On June 9th, 65 years ago, the United States was awash with the stench and slime that was the result of Senator Joseph McCarthy‘s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation – a true Salem-style witch hunt for Communists in every nook and cranny. As the abuse and human wreckage mounted, Joseph Welch, who was counsel to the United States Army in these hearings, confronted the beast that was McCarthy as he endeavored to destroy the life and career of yet another witness and stated – “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” And that question marked the beginning of the end of the American nightmare that was McCarthyism.
We fast forward 65 years and we get to witness Trump attending D-Day 75th anniversary ceremonies. As Roger Cohen of the New York Times pointed out, someone almost certainly had to tell Trump that the D in D-Day did not stand for “Donald”. And it was during a pause in these solemn ceremonies that Trump was interviewed by Fox News in the actual cemetery where thousands of American soldiers are buried. And it was in that hallowed and sacred space that Trump saw fit to ignore the sacrifice and sadness of the venue and instead launch yet another infantile, brainless attack on one of his political enemies – this time it was Nancy Pelosi.
Somehow, there is not even a shred of decency or self-awareness in this man for him to recognize that the D-Day ceremony at the U.S. military cemetery at Normandy was not the place for him to engage in school yard catcalls and insults. The men and women who were buried just a few feet from his over privileged and pampered self deserved better than Donald Trump as President of the United States, and the same can be said for all Americans.
There are multiple partisan and philosophical divisions in this country. There have always been multiple partisan and philosophical divisions in this country. There will always be multiple partisan and philosophical divisions in this country. But with Trump there is something different going on.
The normalization of nasty and disgusting. The ordinariness of stupidity and lying. The consistency of error and stubborn adherence to ignorance. And then there is the racism, always bubbling beneath the surface of his self-proclaimed outsize persona, his blisters bursting and oozing slurs, invective, dog whistle stereotypes and more flammable fuel for the tiki torches that may one day light his way to his own personal, custom made hell, complete with his name in lights for eternity.
Of course there is the misogyny and sexism and dissolute frat boy attitude towards women that seeps into his rhetoric and even worse, into the governmental policies that he supports. But the fact that he thinks that demeaning the appearance (or “energy”) of a female critic provides meaningful insight into how he could easily look at any woman as either an object for enjoyment or a target for his cruelty.
The nativism, white supremacy, xenophobia and slavish worship of stupidity goes so far beyond politics and policy it is almost as if Trump is some kind of alien from a planet that destroyed itself many eons ago – kind of like Krypton. Except that instead of Superman we got Trump.
The American people deserve better than Trump. The people of this planet deserve an American president that is better than Trump. Every day that he is in office he represents a moment that is pregnant with disaster. Every time he tweets he reveals new depths in that subterranean morass of unintelligible logic and just plain dumbness that serves as his brain. And every time he speaks he manages to recycle old lies while weaving horrific fantasies that seem to hypnotize his so-called base.
The thing is, his base deserves more than the thin gruel of lies and moronic imagining that he serves them. Certainly all of the American people deserve more. His normalization of the basest of instincts and the worst of behaviors is not normal and never should be.
And finally, sometime soon someone, somewhere must address this question to Trump, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”, and that will mark the beginning of the end of our national nightmare.