Whether a buffoon is a pauper or a billionaire, buffoonery is buffoonery. No matter how much Trump says he is worth or what outlandish thing is has to say, he is a buffoon and what he says is sheer buffoonery. But I’m not really concerned about Trump, and have determined not to add to his grandiosity by writing about him.
What does concern me is the scads of people who are his loyal supporters. They reveal the desperate truth of what many of us have suspected for some time. There lies buried deep in the gut of the American psyche a cesspool of unhappiness about what is going on in our nation. Much of the dis-ease reveals an undefined insidious version of racism. If we have traditionally thought of it as an anti-black phenomenon that is only one example of a disease that is far more widespread. There is the desperate bitterness about immigrants — as if we older white folks are all aboriginal Americans. Consider the call to rid the country of every one of the 11 millions who have sought safety north of the Rio Grande, even if it means destroying millions of families and ending the Constitutional provision by which anyone born here is automatically a citizen. Is that anger really the ethos that is at the heart of the American experience?
Lock the borders by building a great wall which Mexico is obliged to pay for; charge those foreign nations the cost involved in taking back the millions who have somehow found in the United States the opportunity and refuge promised in the poem found on the Statue of Liberty. This is not the dream which has made America great. But it may be a symptom of an infection which one day will bring down a people dedicated to the inalienably rights of all those in its borders?
In addition to this tide of racism, we hear thunder from the storms of sexism. Are older white males honestly bigoted about women, particularly young still-fertile women? Are there really that many of us who still delight in sexist jokes as if anyone not born with male genitalia is automatically the object of ridicule? Do we honestly believe that the government has the right to dictate to a woman what she does with her own body?
Hitchhiking on this insatiable angry tide there has come a brand of religion which is self-righteous at best and harkens back to a state-imposed religious faith at worst. It holds not only that abortion is wrong no matter the circumstances — rape, the life of the potential mother — but would call immoral and illegal any attempt to limit conception, holding that an unfertilized egg is really a full human person.
I have long since been convinced that much of the political opposition to almost everything President Obama has tried to do has underneath harbored a subtle form of racism. The Republican Party has increasingly backed itself into a corner as one potential candidate after another gives at least lip service to this catalogue of shame.
I doubt whether Trump believes any of this sheer buffoonery, even as he has drawn from the woodwork those who do. There is an indigestion in the gut of the American psyche, and for now that peptic distress is being fed pure acid by a salesman who knows and is able to use every device. While the discomfort is real, the blatant demagoguery we are currently seeing will not ultimately prevail. When it comes down to it, the American people are just better than that. Sooner or later buffoons are found out. Let’s hope that in this case it is sooner, lest we find ourselves in the throes of a national election in which buffoonery still works.