Colson: Trump; part of a crop of bully-boys
Well, that’s that.
The Bishop of Bluster, Donald Trump, has all but been anointed as the Republican presidential nominee.
Now we can all take a deep breath, let fearful thoughts about the future roll around our craniums for a while, and then let that breath out in an awful scream.
Trump is clearly the most unqualified Republican to get to this point in an awfully long time; his candidacy already has done incalculable damage to our national political atmosphere, and it hasn’t ended yet.
Political commentators have been noting for some time that the tone of politics in the U.S. has been deteriorating at a gallop. But this year’s plummet into infantile name-calling, lies disguised as ignorance and more has been nothing short of meteoric.
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And it is interesting to note that this kind of deliberately insulting and misleading behavior has not just blighted political discourse in this country, but others, too.
Take, for example, a Philippine politician whose outlandish and insulting demeanor might make even Trump blush — Rodrigo Duterte, mayor of Davao City and frontrunner in the race for that nation’s presidency.
This is the guy who, when asked about an Australian missioner who was raped and killed in a 1989 prison riot in his city, joked about it and said he wished he could have been the rapist.
He’s also suggested that disabled people, rather than count on their government to help them out, might be better off just killing themselves. The articles I’ve seen did not explain why he thought that might be a better option for all concerned, but I’d be willing to guess it has something to do with saving a lot of bother and money that would be wasted on people he clearly feels have little to contribute to society.
I can’t help but wonder if he’d feel that way if, say, his sister or cousin came down with some debilitating, crippling disease.
Actually, the more I think about it, he’d probably be just as happy killing off family members as he would perfect strangers.
Here in our own hemisphere, we have a Trump doppleganger in the form of Jair Bolsonaro, a Brazilian congressman who wants to oust President Dilma Rousseff and take her job, and whose utterances are nearly as disgusting as those of his Philippine counterpart.
According to news reports, he has gotten into nasty arguments with another member of congress who happens to be a woman (she wasn’t identified in the article I read).
During one heated exchange, Bolsonaro reportedly said she “was not worthy of being raped by him,” as reported.
His actual words to the target of his bile, according to the story, were, “You don’t merit that.”
At some other point in his illustrious career, he reportedly disavowed any consideration or compassion for the country’s downtrodden gay population, and was quoted as saying, “I would be incapable of loving a gay son. I prefer that he die in an accident.”
I tell ya, between thugs who use religion as a shield for their atrocities and their hunger for power (I refuse to call them Islamist or Muslims, since their only beliefs are in blood and intimidation), military despots who kill and maim their critics (such as a Thailand mom facing prison for her one-word acknowledgment of an email criticizing the royal family), and ignoramuses like Trump, this world sure seems caught in a nightmarish tailspin.
Although it would be convenient and fun to blame Trump for all this hyperbolic descent into madness in the name of political power, I can’t. It got going long before he became the top dog in the Republican lineup for the White House.
But it certainly is of a piece with his behavior, and it may well signal a spreading disinterest in remaining civil during political disputes.
It’s telling, isn’t it, that the very Republican leadership that sowed the seeds now being reaped in the presidential contest appear to be as horrified as the rest of us that their evil plans have ripened into such a monstrous candidate spouting such insane policy declarations?
As is now being bandied about on TV talk shows of all stripes, the Republican party has been so bent upon demonizing anything and everything the Democrats do (especially, of course, Barack Obama over the last eight years) they never noticed that there might be a downside to their machinations.
It seems to have started when Newt Gingrich engineered his Contract On America back in the early 1990s. And like a metastasizing cancer, it blossomed through the dismal years of Bill Clinton’s rightward slide into becoming a Republican in all but name, the impeachment proceedings mounted by Clinton’s new Republican buddies after he, ah, did a little mounting of his own, the unhappy reign of George “The Shrub” Bush, and the embarrassing treatment of President Obama by the right-wing haters and liars.
If this keeps up, the future will not be something we recognize.
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This weekend we go local. After the bacchanalia that was the Food & Wine Classic last week, we turn to Snowmass for a kinder, gentler wine gathering as the 19th Snowmass Wine Festival gets underway.