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The biggest problem with the Trumpmeister?

Last night, when I heard the news about John McCain, I had just come from his official Facebook page (!) where turkeys from both ends of the political spectrum were talking trash about the man.

That, in itself, is something a guy should put on his resume. If extremists on both sides dislike you, you must be doing something right.

I did so in the full expectation that those same extremists would be even more ugly and more disgusting now that the news of the seriousness of the senator's condition has become public. I wish I had been surprised, but I we don't always get what we wish for. Just like the Democrats who cheered when they heard of Ronald Reagan's death and the Republicans who have been lying about Barack Obama's birthplace, religion, and economic philosophy ever since he became nationally known, people on Facebook and elsewhere who either dislike McCain for his moderation or for the political party he belongs to have been displaying their own ignorance, stupidity, and mean-spiritedness all day.

I have been quite vocal about my dislike of our current president. I have tried to give him credit for his smart moves, like the nomination of Justice Gorsuch and his reviving of the nation's plans to go to Mars. Occasionally (very rarely, actually), I have lapsed into hyperbole in criticizing him; the man's history and character are so bad that people are reluctant to believe the simple truth, and while it's no excuse, I've sometimes caught the prevalent disease of the age and started screaming and scolding instead of merely analyzing and criticizing. But generally, I believe that my criticisms of the man have been easily documented and literally true. He is ignorant. He is a boor. He is a demagogue. He is, at heart, a bully. He is dangerously impulsive. He has no filters. He is immature.

But none of those things is his worst feature. That would be the mean-spiritedness, schoolboy cruelty, and pettiness. He is the poster-child for the people on both sides of the spectrum who are talking trash about Sen. McCain today. In fact, he's their enabler. Remember his cracks about Carly Fiorina's face? About "little Marco?" If you had told me a couple of years ago that any presidential candidacy could survive blatantly mocking a man's physical handicap, I would not have believed you. Seldom either in the Republican debates or since that time has Mr. Trump missed the opportunity to substitute mean-spirited personal attacks for substantive debate about policy. When Sen. Rubio allowed himself to fall into the trap and respond in kind, at least he had the decency to express remorse about it later on. Not so Mr. Trump.

Long-time readers of this blog know that I have feared for the future of my country and of Western society in general for many years. At a time when information has become more available at any other time in history, we have become a society of ignoramuses. We have not merely become amoral and irreligious, but biblically illiterate. And historically illiterate. And politically illiterate. There can be no greater testimony to that latter fact than the identity of the man we elected president a year ago. That someone with Donald Trump's history could have been elected president is pretty close to the most damning indictment of contemporary America I can think of. And that ignorance remains even six months into his presidency. His supporters remain determined to revel in their ignorance, to luxuriate in it, to wear it like armor. They defend the indefensible on a daily basis. They not only admit but defend the inadmissible as easily as the president himself libels and slanders anyone who disagrees with him.

That Mr. Trump's Twitter account continues to be a vehicle for sixth-grade taunting- often personal- of anyone and everyone his impulses move him to abuse says volumes in itself.

No, Ted Cruz's dad did not conspire with Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate President Kennedy.

Mr. Trump's defense of that bizarre and absurd claim is even more damning than the fact that he made it in the first place. Nor was the man's claim that President Obama was born in Kenya- an absurd claim he defended literally for years before finally admitting less than two months before last year's election that he'd been wrong.

His stupid, crude remarks about Megyn Kelly and now Mika Brzezinski are well-known. In fact, there's an entire website which catalogs his childish schoolboy taunts on Twitter- generally personal and in no way relevant- aimed at anyone of any stature who criticizes him in any way.

Despite the rather lame attempts of his supporters to dismiss the fact, Mr. Trump felt free during the campaign to mock the disability of a reporter whose reporting he didn't like.

When Islamic terrorists bombed London Bridge, here is what London's Muslin mayor, Sadiq Khan had to say:

The Metropolitan Police are responding to the horrific terrorist attack at London Bridge and Borough Market.

My thoughts are with everyone affected, and I'd like to thank the brave men and women of our emergency services who were first on the scene and will be working throughout the night.

I am in close contact with the Met Commissioner and senior officers and am being kept updated on all developments. I will be attending the government's emergency Cobra meeting later this morning.

London Bridge Station is closed and we are asking people to avoid the area.

The situation is still unfolding and I would ask all Londoners and visitors to our city to remain calm and vigilant. Please report anything suspicious to the police, but only call 999 in an emergency.

We don't yet know the full details, but this was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts

Mayor Khan later said this on Sky News that there was "no reason to be alarmed" by the increased police presence on the streets of London in the aftermath of the bombings. The President responded by taking the mayor's Sky News statement out of context as if he had said that the bombings themselves were no reason to be alarmed! Worse, instead of apologizing for his impulsive mistake when it was pointed out to him, Mr. Trump doubled down on it!

His Muslim-bashing and his demagoguing of the issues of illegal immigration are well-known.  So, tragically at the moment, are his remarks denigrating Sen. McCain in the past.

To his credit, Mr. Trump has reversed himself in the wake of the announcement about Sen. McCain's brain tumor and admitted that McCain is, in fact, a hero.  In fact, Mr. Trump's  response to the news has been exemplary. If only his supporters more generally joined him in that gracious response!

Let me be very clear about this: I am not claiming that Donald Trump is responsible for the incivility that has divided America more deeply than it has been at any time since the Civil War, or for the polarization of Americans around the extremes. He is a product of those things, not their cause. They are the reason why he is President today.

Donald Trump has helped to make the kind of crude, inhumane, and tasteless trash the nut jobs on the Right and the Left alike are talking about John McCain's brain tumor acceptable in our society. He should be ashamed of that. So, naturally, should the people who are talking it.

And so should this nation, for electing the man not in spite of the ugliness of his character and rhetoric, but largely because of it.  Mr. Trump is not responsible for the incivility and crudity and polarization of our nation. But he is its personification. And that, finally, is what I find utterly unacceptable about the man, and utterly repugnant.


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