Saturday, October 15, 2016

A "Deranged" Election

I may be wrong, but it looks like the tide is turning against Donald Trump. I think he recognizes that himself, which is why he's going full-bore apocalyptic. If Hillary wins, the end is nigh. The fate of America hangs in the balance.

I suppose this sort of thinking is an undercurrent in most elections, but it has never been so pronounced, so uninhibited, as this year. Indeed, most all the arguments in favor of Trump are based on an apocalyptic view of Hillary Clinton. She is the anti-christ, bar none. The floodgates will open, the deluge shall be complete. Kiss America goodbye.

I tend not to believe end-times scenarios because, well, they've all been wrong so far. Not to say that someday someone will be right when he shouts, "It's the end of the world!" But the fact that this sort of rhetoric is applied to a politician may be something new. Where does it come from?

During the Bush II administration, the opponents of George W. Bush were so rabid at times, so extreme in their vilification of the president, so over-the-top in their ire, that Bush's defenders coined a phrase for it: Bush Derangement Syndrome. And it did seem like a form of derangement, kind of  a political-charged mental illness.

But here's the thing: there had been a Clinton Derangement Syndrome before that, and then after that there was clearly an Obama Derangement Syndrome. The signs that it is a derangement and not a valid political stance is when people are quite willing to believe and perpetuate obvious and traceable lies about the candidate, or when the content of their critique is almost entirely filled with extreme distortions of fact and apocalyptic shouting. And when reality doesn't seem to jibe with your vision, that must be explained away with elaborate conspiracy theories.

Indeed, when some is suffering from one of these syndromes, they believe that the situation is so dark that all sort of things might be tolerated in the cause of righteousness: lying, violence, and sexual depravity. When the end is nigh, it's not time to be priggish.

I contend that most of the arguments for voting for Donald Trump are very much of this falsely apocalyptic nature and as such are rooted in a Hillary Derangement Syndrome. All evil is ascribed to Hillary, while any criticism of Trump is derided as coming from a brainwashed victim of "The Establishment."

I'm not saying their isn't a valid case to be made against Hillary Clinton. And many on the right have made the case and made it well. But the thing is, a political argument against Hillary, however valid, is just not as powerful as the sanity case against Trump. Or to put it another way, this is the choice between a madman and a political hack. We know what to expect from a political opponent and know how to fight it, but put a madman in office? Who can predict the kind of turmoil and tragedy that might follow?

You see, if you consider this election a binary choice, well then, that's the choice we have. Trump's defenders want to say, but what about abortion, and what about the Supreme Court? But I just point to their candidate and say, but what about his mind?

No comments: