We’re Not Laughing Anymore

Imagine a bright, breezy day at the beginning of July. Jazz notes slid through the air like fingers across a keyboard. Music lovers relaxed in their lawn chairs or sprawled on blankets. Then the rumbling began, the sound of a small plane moving into view above the Old Capitol’s golden dome. Behind the plane a banner trailed, and as festival goers saw the banner, a chuckle arose from the crowd.

Johnson County, Iowa, is a Democratic bastion. As home to the University of Iowa, the surrounding community advocates for and votes for progressive principles. The jazz festival, held annually in downtown Iowa City and on the university campus, is just one aspect of the community’s support for the arts and inclusive values. Many of the festival attendees, perhaps most, would describe themselves as Democrats, liberals, or progressives.

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The plane circled the area several times before disappearing, and we laughed. The banner trailing the airplane said, “IOWANS FOR TRUMP”. What a waste of money, Jim and I thought, useless to try to drum up fans in Iowa City.  And we assumed Trump’s campaign would disappear nearly as fast.

In August while visiting our son, we recounted the story to him. “It’s not funny, Mom,” he said. “Imagine if he were my commander in chief!” And yes, the idea of Trump’s candidacy became much less funny. Still, we thought it would end swiftly, mercifully, by Iowa’s caucus on February 1.

In the intervening months, Trump has proved himself to be a bigot, a misogynist, a serial liar, and a bully. From a psychological standpoint, likely he is a narcissist, too, though I’m not qualified to make that diagnosis. This week he failed to disavow the support of white supremacists. Later he claimed that his earpiece for the interview didn’t work well. However it worked well enough for him to say David Duke’s name. Clearly he heard that, and that he was being asked about Duke’s support.

The Washington Post wrote about Trump’s white supremacist connections: “The overtly racist stuff is supposed to be a political loser and radioactive to mainstream Republicans. What is not usual is that same cast of racist characters and organizations feeling at home and well represented at the very apotheosis of Republican Party politics, in the campaign of the prohibitive front-runner for the party’s presidential nomination.”

Whether or not Trump welcomes the attention from the nazi fringe, he has attracted it. That in itself shows what kind of person he is. And it shows the type of people willing to support him. Even if they themselves don’t hold to the fringe beliefs, they cheer on the man whose views invite them.

We are not laughing anymore, and have not for many months. Trump is a danger to our country. The only laughter I can manage is for John Oliver, with his recent take-down of Trump. It’s about 20 minutes, but worth your time.

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17 thoughts on “We’re Not Laughing Anymore

  1. Jim Ruebush

    I was laughing when he first entered the race. I figured it was just for show and some free publicity. He would never be able to stand the give and take of really governing with others. He’s too selfish. I figured he might do a third party run eventually. Well, the attention seems to have made him stay. The spotlight is too attractive to give up.

    The decent and hard working people I know can’t stand him for all the reasons so well covered by John Oliver. Yes, he has a base of support. They will follow him like lemmings to the cliff. I hope the rest of the people know better.

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  2. Pat T.

    Thank you, Melanie…
    And, thank you for the heads-up on the John Oliver report!!… I had missed that!
    Yes… amen, Jim R.
    I am SO hoping people will “know better”…
    Pat T.

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  3. jimfetig

    There’s a scene in Schindler’s List the book that also became a scene in the movie. It seems that many Jews thought Hitler and his brown shirts were clowns and buffoons. They supposed that no one like Hitler could come to power in a society that produced the likes of Goethe and Schiller. We all know how that turned out. None of the Republican candidates should be considered moderates. Aside from Trump, one is a theocrat while the others would attempt to severely alter our rights and privileges as citizens. At best, they espouse a regressive social philosophy that should give us pause.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Regressive at best, well put. They are not conservative in any sense of the word, either from a historical political philosophy, an environmental basis, or a broader sense of what it means to conserve. This has become something of a nightmare to me. The only hope is that good people will vote. Thanks.

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  4. Steve Gingold

    At first it did seem that he was “trolling” as some have suggested and trying to promote his brand. But I think the response convinced him that he could actually do this. I understand people’s frustrations with the established way of doing things, but that many are turning to this person just blows me away. Obama has said, as have many others, that he has faith in the American people to be discerning enough that, once in the actual presidential election ballot booths, they will make a more sensible decision. I’d like to think that also; but many extremist candidates that didn’t seem to have a snowball’s chance in hell have risen to the top and ruined a society for decades to come. Let us hope that is not the same case here.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It is a scary scenario. The media and others have spent years fanning a hate-filled, fear-filled, anti-science, anti-education ideology. We can take that at least back to Bush’s term and those who put their puppet in place. Bush was the worst president of my lifetime and oh how I would welcome him back, as compared to the ones currently running. And now I need to go vomit a little bit…

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  5. TanGental

    From my side of the pond, I do wonder but then it looks like we will have a neo communist in Corbyn and a Latin spouting nutter in Boris Johnson to fight the next general election in the UK. The satirists and cartoonists will be out of work soon. I think though the Hitler esque comparisons are interesting if a bit far. Closer to home he might be the new President Polk ready to do battle with Mexico and annex somewhere in the meantime. Self aggrandisement seems to be his forte. And thanks for the Oliver link. A real hoot.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I’m not sure if the Hitleresque comparisons are too far. Trump may not have started from the same hate and fear, more from a narcissism. But he is drumming up the same kind of anti-other hatred. And you’re welcome for the Oliver link. He’s a good one, for sure.

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