It's been impossible for me to write in the past month. Between getting sick, traveling on a sacred pilgrimage back to the wonderful land of Japan and then returning to even more work-something had to give.
Plus, watching the never ending shit-show that is the US Election has not left me of a mind to do so. The whole thing is too depressing. Last night's debate showed as nothing else has, how utterly dangerous Donald Trump is, and what a threat he poses to American democracy.
At Sunday’s debate, Donald Trump revealed that he is not running to be America’s president so much as its dictator.
The debate’s most unnerving moment came early. “If I win, I'm going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there's never been so many lies, so much deception,” Trump told Hillary Clinton.
“It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country,” Clinton shot back.
Trump, determined as always to make subtext into text, left no room for confusion. “Because you’d be in jail,” he said.
So there it was. The Republican nominee for president of the United States has promised to imprison his opponent if he wins the election. “This is what happens in dictatorships,” wrote the New York Times’ Max Fisher. “Not democracies.”
Tonight was the night when our worst fears about Donald Trump’s autocratic impulses were confirmed. Trump is, by his own account, vengeful. “When someone intentionally harms you or your reputation, how do you react?” he wrote in 2007. “I strike back, doing the same thing to them only ten times worse." And so it’s long been obvious that Trump might be vengeful as president — a possibility Vox’s Dara Lind explored brilliantly in this feature.
If you don't think he is serious, you are insane. If you are cheering this type of behavior on while you Tweet with your "Deplorables" Pepe image, then you too are a fool who is to be pitied.
And lets get this out of the way right now. If you are a Trump supporter, you are a deplorable person and may God have mercy on your soul. For here on earth, I have absolutely no use for you.
The day after the debate, this appeared on the Breitbart web site:
The worst part of course is that the sick and deranged 37-42% of the US voters who support this evil man actually believe that they are somehow "victims" and need to stand together against the rest of us who actually can think.
Many of Trump’s supporters hope that he’ll be guided and constrained by more seasoned, temperate advisers while in office. Tonight he proved that hope absurd. He began the evening by inviting three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to a press conference — an insane strategy that virtually everyone in the Republican Party has been begging Trump to abandon.
Later in the night, Trump was asked about his running mate’s statements on Russia, and he made clear how little influence Pence has over his campaign, and how little interest Trump has in his counsel. "He and I haven't spoken, and I disagree," Trump brutally replied.
The message: Trump listens to no one, and is held back by no one. A Trump presidency won’t secretly be a Mike Pence presidency, or a Paul Ryan presidency, with Trump occupying a more ceremonial role. It will be him, and he will be doing whatever he damn well pleases.
The comments on Twitter from those who proudly embrace the word "deplorable", make one weep for humanity and also make me fear for my own personal safety. Because don't kid yourself, these people are only committed to one thing. They want vengeance on the rest of us for not voting to endorse a one party theocracy in , committed to war without end, in 2008. In Trump they see their knight in shining armor who will give them that vengeance. If Trump wins, you should have no doubt, he will do his best to give them what they want. Those of us who protested loudest will either have to find a new Zion, as those Israeli pioneers did in Palestine in the 1930's, or find a place to hide out and lay low till the fire consumes both the leader himself and the followers who egged him on. It's not going to be pleasant.
Again, let's be clear, this is not how it is done-and I will go toe to toe with you quoting passages from the Federalist Papers if you don't believe me. ( I have always found it odd that Trump supporters fetishize those documents when they clearly have not read them). And here is where I will invoke Godwin's Law by reminding you that the mistake most people made in the 1930's was that they did not believe that the Nazi's meant exactly what they said.
The United States has 29 days to save its democracy. I am worried that the sane half of the US population may not be able to stem the Draconian tide sweeping our way. If the worst happens, remember, you were warned.
Do I mock? Of course, I do. The Republican Party has been edging toward this catastrophe for 40 years, ever since it let goons like the late Terry Dolan help run its senatorial campaigns in the late 1970s. Dolan led to Lee Atwater, who led to Karl Rove and, altogether, they made Donald Trump not an aberration, but a culmination. It took into itself the debris of American apartheid. It allied itself with radicalized American Protestantism. It adopted a basic political philosophy of vandalism and nihilism. When confronted with an opportunity for human decency, such as in the case of Terri Schiavo, the party opted for cruelty. When presented an opportunity for political unity, such as in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, the party opted for the despicable in domestic politics and for the barbaric overseas. When handed an opportunity to change course, such as when the deregulated casino economy nearly destroyed the world in 2008, it doubled down on the basic economic philosophy that caused the wreckage in the first place. And when it became plain that the party was on the wrong side of history, such as the movement for marriage equality, it chose to work in the states through pestiferous god-botherers like Mike Pence, whose name Kelly Ayotte will write in for president.
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS BEEN EDGING TOWARD THIS CATASTROPHE FOR 40 YEARS.
When it won, the party opted for triumphalism. When it lost, it opted for obstruction. It has blown through democratic norms in every branch of the government. In the executive, it lied and tortured and worked almost exclusively to shove as much of the country's wealth upwards. As a legislative majority, it has consistently refused to do even the most fundamental tasks of governing the country. In the judiciary, the judges so carefully nurtured in the think-tank terrariums of the organized Right have let loose a flood of money into our politics and have worked assiduously to carve away the franchise from the people who might most inconvenience the party on Election Day. They have come dangerously close to completing the project of creating a new Jim Crow to ensure a new Gilded Age. And now, there are not sufficient roosts for all the chickens. If you have a party dedicated to vandalism and nihilism, how can you possibly be surprised when your presidential nomination is spirited away by a career vandal and a superior nihilist?
It doesn't matter now if he drops out or not. He has shown the world what the black heart of modern Republicanism—and of the modern form of conservatism that drives it—really looks like. He has become its beau ideal. He will stand for it until the party commits itself to real change and genuine outreach to those people it now only employs as targets for its timorous angry base to aim at. Whether he stays or whether he goes—and, god, I hope he stays—Donald Trump has burned down all the camouflage. He is what they are.
DONALD TRUMP HAS BURNED DOWN ALL THE CAMOUFLAGE. HE IS WHAT THEY ARE.