Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Finitude Strikes Again

So about eighteen months ago I blogged about Indiana and its governor, Mike Pence.  In 2010 then U.S. Congressman Pence had been the only Republican, House or Senate, to attend the Faith & Politics Institute's annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama.  I mentioned all this because, at the time, Pence was cast as one-dimensional, cardboard reactionary.  I haven't lived in Indiana since 1991, so I am neither a supporter nor critic of Pence.  I simply thought the then-descriptions of him were woefully incomplete.

Well, since then, obviously, Pence has become Donald Trump's vice-presidential candidate and therein lies the problem.

We are all human.

Trump's campaign went off the rails again this weekend over a 2005 recording wherein Trump used vulgar language (along the same lines as Leo Durocher, quite frankly) to describe aggressive sexual encounters with women.  This time, though, it seems like damage has been done.  Republican leaders have unendorsed Trump as the candidate doubles-down on his bombastic rhetoric.

This sets the stage for George Will's latest column.  Will:
Again, the tape revealed nothing about this arrested-development adolescent that today's righteously recoiling Republicans either did not already know or had no excuse for not knowing. Before the tape reminded the pathologically forgetful of Trump's feral appetites and deranged sense of entitlement, the staid Economist magazine, holding the subject of Trump at arm's-length like a soiled sock, reminded readers of this: "When Mr. Trump divorced the first of his three wives, Ivana, he let the New York tabloids know that one reason for the separation was that her breast implants felt all wrong."
His sexual loutishness is a sufficient reason for defeating him, but it is far down a long list of sufficient reasons. But if it — rather than, say, his enthusiasm for torture even "if it doesn't work," or his ignorance of the nuclear triad — is required to prompt some Republicans to have second thoughts about him, so be it.
You can just tell that even writing about Trump causes Will anaphylactic shock.  He persists, though, long enough to state:

Trump is a marvelously efficient acid bath, stripping away his supporters' surfaces, exposing their skeletal essences. Consider Mike Pence, a favorite of what Republicans devoutly praise as America's "faith community." Some of its representatives, their crucifixes glittering in the television lights, are still earnestly explaining the urgency of giving to Trump, who agreed that his daughter is "a piece of ass," the task of improving America's coarsened culture.
Because Pence looks relatively presidential when standing next to Trump — talk about defining adequacy down — some Republicans want Trump to slink away, allowing Pence to float to the top of the ticket and represent Republicanism resurrected. This idea ignores a pertinent point: Pence is standing next to Trump.

And that really is the problem:  Pence, who is supposed to be one of the leading Christian conservatives in the GOP, still stands by Trump.  Even if bothered personally by Trump's established penchant for vulgarity and mindless aggression, Pence does not do what all sorts of Christians advise when confronted with such obvious loutishness.

Separation.  He has not left.  And will not.

Thus Will:

...by persevering through Nov. 8 he can simplify the GOP's quadrennial exercise of writing its post-campaign autopsy, which this year can be published November 9 in one sentence: "Perhaps it is imprudent to nominate a venomous charlatan." ... Trump is the GOP's chemotherapy, a nauseating but, if carried through to completion, perhaps a curative experience.

This is the spiritually diabetic condition, about to be carried through to its conclusion:  the thirst for power and respectability among the nation's power-elite has driven a respectable public figure to join fatefully a lesser, but far more combustible, figure whose path will lead to destruction. The very thing so desired has become the implement of one's own marginalization. 

Read all of Will's column here.

No comments:

Post a Comment