Opinion

The exhaustive despair of Donald Trump's nomination

Yes, Trump is a spectacle to behold. But the implications of his nomination are nothing to laugh at.

Donald Trump is now truly, really, officially the presidential nominee for the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan.

I think I speak for many when I say the first emotion this news evokes is disbelief. It also makes me want to reach for a bottomless bottle of Jack.

I would take up smoking again, but it would only make me more sick.

Though we knew it was coming, many of us still can't quite get our heads around the news. The same mindless media cycle that helped propel Trump to this place seems to dilute the truth somehow, making it all seem to exist in a virtual land of non-reality. Melania plagiarized her speech! Trump still can't form a complete sentence! LOL!

But it's real, and it's not funny.

The Republican Party holds majorities in both houses of Congress and record numbers of gubernatorial offices and state legislatures. The last thing it needed to achieve near-unprecedented levels of control of government was the White House, and amazingly, the Democratic Party is about to nominate Hillary Clinton, its most unpopular nominee ever. But instead of nominating any of the countless Republican candidates who would have won against Clinton, the GOP chose the one candidate American hates more than it hates her. A man who embodies the qualities of both a carnival barker and low-rent Mussolini at once.

This man could soon hold the most powerful office in the world. This man could soon have the nuclear codes. This man will control an incredible administrative apparatus with unprecedented powers to enact policy — and enact retribution against his enemies.

Let that sink in.

What is the worst thing about Trump? Is it his positions? The man has called for rewriting the First Amendment to make it easier to punish journalists for publishing things he doesn't like. He has called for banning people from the United States on the basis of their religion. He has run the most openly race-baiting campaign since George Wallace, an astonishing thing to write in 2016.

Or is the least palatable thing about Trump his incompetence? By his own admission, Trump gets his information on policy from cable news. His ghostwriter, who spent 18 months shadowing him, avers that he simply lacks the attention span to grasp complex concepts. Everything he touches seems to turn to shambles. His convention has featured not one but two plagiarism scandals revolving around his family.

But actually, the worst thing about Trump is his character. He is a textbook narcissist, and maybe even a textbook sociopath. This is the vainest public figure in recent memory (which is saying a lot in the era of the West-Kardashians). Trump shows no remorse about, well, anything. His greed and misogyny are only manifestations of his bald, Nietzschean worship of power.

So while this nominating convention is a spectacle with plenty to laugh at, in reality, it is a tragedy. And like the 1940 fall of France, it exposes a systemic failure at every level of our society.

Sure, Trump couldn't have gotten where he is if there hadn't been so much bigotry at the heart of the Republican coalition. But he also couldn't have gotten there if our elites hadn't sacrificed so much to the god of free movement of peoples and capital. He couldn't have gotten there if our media (myself included) had shown some responsibility and treated him for what he is instead of a shiny object that drives clicks and ratings. He couldn't have gotten there, maybe, if our religious elites hadn't ceded so much ground to heresies that laid the groundwork for a man who is winning the evangelical vote despite boasting about how he has never asked forgiveness for his sins.

This exposes rot at every level of society that calls for soul-searching on the part of all of us.

I have never written these words more sincerely: May God help us all.

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