Received a note a few days ago asking me if I ever wondered what happened to that obnoxious comic strip child Dennis the Menace when he grew up. Below the illustrated Dennis was a colour photo of Donald Trump arms outstretched, hands palms up, mouth wide-open.
Good for an immediate laugh in agreement — and an even more immediate question as to why I could find anything at all funny in a man whose voice has become “sounding brass and tinkling cymbal” with dark threats disguised as love of country.
On January 24 the British newspaper The Telegraph ran an opinion piece by Janet Daley urging readers “to take heart” because “the silent majority (always) trumps the mobocracy….though it is definitely dispiriting, ‘he-who-shouts-loudest’ (in) politics will always come unstuck where it matters – in the privacy of the voting booth.”
Ms Daley is clear that her judgment is based on recent political posturing in the UK. She admits that “over in the US the problem is rather different: there really are two American electorates who despise each other. Trump has unleashed the triumphal fury of the one to the despair of the other. This is a national identity crisis that is being carelessly whipped up by incoherent noise.” She concedes the US climate is dangerous that “however absurd …belligerent mouthing off may be, so long as it creates enough of a din, you will become the central fact around which everything must revolve – even if your position is politically so confused as to be unidentifiable. Noise wins, even when it makes no sense.”
But, she insists at the end of the day while the bellicose rhetoric might “succeed in steam-rolling the impressionable few…The vast numbers who think their own thought and come to their own conclusions are not daunted.”
I wish I could believe her – that the silent majority will arise in the United States and show Trump as but “a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more… a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury ,signifying nothing.”
I wish I could believe, but in my short walk on planet earth I have seen too many silent majorities fall under the spell of Pied Pipers; have seen local and provincial elections won on unfulfilled promises and unsustained fears; have been witness to entire nations of basically sensible citizens following leaders full of sound and fury to inevitable national doom.
I fear for our good friends south of the 49th – and for our world – if Donald Trump continues what is so far an unbelievable – but successful to this point – campaign for the Presidency of the United States.
The recent knowledge that North Korea President Kim Jong-un now has an H-bomb at his disposal is frightening. The thought that Donald Trump could one day control the White House red button – and has indicated that he wouldn’t hesitate to use it – is terrifying.