A month or so ago, in this post, I said of the election campaign that I had begun to feel as if everyone else had gone to see a movie and I had decided to stay home. In the comments, Art Deco objected to the analogy, saying that unlike a movie the election will have serious consequences. Art was misconstruing me, but I'm not sure I really explained what I meant. What I meant was not that the election is just a form of entertainment, but that the campaign itself had become little more than a spectacle, having little to do with the very serious matter involved. Even the pretense of reasoned discussion and persuasion has been abandoned; it's all just furious slashing with dull blades.
That's even more true now. If the campaign was a movie before, it has now devolved into a demented circus of rage. Trump does not seem to be entirely sane, and I mean that quite literally, and is getting crazier as a Hillary win seems more likely. And the evidence of Hillary's dishonesty, and the corruption involved in the entire Democratic apparatus, continues to pile up, only to be ignored and dismissed by the news and opinion shapers outside the right. Jim Geraghty of National Review summed up the situation: "This year requires partisans to defend the indefensible, day after day." And they're working hard at it.
One of these people will be president next year, and will come into office bearing the bitter hatred of millions of opponents, as well as the desire of many of his or her supporters to suppress the losers. I can't imagine what that's going to be like.
I keep reminding myself that I'm naturally pessimistic and things may not be as bad as they seem, but it seems that the country just keeps getting crazier. I posted this on Facebook a week or so ago, right after the frenzy produced by Trump's remarks about groping women had erupted:
I regret to inform you that in the struggle between American political culture and sanity, the latter has clearly lost.
Many Democrats who circled the wagons around Bill Clinton, against whom there were multiple credible allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and possibly rape (not to mention obstruction of justice and perjury), and now want us to choose as president the wife who publicly lied for him and helped him intimidate the women involved, expect everyone to be deeply shocked by Trump's words.
Many Republicans who supported Trump in spite of being warned over and over again that he is exactly who he has always appeared to be, and would most likely not only lose the election but drag the whole party down with him, want to "distance themselves" now that they sense the ominous tug of the millstone to which they willing chained themselves and which is, as stones will do, sinking.
Many Christians who justifiably considered Clinton to be despicable shrug off Trump's loutishness and immorality, which has been perfectly obvious for years and was advertised by him long before this latest scoop, and desperately ignore his equally obvious lack of interest in the things they care about.
All this is taking place in a media and entertainment culture which has been praising and encouraging formerly outrageous sexual talk and behaviour for, literally, decades, but is now lying, faint with shock, on its couch, with a wet towel on its forehead, calling weakly for a restorative brandy-and-water.
I only wish Ambrose Bierce were alive to do verbal justice to the situation.
"...a republic, if they can keep it." Well....