpiling food. And with America safe and secure, the economy humming along, well, that's not in the script. So they manufacture this bogeyman. For seven years the quiet, reflective, almost timid Barack Obama, who did utterly nothing regarding guns, was the guy who woke them up at night in a cold sweat. His election and re-election caused a surge in gun sales. And now Hillary Clinton is forced onto that procrustean bed.
On Saturday, I created the first hashtag I ever made on Twitter—hashtags are ways to organize tweets. It's #GOPFearAddicts. Please feel free, when you find examples of the Republican Party waving lies to terrorize their flock of bleating cowards, to contribute your own. Then I squinted at it, and made it #RepublicanFearJunkies, which is longer, but sounds better. We'll use them both and see which proves more popular. I imagine we'll have quite a collection by November, when Hillary wins. But not without every sane, patriotic American lashing himself or herself to the wheel and fighting to save our country from, if not ruin, then humiliation and insanity.