Even taking remarks made by the Democratic candidates with a giant teaspoon of salt, I am saddened and disheartened. Although it’s almost impossible to know what was actually said, or to trust the media at all, it’s glaringly obvious that Trump’s candidacy has already done incredible harm to our country. Among Trump’s multitude of attributes is his ability to bring out the absolute worst in anyone and anything.
It’s like a +500 Miasma of the Monstrous – a soul-crushing, anti-decency superpower.
He brings out the basest, crassest, and most fear-riddled primal instincts in those who agree with him, but that’s not the worst. He also brings out the most disgusting, reprehensible aspects of those of us who disagree with him. I’ve watched the endless parade of blaming, shaming, nose-picking, name-calling, schoolyard insults rolling across all of my social media feeds, and not all of it is directed at Trump.
It’s as if his presence, in and of itself, has poisoned the entire well, rendering all of us incapable of decency or civility.
In no way am I saying that he is qualified to lead this country, in any way that would make us or the world better. In no way is he qualified, capable, or even interested in such a task. He is interested in controlling as many people as possible, making them jump, watching them race around after their own tails, and we’re all obliging him. It would be easy to blame it all on the media and every media outlet in this country bears a significant share of the blame for giving him the attention he so desperately craves.
But “the media” doesn’t make the memes and videos and “the media” doesn’t come up with all the coarse jokes and bathroom humor we’re throwing around. We’ve allowed ourselves to be pulled into a giant shit pile, and we are wallowing with abandon. Democrats are railing at each other in the same awful way they’re railing at Trump, to the point of threatening to sit out an election if their Chosen One isn’t selected as the nominee.
Where we choose to focus our attention matters. What we choose to accept as important, as significant, matters. How we choose to interact with those who disagree with us matters. How we conduct ourselves, especially as we select our leaders, matters. That the rest of the world is watching us, speechless at our reckless, thoughtless, and immature behavior matters. That we are causing increasing harm to our identity as a nation while this man chuckles himself to sleep every night, matters.
We are human. One of our greatest gifts is our freedom of will, our freedom to choose to be better, to treat each other with dignity and respect, even when we are afraid or angry. Using tactics of hatred and aggression to tear down Trump and his supporters will only result in a nation full of hatred and violence, regardless of who is elected. I know it is hard to consider courtesy, or kindness, when emotions run high, but I see a grim future if we don’t at least try.