Here’s a thing I wrote for Facebook, and forgot to post, because that’s exactly the sort of diligent political commentator that I am. Once I’d finished it, it seemed a bit too meaty for FB so I decided to make it a rare non-writing related post right here …. it’s about Donald Trump, and a what an enormous fustercluck this whole business is …
You see people saying things that start with the words ‘at least Trump has …’ as if there’s a benefit to his current dominance of US politics. There’s not. You need to scrabble around through decades’ worth of filth and detritus before you can find anything that could be given a platinum-coated spin and then maybe … maybe … considered good. Even then, whatever you find is vastly diminished by the precedent that’s being set here.
The US (which was, admittedly, pretty screwed up to begin with) is undoubtedly a worse place because of Trump’s campaign. He has demonstrated that you can be hateful and ignorant, that you can be a terrible businessman, that you can at once be vain and yet also have truly awful hair, that you can be a complete mockery of a human being, that you can be all of these things but you can still have a shot at becoming the most powerful person on the planet. He has not only made these qualities acceptable, he has made them desirable.
You could argue that he’s exposed US politics for the sham it is, but those of us who are paying attention already realised that years ago; everyone else is either planning to vote for him, or busy arguing about whether it’s Sanders or Clinton who is the true destroyer of the US of A. You could argue that he’s revitalised politics, shaken things up, but all he’s really done is to lie his way through his campaign and prove that you can get away with it. That’s not the sort of ‘revitalisation’ that anyone needs. You could say that he’s re-energised voters, but what he’s actually done is to awaken the sleeping bigots and let them know that it’s ok to not condemn the KKK. Now we have a whole generation of proto-radicals who might have had the opportunity to reconsider their ways, but instead feel they are now entitled to a voice, that their dangerous opinions have a valid place in society and that they should be neither questioned nor criticised. (To be fair that last bit has been going on for quite a while, but Trump has further helped to legitimise that mindset).
Maybe you’ll say that this is democracy, and that democracy is the greater good no matter what it produces. But if democracy is what enables someone like Trump to succeed then we have no choice but to question whether it is truly working, and whether it remains a valid tool for society. And it is questions like this, that other people are all too ready to answer for us, that lead us down even more dangerous paths.
I can only pick two remote positives out of this mess. On a purely selfish note, it’s been an absolute delight to see the GOP flapping their hands in fear at the prospect of running with Trump. It’s one of the most vicious cases of having laid your bed and being forced to lie in it that I’ve ever seen. In fact, it would be funny if it wasn’t real.
The second positive is that this may just lead to the GOP finally realising that a Trump nomination is the logical extent of the Tea Party radicalism they’ve been fostering for the past decade. Maybe it’ll prompt the party to reform and to start thinking about the interests of the people they’re supposed to serve instead of their own internal agenda. Maybe, but probably not. Especially when they currently seem to be trying to blame Obama for Trump.
If you think of any more positives please attach them to a carrier pigeon and send it over to my nuclear bunker…