I do not generally write about politics. It’s such an absurdly complex subject, I leave it to the educated scholars, dedicated screamers and the professional comedians. I am so troubled, however, by the tenor of our entire society, being played out during the current presidential race. The tone of hatred, fear, anger and blame terrify me to my core. In recent years, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my father’s experience as an Army Infantryman during World War II, and many of the life lessons he passed on to me. I remember one night when I was in the seventh or eighth grade, sitting down to do my homework. I was having some trouble with history, specifically 1930’s and 40’s world history, more specifically Mussolini. I took my troubles to my Dad, and I said — “I can’t understand how anyone, let alone an entire country, could get behind this maniac. He preached nothing but hatred and anger, and he was so obviously completely hell-bent on serving only himself. No one would have supported him.” My dad hung his head, put his hands on his knees and took a deep breath. He looked up at me and said, “Peanut. You’d be shocked at how easy it is to unite people in hatred. It’s a hell of a lot harder to unite people in love.”
I watched snippets of the Republican convention, but, honestly, my soul couldn’t take much of it. I felt the darkness, the fervor and the intense anger coming right out of the television set. We are going to get what’s rightly ours, and we’re going to destroy the people who took it from us! That was the message. Who are they talking about? All of Wall Street? All Mexicans? All Muslims? All immigrants? All Americans who aren’t screaming angry? I have no clue. The global hatred and fear pervaded all boundaries. I’m not sure who the witch hunters are after, because it seems like they’re after an awful lot of people. Given the historical behavior of the angry mob-mentality, I fear anyone could be demonized at any moment and triumphantly burned at the stake.
Part of me blames our entertainment culture for what’s happening in our society. Lose 10 pounds in one week! Whiten your teeth in 15 minutes! Win a million dollars on a game show tonight! Become the next American Idol! No need to practice or work or persevere! Just win! Collect your money/fame/beauty/power! NOW!
Shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars ask viewers to call in or text their votes for the contestant they believe should win. They’re “voting,” get it? Americans are so used to casting “votes,” our entire political voting system has been diluted. Remember in middle school when some kid would run for office? They’d stand up at a podium or on a gym stage and tell the other kids they were gonna insist on chocolate milk at lunch or whatever pressing issue would make the assembly cheer. But, honestly, we all knew it was a popularity contest. If you lost, as I did, that meant you weren’t as popular as the other guy, no matter how vehement your campaign promises were for getting that weird rotten banana stench out of the lockers. You were, as Donald Trump is so fond of calling people, a loser.
Now, I watch my fellow Americans supporting a vile, hateful, truly horrible message from a narcissistic, grandiose, puffed up bully, and I can only ask myself — is this just because he’s reality-show famous? He’s entertaining? He’s the cartoon we are familiar with, so we vote for him? People are cheering and screaming “U S A!” as Donald Trump spews venom to the masses, as if this were the message our founding fathers were praying for in 2016. Are you kidding? Donald Trump is our next leader? To where? Where are we going that we’d choose a buffoon so inexperienced in politics, so wildly undiplomatic, misogynistic and just plain mean? Are we voting for a reality show contestant or for the highest office in our country?
I read about an interview Mark Singer did with Donald Trump shortly after his second divorce. There was one quote that didn’t make it into the article that absolutely blew my mind. I wanted to make t-shirts. I wanted to scream it from the mountain tops. But the truth is, it wouldn’t be news and no one would notice. I’m not the first person to find a shocking, horrific quote from Donald Trump. Hell, turn on your television. He’s probably making one right now.
Hitler united the German population in a quest for the Master Race. I have no clue what Trump is trying to unite people in, other than hatred and unrest. You wanna read the quote I was talking about? Here goes:
“Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands, and an infinite scorn in our hearts.”
Can you believe Donald Trump said that? You do? Yeah, I would too. That was actually a quote from the fine, benevolent leader Benito Mussolini. But it certainly reflects Trump’s worldview. No. The real quote from Donald Trump was this:
“You really want to know what I consider ideal company? A total piece of ass.”
***If you want to read the original New Yorker article, go here: