Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One Inch from Bottom

It took a supreme effort to not walk away from the debates last night. But I held steady and starting taking notes. There is so much to be depressed about that a man of Trump’s low moral character, lack of experience, psychopathic narcissistic personality, inflated ego and—shall I go on?—more, is running for the highest office in the land and indeed, in terms of power to affect others abroad, the world. Of course, the most depressing thing is that there are sizable portions of the American population that are making this possible. And the most maddening is this new level of bottom, where facts don’t matter, job qualification doesn’t matter, commitment to service doesn’t matter. All that seems to matter is that it makes for good TV and that people who feel unsatisfied with their lives can find others to blame and someone willing to publicly blame them.

But two good things happened. The first is that if people were paying attention, he couldn’t help but reveal exactly who he is. Yes, I understand it doesn’t matter to many, but for anyone who still cares enough about clear thinking and upholding the American democratic experiment, you’d have to be pretty dense not to notice the following:

1)             Clinton: He didn’t pay any of his Federal taxes.
Trump: That makes me smart.

2)             Clinton: He rooted for the collapse of the housing market.
Trump: That’s called business.

3)             Clinton: He is not an ethical businessman. The architect for his clubhouse was never paid his fee. 
           Trump: Maybe I didn’t pay him because I wasn’t satisfied with his work.

4)             Trump: Our country has been ripped off by every other country in the world.

5)             Trump: (speaking of his business)
My obligation is to do well for myself, my family, my employees, my company.

 So the logical conclusion is that:

1)             It’s okay to evade paying taxes that are the economic backbone of this nation.

2)             It’s okay to cheer when thousands (millions?) of Americans are kicked out of their homes because you can get some good deals.

3)             It’s okay to dishonor a business contract after the work has been done.

4)             It’s okay to alienate ourselves from every one of the 195 countries in the world and lie in the process. (Are Monaco, Fiji, Finland, Costa Rica, Laos and 190 other countries really stealing our money?)

5)             If government should be run like a business (his idea) and your business model is to do well first for yourself and then your family, are you qualified to actually serve the American people?

None of this is to mention all the questions he simply refused to answer by talking about something altogether different— his insistence that Obama was not a citizen years after the birth certificate had been shown, his refusal to make his taxes public, his slander of women in general and Hilary in particular (changing “looks” to “stamina”) and more.

So much more. His mentioning that Muslims were allowed in his Florida café without mentioning that he plans to deport all of them. His anger at business going offshore (I agree with that) and blaming Mexico and China even as his store in Trump Tower sells a vast array of imported Chinese goods. And on and on.

So again, one of the good things about the debate was that he was getting tangled in his own contradictions, lies, inability to take responsibility for anything he has said or done.

But the second good thing is that he was put on the defensive about it all. Some part of him realized that without his homies cheering him on, he couldn’t say out loud the same outrageous things he said in his campaign. Some part of him knew that the whole American public would not accept him saying blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic things and that he had to temper himself. In fact, near the end, he boasted about resisting saying something really nasty about Hilary, but you could tell it was a big effort. I hope he breaks down and starts spewing his venom in the next debate. Because in the end, as far as we’ve dropped to new bottoms that are intolerable for any person with a beating heart and a functioning brain, we’re still an inch above the bottom of the bottoms.

And that gives me a glimmer of hope.

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