Reminder: America Not As Insane, Doomed As We May Seem
This is important to say, and even more important to feel and believe, right now. It also happens to be true.
It's easy to observe the GOP Convention, with its parade of speakers basking in rapturous cheers when they call for the presumptive Democratic nominee in the race for president to be imprisoned and feel that the whole political system has gone off the rails. (Not put on trial, mind you: imprisoned. And it was not just one speaker who called for this, either! Moving on now before I undermine my thesis any further.)
You are emphatically not alone if you feel queasy at the barely disguised lust for violence and retribution for imagined, politically expedient wrongs that suffused so much of last night's spectacle.
But at the risk of sounding like a certain Barack Hussein Obama, that isn't America. It's not America in the same way that your pervy, drunk, violent shithead relative isn't your whole family.
How do I know that? Because that's what America is telling anyone who cares to listen. Check out, for example, the rolling average of President Obama's job approval rating at RealClearPolitics. He's currently at more or less 50% approval, and +3. He's been there since March. This is the rational man with the calm demeanor who just wants us to get along and play nice. More people in this country like and admire him than don't.
Meanwhile, according to Gallup, "Trump's Image Over Last Year [has been] Stable -- and Negative". Sixty-one percent of Americans don't care for Donald Trump, and let's just say it, never will. If that's not clear evidence of sanity, what is?
Hillary Clinton too has her issues in this department, some warranted, some because she's portrayed as a ball-busting harpy criminal (which I love about her, personally). And that's fine. Americans who don't like Hillary can claim some legitimate reasons, which is also evidence of sanity. It's good to think critically!
I completely understand feeling nervous about the current state of politics and society in general in the United States. I share some of that sentiment myself. But specifically on the politics side, the main reason the GOP's posture and rhetoric seems so scary is mostly due, I think, to the fact that their schtick hasn't yet come into contact with reality. Their whole circus is still in its bubble, and it's only designed to play inside the bubble.
Romney's campaign famously veered to the right during the primary to fend of the gadfly candidates who could say whatever they wanted, since they didn't expect to run in the general. Romney lost, pretty badly, in that same general. The conventional (and correct) wisdom is that he lost because Obama and the Democrats never let anyone forget what he had to say during the GOP primaries. Do we really think that Donald Trump is going to succeed where Romney failed, by having all of Romney's negative qualities to the tenth power, and none of his good qualities, whatever those were?
That means Donald Trump won the Republican nomination by pulling in roughly 6% of eligible voters. Six percent. So we can all stop pretending that this says anything about America as a whole, other than that you can fill a room with 100 random people and six will be mean and ignorant enough to actively choose Donald Trump in an election.
In other words, chill. We're not quite completely fucked yet.