This election doesn't feel normal to me.
Of course, no presidential election is ever normal. Each one is different, forged by rogue characters, changing times, and curious dynamics of social psychology. Each election is mutation from the ones that went before. And yet...while no election is ever really normal, this one portends to be brazenly abnormal.
Every election has its lies, its meanness, and its law-breaking. And many elections have even had violence. (Teddy Roosevelt was shot in 1912...and survived. Robert Kennedy was shot in 1968 and died.) But some elections occur when the country is unusually divided. And this is one of those years: reminding us of 1860 and 1968.
Love him or hate him, this election features Donald Trump. And Donald Trump has tapped into a movement that has been growing since the mid-1960s. I'll have more to say about that as the weeks roll by. But if there is ever a movie made of this election, there will be only one leading actor, whether he wins or loses. After Donald Trump, everyone else is merely a "supporting actor." We've had some elections like that before: 1788, 1828, 1904, 1936, and 1964.
George Washington was considered one of our greatest presidents: mostly because he established a growing body of customs, standards, rules, conventions, and expectations. And all the presidents who followed him built their own presidencies on the solid rock of Washington's precedents. Donald Trump, however, has taken great pride in breaking all those customs, standards, rules, conventions, and expectations. Does this make him the greatest president of all, as he himself claims?
No other president has ever had a mental disorder named after him. Trump Derangement is the term used by both followers and enemies of Mr. Trump. It refers to his ability to send his opponents into a rabid frenzy. All presidents have had energetic enemies. But none have ever driven their critics so daffy. Just watch the anchors on CNN try to talk about any news story that features Donald Trump. (I generally like those guys...but even I have to admit that they're losing it over the past four years!)
Whatever else this election is, it is all about Donald Trump. That's the way he likes things. In an August 2020 poll by NBC/Wall Street Journal, 58% of the people who plan to vote for Joe Biden say they are primarily voting AGAINST Donald Trump. Only 36% are voting for Biden primarily because they like the Delaware Democrat. On the other hand, among people who plan to vote for Donald Trump, only 20% are doing so primarily to oppose Joe Biden. A whooping 74% of the people who plan to vote "Trump" are crazy about him. Add it all up: about two-thirds of the country is crazy about Trump...deranged one way or another.
I'm trying to avoid getting deranged. That is the purpose of this diary: to write my way toward sanity; to think rationally about this election; to sort through the issues at play this year; and to ponder what all the anger is about.
I do have a preference. Full disclosure: I'm planning on voting for Joe Biden. Please don't hate me for it. But merely voting my preference won't be enough. Many people I love dearly will be voting for Donald Trump. And when this is over, we will have to figure out a way to live together in this country...and on this planet. This election is my time to listen and learn and prepare to do something responsible when it is all over, whichever way it goes.
I'll share more in coming days my efforts to get accurate information about what is happening (as opposed to propaganda and disinformation.) I'll also be sharing some things I've learned over the years about dealing with "excitable" people, and how I try to filter out emotions from germane facts.
That's all for today. I've been busy at work at the church in Salem all day and haven't even read or heard the news since morning. I'll be caught up tomorrow...and ready with some comments for you then.