" Little Murders" was a 1967 play written by the "cartoonist" Jules Feiffer, later became a movie, directed by Alan Arkin. The work masterfully depicts an American society spinning out of control with senseless random killings, as the protagonist, a photographer whose sensibilities and art form is reduced to obsessively aiming his camera at dog poop and stained sidewalks. Reality became a stinking-rotten world. Feiffer and Arkin artistically channeled America's dark mood wedged between the Summer of Love, political assassinations and into the Summer of Rage. The street protests, presidential conventions and election of 1968 gave support to fears that American society was about to implode.
Today the past meets the future as our Deja vu. With the air still hosting smoke from BBQs and fireworks as part of July 4th celebrations, the four corners of America are spinning out of control and boiled over and convulsed with rage in reaction to a series of "little murderers." The streets of America are soiled by another week of violence and senseless killings that tilt in the direction of racial and political discord. Law enforcement and those enforced by the law have been gunned-down. Snipers are taking up positions and shooting to kill at street level. The senseless random abundance and mainstreaming of firearms designed to kill are being used to senselessly and randomly kill. Already the senseless shooting has spilled into this week as cameras stream a live feed for 24-hour news.
Ohio, like Texas, is an open-carry firearms state. The GOP Convention will be held in a week in Cleveland, Ohio. Nominee Mr. Trump has earned the title of "Master Manipulator of Media." With this advantage he managed to vanquish 16 opponents, curry favor with the disaffected, angry and socially incorrect, massaging hate, and setting up a firestorm of intrigue, speculation, and anxiety about the upcoming convention. There will be lots of folks in the streets, likely too many armed, and confronting a strong militarized security force.
On Monday, after a weekend of showing silent restraint and respect for the grieving, Mr. Trump, the "man-baby-huckster-divider" spins the shock and grief by declaring, "I am the law and order candidate!" This is the latest coded, hollow and horrific bark from Trump's Tall Tale Crypt.
What would "law and order" look like under a President Trump who flames so much rage? Militarized police have dispatched the first use of a robotcop armed with a bomb to kill a wounded, cornered, and unhinged U.S. Veteran-sniper cop killer. Militarized citizens are attending "peace" rallies shouldering legal firearms, causing much confusion for law enforcement on the ground. We may be "one snowball-at-a-Redcoat" away from a massacre where too many edgy folks along with police start cross shooting in the fog of chaos.
In an attempt to add credibility to Trump's law and order image, the "bridge-destroyer" from across the river, his desperate "man-servant," who has become an unelectable political pariah in his home state, but is yet to be defanged, has resurfaced. Two mean verbal tough guys who relish bullying are auditioning as a tag-team to "make America great again" and be great at law and order, like you have never seen before.
There are three solid measures of electoral success and leadership that precede a vote for President; the candidate's record on the totality of their life experiences, how they manage the long primary season, and lastly, their pick for Vice President along with the flavor and spirit of their crowning at the convention. Consider the example of Mitt Romney's failed attempt.
He pandered too far to the right to win the nomination and lost the win-able narrative honoring his more moderate record as a big state Governor. He became the caricatured 1%, and chose a running mate too inexperienced to lift the load. At his convention, darkness permeated when the invited speaker Clint Eastwood, took the stage and ominously talked to an empty chair in an attempt to trash President Obama.
Donald Trump now has a record voters can assess. He is on record with a convoluted position on everything, and therefore stands for, well, we are not sure. He spins dark stuff from his crypt to intentionally darken the mood of America and capitalize on divisiveness. He seems energized by violence and wants us to embrace the notion that America is a Jules Feiffer "stinking-rotten world" of little murderers that know-nothing stupid politicians cannot make great again. He has failed miserably at every measurement of being presidential to this point. What remain is whom Mr. Trump picks to be a "heartbeat away," and what their convention will sow in this summer of convention discontent. Don't have high expectations.