America’s liberals and Democrats have succeeded in laughing themselves to the brink of Armageddon.

It began with Jon Stewart’s light-hearted treatment of Trump’s candidacy announcement and continued on through such milestones as John Oliver’s “Make Donald Drumpf Again” segment. Now, with eight days left until election day, the orange buffoon who entertained us throughout 2016 is no longer funny.

We could have stopped him before, at a dozen different junctures. The media could have stopped giving him the coverage he craved. We, the people, could have stopped indulging in snide laughter at our right-wing neighbors in their sticky situation, and instead chosen to reach across the aisle and help them see an alternative.

But no matter. We are all in the trenches together, now. The time has come to stop laughing, and to do something about it.

What do we lose, exactly, if Donald Trump is elected president? What has he promised?

It turns out that he’s promised very little, except for his nebulous vow to Make America Great Again. That’s the real rhetorical genius of Trump: his ability to make horrendous threats and promises without ever actually saying so, in so many words.

Trump never actually says “We’ll lock up all the brown-colored folks and foreigners.” Not in so many words. Instead, he waits for the CNN anchor to ask him, outraged, “Do you mean to say you’re going to lock up all the brown-colored folks and foreigners?” Trump can then reply, with a wink and a smile, “Oh, now, I never said that.”

In the third debate, Trump didn’t actually say that he’d make a grab for power by force, if Clinton were elected. He merely said that he’d leave us in suspense. Everyone knew what he meant, of course—supporters and denigrators alike—but his supporters are free to brush it off as Trump’s blustery, macho manner.

Still, and in spite of his playground-bully’s manner of speaking, we know what Trump stands for. He stands for White, male America taking back what it used to have. He stands for getting those Black neighbor kids off your uncle’s lawn, and for kicking the dirty Mexicans out of your grandfather’s sandwich shop. He stands for putting those nasty women back in their kitchens, and for making sure those jabbering Chinese tourists don’t clutter up Disneyland.

After all, asks a nagging voice in the back of reader’s head, isn’t there something to that line about Making America Great Again? What if we did just roll back the clock to a simpler, more racially homogeneous time?

Look, a racially homogenous society might well be easier to run—that’s the hidden strength of Bernie Sanders’ much-vaunted Scandinavian socialist democracies, and the not-so-hidden strength of the 1950s America to which Trump’s supporters would like to return.

But we don’t want to go backwards. We want to face the challenges of the world’s most diverse, cosmopolitan society and invent new, better ways for humans to live in harmony. We are going to go out to the polls this November in great numbers, and we are going to say so.

We are going to do this not just because we like having taco trucks and kebab stands on our street corners, but because we believe what every real American believes, what has made us the greatest country on Earth for 240 years, and what makes us Earth’s brightest hope for the future: that every man, woman, and gender-nonconforming person is created equal under the sky.

Donald Trump does not believe this, but by going to the polls next month and voting against him, we will affirm that we do.

Donald Trump’s particular brand of evil is the kind that cannot be beat by force. For Trump, might makes right—in his mind he doesn’t just want to win, he deserves to win, because he has the most money, the best words, the most famous face, and the loudest voice. You can hear it in the way he interrupts Clinton at the debates. Wrong!

It’s why he can’t be beat by laughing at him or belittling him—by doing so, Jon Stewart and John Oliver and all the rest of the cheap, smarmy late-night show hosts are engaging Trump on his own terms. They’re admitting to him that the way to defeat your opponent is to laugh at him and belittle him, to mock his appearance or his disability or the way he talks. Wrong!

Trump is the master of that game, the ultimate schoolyard bully, and we can’t beat him that way.

But we can beat him by voting. We have to. And we will.

Tagged: Trump


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