The Political Theater Of Donald Trump

A certainty. The tragedy of police killings, racial strife and injustice will play out as political theater at the Republican Convention. The shameless will join hands with the ruthless and the gutless in a dance of death. The great NY Times expose of Trump's sharp business practices and untruths is just a background report on the most dishonest and unqualified man to be the nominee of any political party in our history -- and that includes Richard Nixon -- who is a choir boy compared to Trump. I find myself offended when PBS promises "Fair and balanced" coverage of the GOP convention -- since when is public television playing at Fox News? Would they claim to be impartial at the Nuremberg rallies? The hate may not be as blatant in Cleveland but it is hiding in plain sight in the words expressed by the Republican candidate.

Having lived my eight decades -- and proud of it -- I am able to say that this is not the worst time in our history or in my lifetime. Race riots and lynchings were rampant during my early years -- segregation and injustice abounded, but there was a sense that for all the unspeakable cruelties we were going forward -- that the country was better than the crimes that a few committed. I was a child during the Great Depression but even then I was aware that our leaders wanted to create a civil society out of the ruins of a jobless, hungry, confused country, and not an armed camp where the cure is worse than the disease. There were haters like Father Coughlin on the radio, and heroes like Lindbergh who tarnished their own glory with their bigotry. And all the gangsters who found their fortunes in prohibition. But there was the New Deal, not always able to keep its promises but setting new goals of decency.

When Trump declares his "law and order" candidacy -- it is not about creating a peaceful, lawful country, one with equal opportunity, but one where fear is played by a tone deaf tyrant singing a song of hate on a cheap guitar. The most troubling fact is that Trump could not happen without the support of those millions who voted for him in the GOP primary. Oh, hell, I am so saddened and disgusted by the possibility that this man and his cohorts could ascend to power by exploiting the fears of voters -- but it will not happen if the millions of decent people are not frightened into passivity by the terrible acts of recent days. Never has a vote been more important. And I am grateful to President Obama for his decency and his noble words of comfort in this difficult and tragic time. I will miss him and hope that HRC is there to continue his work and restore civility in the months and years ahead.