As a Canadian I watch the American election from the sidelines, like a football fan, yelling at the screen over some monumentally stupid plays or extraordinary passes. A candidate getting in a great hit, or a candidate fumbling the ball are the plays in the sport I watch, but this Superbowl of politics is a travesty. There are no refs in Political football except the media. It’s their job to throw flags on the play and penalize the candidate, but in this game, one of the candidates is ignoring the refs and the other is getting called offside over and over for a play she committed in the first quarter.
Enough with the analogy, lets get down to facts.
Donald Trump has proven to be the most dangerous candidate for Presidential office in American history. Win or lose he has struck a near mortal blow to that nation with his reckless unethical campaigning. Time and again he has broken not only political standards, but also long standing rules of basic social interaction. He has mocked the disabled, he has demeaned women, he has vilified Mexicans, scapegoated Muslims and degraded African Americans. He has insulted the abilities, integrity and physical appearance of political figures, threatened individuals, made veiled innuendoes encouraging violence. He has accused both his opponents and his reluctant enablers of conspiring against him, and his fanatical followers drink it down like he is offering water to thirsty men in the desert.
Water in a desert.
The problem is that is exactly what he is doing and exactly why it is so dangerous. These people lived in a desert, a desert of the mind, where their racist, bigoted, misogynistic, paranoid delusions belonged. They were trapped in little pockets of individual hate knowing that their views were not only unpopular, but in many cases illegal. From time to time these deplorable humans would act out, but only in anonymity and usually under the cover of darkness, knowing full well that their neighbours would be shocked and disgusted by their actions.
But now Donald J Trump has offered them an oasis, he has justified their beliefs and reinforced their fears and in his campaigning he has traveled the country to provide them a forum to meet, not three or four racists in a basement, but thousands in a stadium at a time. A forum where thousands thrive in the feedback provided by their previously unknown brethren and where shouting out those once secret dark thoughts is not only accepted, but encouraged while the man on stage encourages them with a wink and a nod.
That once alone individual is now presented with thousands and in his euphoria, forgets the millions who would still be horrified by his desires. That one individual who was once afraid to act out is emboldened and what was once just a fantasy can now be the reality, and he feels justified in taking action against his perceived enemies. A Black church burned, a Mexican beaten to death, a Muslim family terrorized. Trump has justified his behavior and has provided the excuse in his speeches, It’s all a conspiracy to silence this man. The media and the Democrats and even the Republicans are trying to keep him down. To silence his righteous anger at minorities who steal his job and change his schools and challenge his god. He is a noble warrior fighting injustice now with his new found brethren of oppressed white men. Donald Trump will lead them out of the desert.
There are two major problems. One, he is wrong, he is one among thousands, apposed by millions. His dreams are still disgusting, his actions horrifying, and his thoughts vile. The rest of the nation will not find justification in his church burning, or his public racist outbursts. He will still be a threat to society. At least a barbarian inside the walls, at worst a fifth column conspirator infiltrating the society. Why? Because of the second more important fact.
Win or lose, Donald Trump has united these people and introduced them to each other in a way that even the internet couldn’t. While the internet is often a playground to exercise their fantasies, they remain fantasies in cyberspace. Yet Trump has pulled them away from the screen and placed them in physical proximity. He has brought a physicality to the emotion and has set the stage for the continued growth of his vile endorsement of striking back at minorities. If he wins, he has justified their beliefs, if he loses, then he is a martyr to their cause, brought down by a phantasmic conspiracy of the evil media and it’s enablers.
Long after Trump is gone and has returned to his golden tower, these groups will exist. They will continue their attempt to revert social norms to the days of Jim Crow and hammer at the foundation of a century of frailly constructed enlightenment. They will continue, to ‘Make America Great Again’
It doesn’t matter anymore if Trump wins or loses on November 8th. America has already lost.
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