The Yellow Brick Road to November

Sep 19, 2016


Today in the New York Times, Charles Blow had this to say about people who support Trump: “They know he’s lying, but they so want to believe the lies that they have pushed themselves into a universe of irrationality that is devoid of logic.”

And that’s the real problem. No matter what Trump says or does, they are still behind him. He expresses something they’re feeling and that’s all they care about.

It’s great that several news sources have finally started to tell the truth about Trump, although I seriously doubt they’re ones his supporters read, listen to or watch. And even if they do, they don’t lend them credence. It’s possible they get all their news from Fox. And, as another op-ed in today’s paper, written by a Republican who worked for both Reagan and W, explained: “After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Fox began shifting to the right of center, creating, along with talk radio and conservative websites, an ideological cocoon for viewers. One result is that crazy ideas and conspiracy theories can circulate without any correction or resistance.”

So while some media outlets can now try to acquit themselves by revealing how Trump used government tax breaks to make millions while probably never paying taxes; or that he is no business genius but was born with a silver spoon in his mouth (on second thought, make that a gold spoon); or that, in fact, his businesses went into bankruptcy multiple times; or that he is being sued for fraud over Trump University (among other things); or that he hired undocumented construction workers and then didn’t pay them, and then sued them when they tried to collect; or that he literally incites violence against protesters and against Hillary by innuendo (while representing himself as a law and order candidate); or that he welcomes the support of white supremacists; or that he demonizes immigrants and Muslims; or that he doubles down on his lies about Obama—oh, it’s exhausting. The point is, the evidence is out there and it doesn’t matter. Trump himself famously said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and still not lose any votes. The example is telling. And, for once, he seemed to be saying something true.

I suppose people who plan to vote for him will say I get all my information from the so-called liberal media. They just plain hate Hillary. They exaggerate her missteps and believe all the lies they’ve heard about her and refuse to hear the ones Trump is telling. As my grandmother used to say—although in Yiddish—you can see an ant on others but you can’t see a bear on yourself.

I felt ill when Nixon was elected. I was appalled by Reagan and W. But, as deceitful and damaging and dangerous as some of their policies were, I never feared they would bring the country down in flames. And maybe bring the rest of the world down with it. I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic when I say this guy could.

Trump’s supporters seem to forget that, for many of them, their own parents or grandparents were despised immigrants. That fears similar to those today about Muslims were held about Catholics in the 19th and early 20th centuries: The Pope was going to destroy our American way of life. That, just as Mexicans are denigrated now, earlier political cartoons depicted Germans, the Irish, Jews, Italians and the Chinese as less than human.

So it doesn’t matter that facts about Trump that should have been published during the primaries are at long last being revealed. Some people don’t want to see them. They want Oz, the great and terrible. They are paying no attention to that man behind the curtain.