The race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is close, and that fact has surprised everyone, including the Trump supporters themselves. That fact also raises a deadly serious question: Why does such a large percentage of the American people feel that we should put in office a person with so little political experience and so many personal flaws? Call it insanity, if you will. Joke about the failings of the masses, if you will. But there it is, and it, this widespread desire for change at any cost, is ignored at the peril of the entire country fundamentally losing its way.
It is too easy to ascribe Trump’s success to the hundreds of millions of dollars spent over the last several decades in various attacks on the Clintons — Watergate and philandering and Benghazi and emails. Even if there is a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against the Clintons, the outcome has been little or nothing. There is something much deeper here, something that goes beyond Clinton, that goes even beyond Donald Trump. Remember that this galactically incompetent candidate bested sixteen other people in the Republican primaries, among whom were some very attractive and intelligent and experienced people.
I put it to you that this huge chunk of the American population is rebelling against the status quo, which they see as a bunch of self-promoters who have ignored the needs of the people for far too long. They want politicians to cut out their incessant bickering and filibustering and sandbagging and get down to solving fundamental problems like crime and jobs and debt. It is too easy to think them fools, to assume that they don’t care about the environment or education or healthcare. Of course they care. They are good, decent people who work hard and care greatly for their little corner of the world. They want their children to inherit a clean world and get a good education and be able to get decent healthcare. They are simply saying that our politicians have ignored all of that and have instead wasted all their time assuring their re-election by pandering to special interests and attacking their opponents.
The fairly incredible ascendancy of the cartoonish Trump is a deafening siren warning that this country only works when it works together. The slash and burn politics, both of those in office and of those of us who partake in political debate, does nothing to mend this fundamental schism in the body politic. It may well take Trump’s election to finally awaken us to the need to put aside petty differences and return to the pursuit of that grand ideal on which our nation was founded — the inalienable rights we owe to every human being.