My latest newspaper column:
“I’m for Donald Trump because he says what’s on his mind,” they say. “He didn’t mean that,” they say. When he suggested murder.
Watch him, how he tossed it off, the body language, and tell yourself he intended something else about how “Second Amendment people” might deal with a Clinton victory. Listen to the former Rudy Giuliani scream his excuses. Convince yourself Trump meant working together to prevent a win. The context, plain as his business scams, is AFTER a Clinton win. His justifiers have given up making sense. By now, they’ve run out of it.
So where’s the endpoint for enablers? A “joke” about killing Hillary Clinton or judges she’d appoint isn’t it? People from the stage at his convention, calling for shooting or hanging her? He’s the best standard-bearer for your frustrations? Oh, but there’s much worse: seeking to pre-delegitimize a Clinton win. Undermining the very thing that makes democratic societies whole: accepting election results. This is profoundly un-American, deeply damaging cynicism at its very worst, going well beyond the past eight years of Republican obstruction of the president at every turn, even when, in their own words, his proposals would be good for the country.
Donald Trump is way past that. He’d do his damage not for political gain, which is bad enough: he’d do it because inside his never-matured brain there’s no way people could reject his perfection except by cheating. Only a “rigged” election could yank him out of the limelight. In at least one state, over forty-percent of his followers already express certainty that a loss for Trump would have been rigged. This is the shame of Trump, and of the deliberate efforts of right wing media, at the behest of such people as Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove for decades: creating an endless supply of infinitely gullible voters. To ignore Trump’s destructive implications for a functioning democracy is no longer excusable. It’s to disregard what our country has always, until recently, been about. Adding injury to insult, he’s all but encouraged violent uprising if he loses.
Contrast with Al Gore, in the twilight of our two-party system, after the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented intervention in a state’s election results, arguably handed the presidency to his opponent. Urged to protest, to bring further court challenges to the process, he refused, citing the good of the country, the need for healing. He placed his country above himself. Donald Trump? Does one need even to ask?
Whether Trump actually believes a loss would indicate “rigging,” much less has an idea of how it’d be accomplished across fifty states, is immaterial: it’s clear he draws no line between reality and making stuff up; has no recognition of, concern for, or connection with facts. His are worse than lies, as others have said. Liars know the truth, choosing to ignore or mischaracterize it. To deceivers like Trump, truth is immaterial. He says whatever he considers in his interest at any given moment, later denying it, changing it, or doubling it down. Makes no difference to him, because it’s only about him. This defines a pathological liar. To call him a narcissist, while true, is too kind, implying something mildly amusing. There’s nothing remotely funny any more. The last politician to call for “Second Amendment remedies” lost her election. It’s time for Trump supporters to wake up, admit their error, and make sure he does the same. They’ve chosen the worst possible avatar for their concerns.
I share their political frustrations, if for different reasons. I want the lowest possible taxes, the smallest possible government, and an effective military. But no sentient American who believes in democracy should countenance the continual attack, overt or hidden in pretense, on what our Constitution means and what citizenship requires, by a damaged egoist so clearly in it only for himself. Even as many horrified conservatives are announcing support for Hillary, I understand why others can’t. So vote for Gary Johnson. Be honorable. The only consistent thing about Donald Trump is his rudderless mendacity.
For all patriotic Americans, this latest atrocity, despite the desperate spin by worried acolytes, should raze the wall.[Image source]