Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
Get them up against the wall!
There’s one in the spotlight, he don’t look right to me,
Get him up against the wall!
That one looks Jewish!
And that one’s a coon!
Who let all of this riff-raff into the room?
– Pink Floyd, The Wall
It is almost impossible to believe that a material segment of our population has grown so disaffected and so ignorant that they can cheer on the repugnant egomaniac that is Donald Trump. There are no two sides to this one, nothing to argue. Just go away if you think otherwise, we have no common ground.
Hate is winning. Candor is being confused for stream of conscious bigotry. Trump is a spoiled man-child with deeply psychotic tendencies. To support him is the antithesis of patriotism; it is an expression of self-victimization, nothing more.
This is not about whether Trump wins or loses his party’s nomination, or even the Presidency. It is about the reality that we live alongside an enormous segment of the population that finds him credible and inspiring. That takes our common ground to zero. Trump may lose, but his supporters have shown us who they are and what they believe. How do we reconnect as a nation with values that shattered?
It’s not really Trump himself that’s keeping me up nights. It’s all the public venom he is unleashing. He’s making it vogue to gather in the name of Us and Them. He has proven that our education system has utterly failed in establishing even a basic shared vocabulary and understanding of ethical purpose. He causes people to believe that “saying whatever’s on your mind” is the same as “telling it like it is.”
Expressing a foul thought unedited and unsupported, loudly and repeatedly, bears little resemblance to making it true. It is bad theater—a poor stage performance without discipline—not intelligent and useful discourse.
A hundred years of socially progressive advancement is going out the window in favor of simplistic notions of aggrandized superiority. The genie doesn’t go back in the bottle after November. Trump’s followers feel validated in their disaffection. There is nothing good that can come of that, and it will neither make their lives better, nor make America great again. It keeps us on a path to dangerous democratic decision-making regardless of the election results.
That’s what’s freaking me out. I’m sitting next to these people on planes and trains, and standing in the checkout aisle next to them at the grocery store. I don’t sense that I am part of their vision of American greatness, so perhaps I go on the hit list, too.
And you. And you. And you.
This article originally appeared on The Good Men Project.
Image: Gerald Scarfe, Pink Floyd The Wall.