Do you have any friends left? Mine aren’t talking.
We’ll that’s not true. Actually, they won’t shut up — about politics.
Perhaps you had some kind of a life during the past few years and were able to avoid the complete and unequivocal demonization of Barack Hussein Obama. In that case, it’s gotten way ugly out there.
Open up your Facebook account and you immediately can feel the scowl begin and the eyes narrow at the virtual river of posts asking whether you agree that Mexican immigrants should not be given free cell phones, Hondas and Macy’s gift cards at the border, where they pour through abandoned border gates on donkeys carrying backpack nukes and a map to your house.
“Tell That Muslim Fake President That America Wants Strong Borders and Whiter Presidents,” or something very close to that.
You know you scroll down to see your pals liking away, and dog-piling on.
And across town, across the street or just across the room, another pal posts an animated meme of three GOP leaders greedily banging baby seals on the head.
You know full well that your conservative friends, or what’s left of them, scroll down the list of “COEXIST” bumper thumpers looking at the names they know say things like, “Republicans ate my baby!” or “Click Here To See GOP Leaders Skin Texas Lesbian’s Cat Alive Because She Drives A Prius!”
And that was pretty much before the 2016 presidential election got serious.
Now I’ve got to say that I’m as guilty as the next slobbering liberal at smirking and snorting every time I see another post or tweet about Republicans sucking up millions of dollars in NRA cash. But the Donald Trump thing has put a whole new spin on politi-drama.
Whereas I scrolled past my friends sputtering over Bernie Sanders’ push for single-payer healthcare — as if we aren’t headed there faster than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can alienate everyone in the room — and I knew my friends scrolled past a blizzard of liberal posts pointing out that Sen. Marco Rubio’s plan for immigration involved something that sounded Democratic but was clearly an evil plot to hand Cuba over to Exxon.
Trump is different. Trump is either crazy as a outhouse rat or as dumb as a bucket of comb-over hair. OK, that’s not true. The problem with Trump is that he, and his rise in popularity, defy explanation.
I know what Trump is not. He’s not Hitler. Hitler was a dedicated, studious, paranoid, conniving, Machiavellian fascist who probably even surprised himself with how evil he became and how much he got away with. Trump, however, is that guy in high school. The guy who wasn’t all that good looking. He wasn’t all that smart. He wasn’t all that athletic. He didn’t have any kind of talent. He had a big mouth. And he had money — a lot of money. And he lived in a place in the world where people think highly of those with a lot of money. As if wealth were something that rubbed off. Or as if were a catchy tune or a beautiful color. So Trump has lived his entire life thinking that his wealth was just like Whitney Houston’s voice, Joe Namath’s arm or Stephen Hawking’s mind.
And, as fate would have it, he’s been able to surround himself by people who pretty much think the same thing. In the world of celebrity worship, all of this makes some kind of weird sense. But the lines separating American politics and entertainment no longer exist.
Watching Donald Trump is surreal, in that no reasonable person can tell whether he’s a politician or just another marginally entertaining reality show shlep. And a large number of very unreasonable people don’t care. It doesn’t matter whether Trump is a racist, he says and does horrifically racist things. And then he says if you don’t like it, you’re just a politically correct stooge.
This isn’t about a creepy-looking Sen. Ted Cruz saying our godless country will be made strong again by his praying for a true conservative on the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s not about Hillary Clinton pooh-poohing an SOS email strategy that would have wrecked her career if she’d tried the boneheaded idea if she were only a county clerk in Arkansas.
This is about a guy who will, and does, say anything, then say he’s kidding. Unless it gets him somewhere. Then he wasn’t kidding. This time. Maybe next time. And when you’re a rich dude pulling out the rug beneath contractors, unions, your employees, they just suck it up and pander to you, because they are those guys. And for those at the Washington Post, CNN or at rapidly growing list of media outlets that call out Trump for what he is, there’s the vicious attacks and sniffing dismissiveness.
He panders to the worst of America, and to the worst that even decent Americans can be. And I think you’re just as surprised as I am at how many people there are like that, and how many of them you actually know.
For me, it’s a relative few. I have lots of conservative friends, and they find Trump just as obscene as I do. So I roll over the posts about “Hillary Charged Millions for Speeches And Uses the Money to Train Iranians to Build Drones With Nukes.” And I look in horror as people I thought I knew pretty well actually agree that rounding up Muslims and deporting them is a good or even acceptable idea.
I’m OK with posts about sending Hillary to prison to scrub the feet of the millions of veterans she let suffer in a Benghazi laundromat, or how Republicans plan on turning global warming into a case for even more lax gun control laws. But I’m drawing a line in the sand and saying that if you honestly think that Trump, or someone like him, offers anything but bleak and horrific doom for America, we’re gonna have to part ways.
At least until the election is over and Hillary comes for all our guns and makes us clean the houses of Canadians to pay off the cost of buying billions of 24-karat-gold Muslim prayer rugs for immigrants.
And looking to see if any of my friends want to go in on cheap “new coastal Florida” land to capitalize on rising seas, I’m outta here.