Yuk It Up, America, While You Still Can
We will look back upon these days and laugh.
How could we not?
Won’t students of the future look back on this chapter in our nation’s history and think that some sort of joke was being played?
The front-runner of the Republican Party is pretending to be an unabashed bigot and outright thug.
Was he not joking when he called women bimbos, dogs and fat pigs?
And the incitements to violence! How could they not have been jokes? Donald Trump has a whole list of incitements that he goes through like a comic going through a monologue:
“Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise.”
“I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks. It’s true.”
“Get him out of here, please. Get him out. Get him out. Are you from Mexico? Are you from Mexico? Huh? Are you from Mexico? Right smack in the middle of my punch line!”
“Get out of here. Get out. Out! … This is amazing. So much fun. I love it. I love it. We having a good time?”
That’s all Trump wants: a good time. A steak, a bottle of wine and knocking the crap out of somebody. What could be more fun than that?
And Trump can keep things from getting out of hand. Don’t worry about it. Like when that guy rushed the stage in Ohio.
“It was probably ISIS or ISIS-related. Can you believe it?” Trump said. Then he tweeted: The U.S. Secret Service “did an excellent job stopping the maniac running to the stage. He has ties to ISIS. Should be in jail!”
Except the guy has no ties to the Islamic State group. He was charged with disorderly conduct and inducing panic, made bail and was allowed to go free.
Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” later asked Trump what evidence he had that the guy has ties to ISIS.
“I don’t know,” Trump responded. “All I know is what’s on the Internet.”
And what more does a potential president really have to know? If it’s the truth, the Internet will print it. If it’s a dangerous lie, the Internet will print it.
So take your choice. And have some fun doing it.
Not everybody gets this. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama said the current campaign for president is “vulgar and divisive.”
“There are values that our parents taught us and that we try to teach to our children to try to treat others the way we want to be treated,” Obama said. He also said we should not have to explain to our children “this darker side” of U.S. politics.
But you know what I say to that? I say listen to Sarah Palin, whom Trump likes to go on the stump with because she adds intellectual heft to his campaign. Here is what she said at a rally in Tampa, Florida, on Monday:
“We don’t have time for … all that petty, punk-ass little thuggery stuff that’s been going on with these quote-unquote protesters, who are doing nothing but wasting your time and trying to take away your First Amendment rights. … And the media being on the thugs’ side — what the heck are you guys thinking, media?”
Me, I’m thinking: How did this person ever get the Republican nomination for vice president? But that was probably a joke, too.
Humor is part of our lives — which is why we use words such as “circus” to describe this current presidential election, because circuses are fun and harmless and it makes us feel less guilty when we are fascinated by it.
In an interview this month in The Washington Post, Joan Baez said of this election: “It’s entertaining, it’s insane and it’s sick and it’s nasty, and I’m like a lot of people: I can’t resist watching it. And then I turn it off and try to do something decent. Anything. Like have a cup of coffee.”
Which I think is as honest a statement as I have read recently.
On Sunday, in West Chester Township, Ohio, Trump was downcast that only one protester showed up and there was no big disruption of his speech. “In certain ways,” Trump said, “it makes it more exciting.”
The next day, at an airport in Vienna Township, Ohio, Trump said: “Tell your friends, ‘Vote for Trump.’ … You’ll look back two years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now and say, ‘That was the single greatest vote I ever cast.'”
And don’t worry about the consequences. Because it’s all just a circus. A laugh. A yuk. A hoot. A giggle.
Voting is your right — at least for now.
But two years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, you may have to tell your children and your grandchildren just what you thought was so damn funny.
Roger Simon is Politico’s chief political columnist. His new e-book, “Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America,” can be found on Amazon.com, BN.com and iTunes. To find out more about Roger Simon and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
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Photo: Secret Service agents surround Donald Trump during a disturbance at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio, March 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein