Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Real Thing

Now that Hillary Clinton has really secured enough delegates and has the Democratic nomination assured, pundits and bloggers are going to say things like “game on!” and “the race is on,” or other such sporting metaphors.  I will probably use a few myself between now and November 8.  Hey, it’s a writing device and if it helps get the point across, there’s not much harm in it.

On the other hand, it’s really important that we — all of us — don’t treat this election like some game where the end doesn’t really matter as long as we have fun and score some points along the way.  Because this election isn’t a game or some sports contest.  The lives and fortunes of millions of people aren’t at stake if the Detroit Tigers don’t win the pennant, but if this election is won by Donald Trump and people who believe in what he says he believes in — which it’s hard to tell what that really is — we’re setting off on a really dark and scary path: back to a time in America when it was acceptable to discriminate indiscriminately, destroy those who disagree with us, challenge the basic goodness of seeking accommodation without giving up civility, and gin up paranoia and distrust by making it all about ego and nothing about progress.

I don’t want this to be a close election.  I want it to be a landslide of a proportion that makes the 1964 election between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater look like a squeaker.  I want this to be a repudiation not just of a candidate of the likes of Donald Trump but of the entire base of nativist, racist, authoritarian, distrusting, “what’s in it for me”-fevered vengeance style of politics that has latched on to the Republican party like that alien in the eponymous movie.  This must be an election where the overwhelming sentiment is no more gassy promises of vague greatness that can only be achieved by blaming someone else for our self-inflicted woes and pitiful self-absorption.  We’re a lot better than that, and we have proven time and again that we can rise above that kind of immaturity and lead not by shoving but by pulling others along with us.

That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun doing it.  I am by nature someone who looks for the humor in everything, and Dog knows that in the next six months we’re going to need it.  But we can’t forget that no matter what silliness and laughter we find as we go, the lightness doesn’t let us forget that as Lord Byron noted, “And if I laugh at any mortal thing, ’tis that I may not weep.”

All right; let’s get out there and win this.