You watch them sitting there, some in VFW hats looking like aged Boy Scouts trying to sit through a lecture on Balbus-Hawley Instability without falling asleep or revealing total incomprehension. Some of them like lobotomy patients nodding together from their rocking chairs on some asylum veranda. They have mostly little questions about how the presidential hopeful would solve things a president has nothing to do with: how would you end discrimination, how would you end poverty and change human nature.
The moderator tries hard to control his anger as the candidate evades every question and every unsuccessful attempt to put the question back on the podium. The men in funny hats nod.
In living rooms all over the nation there are those so outraged they will spend a sleepless night pretending they can respond to suggestions that the centuries old strife in the Middle East began with Hillary Clinton and her invention of the Islamic State, her autocratic and premature withdrawal of American troops from a decade old occupation. Indeed Hillary of the emails is the devil in all details and particularly the fictional ones. But of course, since she's been the de-facto president of the United States for nearly 30 years, the very principle of evil itself and the sole cause of the current disaster. And believe me it's a disaster, in fact it's huge.
You'd think some of the Admirals and Generals Trump claims to have as supporters would remember that the troops in Iraq were withdrawn under a schedule set by George Bush and the Iraqi government -- that the cover story under which the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld junta operated was that we were liberating Iraq from a tyrant and allowing them to set up the Liberal Western Democracy they claimed was the default state of the human species. We wanted to reassure the suspicious world that this was not a conquest, an attempt to claim Iraqi resources and to exploit them for our benefit and at their expense.
Trump of course is good at appealing to our collective atavisms. We should have made it a conquest and "taken their oil" as though we could put it in a bucket and taken it home like a trophy. The mechanics of making Iraq a colony under our iron clad control? Only the deeply deficient would fail to ask. Only the morally vacant would fail to protest - yet the audience stares into the cameras and nods.
They stare with empty faces like those in the early stages of Alzheimer's dementia as Trump brags about the success of his triumphant trip to Mexico, about how the world is mocking us, testing us, threatening us, even raping us. He brags about how he would have walked away from the G-20 conference in all his greatness and taken his ball and bat with him. They nod, dreaming about a simple world and simple solutions even they can understand. Some manage to smile,
Hillary of the eternal emails. Hillary who took us to war on false pretenses, who condemned at least a generation to paying for it with lives, with money and with a world gone mad. Hillary the crook, Hillary the war monger, Hillary the Satan worshipper, Hillary who ran up the debt more than any president, who tried to pay for the most expensive war in our history by giving tax breaks to Donald Trump. Crooked Hillary who runs fraudulent businesses and bribes officials to avoid prosecution, who has avoided paying taxes in his supreme sacrifice for America's greatness.
88 Generals -- really? After telling them he knows ISIS better than they do? Who tells them his qualification to be commander in chief was "making deals?" I'm sure they're impressed and looking forward to a truly massive war and decades of bloody occupation. I'm sure they're impressed by his suggestions of a nuclear interchange, of making deals with dangerous tyrants, with hints of giving back the Soviet territories at long last liberated. Surely all the while he was making deals all these years he was really only thinking of making America Great and formulating deals and plans and invasions to make it happen. After all this is the man who says he's sacrificed for his country as much as those who lost life and limb in Hillary Clinton's wars!
Nod along America. These are our last years. This is the failure of all our dreams, the final snub to those who truly thought we could be the light of the world and tried to make it happen.