I did watch and/or listen to (was out driving, so part of it was on radio) a good portion of the debate last night. I admit that some of the things Trump said made me cringe – but as I thought it over, I realized that it wasn’t Trump’s rudeness which made me cringe but the mere fact that he was being rude to Democrats which made me cringe. I realized in an instant that I had been carefully conditioned over many decades to never really hit home against Democrats.
Think about it – we’ve all been conditioned. Ted Kennedy, in a drunken-drive, managed to get a woman (not his wife) killed. While that event pretty much ensured that Ted would never be President, it didn’t stop him from serving in the United States Senate for forty years after he got the woman killed. Forty years! Half a life time. And during that 40 years no one really called him on it. Oh, to be sure, some vulgar red-necks out there in fly-over country might go on about it from time to time, but not the general run of the GOP. Seven times after that incident Ted Kennedy went before the voters of Massachusetts seeking re-election to the Senate and if there ever was a GOPer who ran an ad, or even put out a flier, bringing up Chappaquiddick then I am unaware of it. And, meanwhile, Ted was just one of the boys – GOPers were proud to call him a friend; hang out with him; co-sponsor legislation with him; call him “esteemed colleague”. And then we gave the guy a State funeral when he died.
For goodness sake HE GOT A WOMAN KILLED. Shouldn’t that be a career-ending event?
Not for Democrats – and only because we’re not allowed to bring up just what it is they do. Not in any meaningful sense – and certainly not when they are in front of a national audience. That just wouldn’t do. It would be rude. Mean-spirited. A bit of the politics of personal destruction. Unworthy of anyone…who isn’t a Democrat, that is. Democrats are allowed to bring up whatever they want, no matter what the venue. And if there isn’t any real dirt on a Republican, Democrats are just allowed to make things up and never get called liars when they do…you know, like when Senator Harry Reid lied about Romney’s taxes. For decades it has gone on like this – Democrats can do really terrible things and we can’t use it against them while Democrats are free to bring against us anything they want. We’ve been like whipped dogs; quietly playing our part as honorable men and women who want what is best…but always working out to getting Democrats in power and Progressive policies getting enacted.
And then came Trump.
My goodness, what a crass, rude, vulgar man! I’m serious about that – a bull in a china shop is more elegant by comparison. Hang on him that famous sign which used to be present on animal cages in the Paris zoo: “Caution! This animal is vicious; when attacked, it defends itself”. For 90 minutes on Sunday night Hillary Clinton (and Bill), had to essentially just sit there and take it – someone talking openly (and rudely) about what they had done. Holding nothing back – just letting them have it (and it must have been even more excruciating for Bill as he’s just as much an alpha-male as Trump…just more charming; and he couldn’t hit back!). When it was done, it was clear that no matter what the election results will be, Hillary has been exposed before a national audience as someone who is unfit to be President of the United States. And saying Trump is unfit, as well, makes no matter – Hillary is damaged goods. Only a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat will ever think of her as other than a corrupt hack.
And…it was refreshing. A breath of clean, bracing air – a clearing away of cobwebs. It was invigorating. You know, like democratic politics are supposed to be…conventions are for aristocracies…democracies are rude, vulgar and crass and don’t give a darn about your rules of behavior. And from now on, we’re free to say what is on our mind about Democrats. I don’t expect most GOPers in current leadership will grasp this – certainly not all at once – but they’ve been given permission to just go at them with gusto…no matter how they do it, they won’t be able to out-vulgar Trump.
American politics are changing. The quiet dogmas of the past are fading away before our very eyes. There is no national consensus on what it means to be American, or what America should stand for. We’re working it out – and it is the nature of these things that there will be a period – perhaps quite prolonged – where things get quite hot. By every traditional measure of American politics, Hillary is the next President and that is probably what the result will be. Of course, it hasn’t exactly been a traditional year and so, hold on to your hats. But even if she gets in, all she represent is the corrupt, grasping, dying political order. In decades of public life she’s never accomplished anything other than to garner power and wealth, and that is all she’ll do as President…and, meanwhile, the American political scene will continue to seethe and boil…with people both of the left and the right furious with the status quo and looking for an answer. As Trump has very accurately said, a vote for her is a vote to keep things exactly as they are…but things as they are won’t work. Except for the rent-seekers already at the trough, everyone is getting the short end of the stick. Read a bit ago that Chicago is issuing short-term bonds…not in order to build infrastructure, but merely to keep up bloated pension payments for retired government employees. In other words, the money a Chicago taxpayer wants to go for his local school is being used to send a check to a guy who may be retired to Arizona…Chicago is essentially taking out payday loans to keep up the bribes the Ruling Class has paid to itself. This is not a system which is healthy or has any chance of surviving long term.
I don’t know how it will all work out – I freely admit that I know nothing, because what I know was learned up until now, and it is all based upon knowledge drawn upon the political settlement created between 1933 and 1964. All that is out the window, now. We’ll just have to see how it comes out – but at least we no longer have to be polite to political grifters while we work it out.