The entire purpose of this blog, as the subtitle above says, is to discuss what it is really like to get old. If, in the dozen or so years of the existence of Time Goes By, I have written about something else I don't recall.
In keeping with that, today's post was supposed to be about the coming probability of robot caregivers for elders. Then something happened.
On Monday evening, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a total ban of all Muslims from entering the United States.
Setting aside the unconstitutionality of such an act, do I need to spell out the last time a government carried out persecution against members of a particular religion? And how that turned out?
You undoubtedly know this already but here are the bare bones of Trump's ban-all-Muslims speech Monday in South Carolina. Note the response from the crowd of his supporters:
When I saw that video Monday evening, my mind raced as I tried to make sense of an American – any American, even Donald Trump – saying this and what the many ramifications might be. Not the implementation of it; that's too farfetched (or is it?). But the blow to Americans' belief system, values and the republic itself.
We - our country, I thought - have reached a turning point, a moment in time that will be looked back upon as the exact point when something terrible happened to the collective soul of the United States.
I expected at least a sharp intake of breath from the reporters as I clicked around the dial. But it wasn't until two or three huors later that the smart and much-honored chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, Richard Engel - who knows a thing or two about how the United States is perceived around the world - stopped by The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC to explain the enormity of what had just happened.
Here is a video. (Apologies for the extraordinarily lengthy lead-in commercial - blame MSNBC.)
With the exception of the founder of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, conservative Red State blogger, Erick Erickson who praised Trump's call for a ban as politically brilliant and Senator Ted Cruz's shamefully weak response, public people of all political stripes the world over spent Tuesday condemning Trump.
The Philadelphia Daily News front page was the first I could find to be explicit about what Trump's ban really is:
Trump himself, as repellent as he is in so many ways, isn't the problem (or so I am still telling myself). What has come to alarm me are the results of such surveys as the one published yesterday by Public Policy Polling (PPP) and taken before Trump's call to shut down entry of Muslims into the U.S.
Among Trump's North Carolina supporters:
• 67% of his voters support a national database of Muslims in the United States, to only 14% opposed to it.
• 62% believe his claims that thousands of Arabs cheered in New Jersey when the World Trade Center collapsed, to only 15% who don't believe that.
• 51% want to see the Mosques in the country shut down, to only 16% against that.
• And only 24% of Trump supporters in the state even think Islam should be legal at all in the United States, to 44% who think it shouldn't be.
(There are more responses on other questions about the 2016 presidential contest, conducted from December 5 through 7, at the PPP website.)
The PPP is not an isolated poll; it only confirms many others with similar numbers. And the more hateful Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric becomes, the more his support grows, the stronger it becomes.
Since last summer when Trump joined the presidential campaign, “they” - all of the “expert” theys – have been repeating that his popularity will fade, that he is a sideshow, that he will never gain the Republican nomination.
Is anyone still certain of that?
This isn't funny anymore. What no one in the media will say is that Trump is unAmerican, that he apparently does not understand or believe in the basic tenets on which the United States was founded, and that he is a bigot whipping up hate and hysteria among the yahoos. This cannot end well.