It is common for observers to notice that the Republican party, once it became dominated by the Tea Party and other far right folk, became essentially negative and judgmental and, therefore, created the space which Trump is now filling. He is already the party’s chief whiner, complaining, insulter. The party is getting what it deserves.
I agree with that assessment but fear it does not go deep enough. The real problem is not just that the Republicans are getting what they deserve, the monster they have created, but that our whole society has been aiming us in the direction of having a wannabe tyrant become so popular.
We long ago started the process of giving up on civility. We’ve considered insults and humiliation to be entertaining television. We’ve discovered the the anonymity of the internet somehow releases our inner beast, normally kept in check by simple courtesy. We’ve become selfish and self-centered.
Our entertainment industry, with just a few exceptions, has celebrated violence and cheap, meaningless sex. Take an evening to compare British crime stories (Midsomer Murders, Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, Foyle’s War, and so on, all found on PBS) to the usual fare on our broadcast channels every evening. We are so crude in comparison that it is an embarrassment.
We have allowed racism to exist and flourish. We’ve done next to nothing to regulate firearms. We have a huge hunger for drugs.We’ve slipped into thinking that if something is good for business it is good, as if capitalism were an ethical system in and of itself. We’ve lost any comprehension of what the word “commitment” might mean, so that we even end up treating our spouses as disposable.
No, it will not do to blame the Republicans for giving us Donald Trump. We all deserve some of the blame. Let us hope we do not all have to pay too great a price because of the damage he is already doing and which is going to get much worse before it gets better.
Donald Trump is the embodiment of the worst side of the American character and therefore should be a prompt for us to do some serious soul-searching leading to genuine repentance.