ALAS, SHRUGGED

Political elections are a good deal like marriages–there’s no accounting for anyone’s taste. –Will Rogers

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In a March 2 Cincinnati newspaper article (titled ROAD TRIPPIN’ TO COLUMBUS FOR TRUMP), a reporter writes of accompanying four Trump backers on a drive to Columbus (Ohio) for a DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT rally: “They’re serious about their support for Trump. They shrug off his bombastic speech.”

Alas, what they also “shrug off” is any suggestion that Trump is a big-talking combination of P.T. Barnum, bully, and simplistic-solutions artist who can order away the causes of Americans’ discontent as easily as he fires ‘losers’. Shrug–the perfect word to describe the casualness with which Trump supporters dismiss his “bombastic speech.” Bombastic? More like conveniently ignorant (Trump: “I don’t know anything about [white supremacist] David Duke”), or demeaning (“Would anyone vote for that [Carly Fiorina’s] face?”), or pathetic (“He [John McCain] is not a war hero”), or despicable (mocking a reporter, named Serge Kovaleski, who has a disability). Etc. Etc. Etc. But what do his followers care, because they think he “tells it like it is.”

Here’s how columnist Kathleen Parker saw it in a recent piece titled “The GOP may get what it deserves”: “The challenge for those of us in the observation business [lest you forget, this blog is called THE OBSERVATION POST] is to illuminate what’s plainly obvious without offending those who prefer not to see. But there’s no winning once passions are engaged, and hating the messenger [aka blaming the media] is a time-honored tradition.” Such a business.

One would expect sensible people to realize that Trump is no cure for the uncompromising dogmatism that plagues our politics. So, how to account for the gullibility (or “taste,” as Will Rogers put it) of those who’ve been seduced by their beloved’s dubious charms. Perhaps some see that rivals like Ted Cruz would only deepen the dogmatic ditch that divides us. But that gives them credit for more sophistication than is their due, in my estimation. Most of them simply don’t see Trump for the humbug he is, and dogmatism is a fancy word that doesn’t pay their bills or kick butt.

But Mitt Romney knows better:

Just between us, I find myself hoping that Trump wins the GOP nomination, in the belief (promulgated by Romney and other Republican leaders) that he would lose big to Hillary….and take down with him enough right wing candidates to lose control of the Senate (and hopefully loosen political and tribalistic gridlock in the process). Not that I’m a huge fan of Hillary, but at worst, she is the lesser of two evils, and in any case, more mature, warts and all. Or I may vote for Rabbit Hash Mayor/Presidential candidate Lucy Lou, who may be a dog, but not a dog who tears people apart. Nor, oddly enough, is she the least bit(e) dogmatic.

What is so hard about understanding that working together is the most reasonable and timely way to get things done in a democracy? Hillary’s jingoistic rejoinder to Trump’s jingoistic ‘Make America great again’ campaign slogan is, at least, a starting point: “America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole.” Or at least as whole as is relatively possible in a country divided against itself.

 

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