I don’t hear from my Australian friends too often – generally an email at Christmas with family news, or maybe when something big happens in the world of sports. This election season is different, though, and I’ve received a couple of distraught messages like this one from a friend in Melbourne after the first debate (I’m “Mad Dog”, his view of my approach to downhill skiing ):
I turned on the last 20 minutes of the debate today. I cant believe what is happening over there. I wonder if Americans understand how this is being perceived in other countries? It is regular front page news here and the general tone is one of incredulity. How could America have finished up with this masquerading as a political system? Could anyone possibly vote for Donald Trump? Really? Has he any possibility of winning? The election, along with the gun debate and police shootings of black youth have really made America the laughing stock of the world, with the general view that this is a once great empire in serious decline.
I think it is really sad as I have great respect for America and the friends I have there. I also think there may be a silver lining at the end of this. Surely Trump is going to get smashed, drag the senate down with him and possibly the house. That way making the passage of sensible legislation that much easier and at the same time forcing the Republican party to ask themselves serious questions and stop this sort of thing ever happening again.
I did see Alec Baldwin on Saturday night live and enjoyed it! Also Robert DiNiro.
I told him I blamed the media for giving Trump a platform over the years, and the decline of what passes for journalism. I said, for me, the silver lining was actually the loss of “empire”, that I was sick of the toxic strain of worldwide liberalism that blames the U.S. (and Israel) every time a light bulb burns out somewhere in the world. Let some European country (or Australia!) step up and be the world’s policeman and scapegoat.
The real problems will begin after November 8th. Trump isn’t going away. Win or lose, fifty million people will have voted for him, and the opportunity to monetize that (and, of course, the diseased hypertrophic ego) will not be denied. One way or another his media presence will expand and the excesses will increase.