The Observer really tries to stay out of politics and religion and what people get up to with their money. All of it is bad for indigestion, you understand, and we know we have a lot of lunchtime readers. But this presidential candidate on the Republican side. What to do with a human being like that?
He's probably hired some clipping service to crawl the internet, finding and printing out every mention of his name, sweatshop laborers later writing each one out in beautiful script before binding the daily stack into a luxurious, puppy-skin-bound book so he can gloat over them at bedtime. So, we're not going to give him the satisfaction of using his name. Let's call him, instead, Dorito Mussolini, the orange menace.
As easy as it would be for folks on the right to dismiss what follows as yet another pants-pissing rant by a Leftie (and The Observer is surely that — back during the Wall Street-spawned Great Recession, we stopped just short of calling for folks to roll out the guillotine), there's something you should know: Long ago, but not long enough, Yours Truly used to be a Rightie — or at least a fiscal conservative and social moderate. Now it can be told. Voted against Bill. Twice. Listened to Rush Limbaugh until it became clear that his show was either some kind of very involved work of performance art or a roach motel for the stupidest people in the land. Clearly the latter, in hindsight.
I have since come around, mostly because, as a father and husband, The Observer saw the 10,000 ways people can lift each other up if we aren't always thinking, "What's in it for me?" and the 10,000 ways we can destroy each other if we are. But this man, Dorito Mussolini ... those are lessons he clearly never learned, nor cared to.
Even at The Observer's Rightiest, we believe we could have seen him for what he is: just another bully, snapping bra straps on the playground and gleefully threatening to take third-graders' lunch money. How is it that millions of our fellow Americans — honest, hardworking folks, who say grace and hold doors open for ladies and old folks; who pull over any time they see a car with the hood up and would normally fight a strutting, big-talking dickbag like Dorito as long as they could catch him — cannot see through this cheap charlatan, with his colored lights and snake oil promises? How is it that religious people, from big-wheel preachers to simple folk who hit the church door every time the lights are on, have sold their souls to this crusade, led by a thrice-married philanderer who, we'd be willing to wager, couldn't semi-accurately paraphrase any Bible passage other than "Jesus wept" if you stuck a firecracker up his butt and threatened to light it? How is it that American soldiers, sailors and airmen — past and present, living or dead, God bless them every one, regardless of their political affiliation, gender, color, sexuality or creed — can support the idea of giving command of the strongest military the world has ever seen, including enough nukes to reduce the earth to a lifeless cinder, to a man who is so intemperate he turns any gentle rebuke on Twitter into a week-long, back-and-forth shitshow; who mocks the mother and father of a soldier blown apart in a foreign land; who once brushed off the heroism of Sen. John McCain, who ejected from a burning plane with an American flag on the tail only to be tortured for five and a half years in the Hanoi Hilton for this country, with: "He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." Dorito, meanwhile, was safe at home, drawing his five deferments.
How is it possible that rational people can support this movement, this man, this rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching toward Bethlehem to be born? Fear, we guess. But The Observer has puzzled on it at length, and has yet to reach a satisfactory answer. We hope somebody will, preferably before November.
Visual art, through Nov. 4, "Nature & Nurture", works by Carol Corning and Ed Pennebaker,…