Remember if you will, if you haven’t completely blocked it out, a middle school classroom. A jail cell full of kids who are just old enough to think they know everything, but not nearly old enough to know much of anything at all, least of all how to be decent human beings. Remember that one super obnoxious kid? The one no one liked, teachers not so subtly included, because, well, he just wasn’t at all likable. Loud, rude, mean- in substance not much difference from a lot of the coolest kids, really, but his appearance or some other intangible something about him prevented him from pulling off cool and winning anyone over. Remember when that obnoxious unlikeable would screw up, get an answer wrong or mispronounce something during the hell that was reading aloud time? Everyone would lose their minds and jump all over this kid for his mistake and it would be a constant, vicious joke for the rest of the week at least. That kid made fun of everyone else all the time, so it was difficult to feel too sorry for him, but your gut still had that twinge of guilt, that there was something ugly happening. There was an animosity toward this kid, sometimes even silently cheered on by the teacher, that was unjustified and unsettling, terrible as this kid was in just about every way.
Now there’s obviously a yuge difference between that obnoxious kid- who is arguably the victim of a bad home life, poor role models, etc., etc.- and an obnoxious adult. But I’m not really going for a direct analogy here. The thing that I want to highlight has nothing to do with the object of humiliation and ridicule, but with the humiliators and that malicious spirit that seems to underly the apparent justice. Grant that the one ridiculed is wholly undeserving of mercy and pity; can justice really include malice? Or does that hate taint the whole thing?
Childhood and adolescence are times of extremes, and growing up is supposed to be a time of tempering those extremes into a good grip on reality balanced with a sober self-awareness. For some reason in this country, we’ve decided to skip that process and stick with the extremes. We see a guy we don’t like and demand his head. We see someone we disagree with and cry “Nazi!” We get hysterical like a room full of 13-year-old lunatics administering cruel middle school justice. Republican government will crumble in that environment [*cough* Lord of the Flies*cough* duh]
I’m not saying that everyone should be nice and leave. Trump. alone! Not at all. As a leader, he ought to be constructively criticized and watched closely. The frustrating thing is that America, in general, did not do that for last eight years, and there was plenty of cause for concern. This isn’t just a matter of fairness, which I don’t really care about, but of proper context. If Obama had been publicly and constantly scrutinized, from the biggest scandals to the tiniest typos, (all of which were all but ignored, especially compared to current coverage of this president) maybe Trump wouldn’t be so scary, and we could discuss his policies and issues without throwing a 7-month-long tantrum.
Again, as adult citizens of a free republic, we really need to grow up. Teenagers see the world as full of fascists out to get them; they see themselves the innocent heroes of their tragic life, leading a radical revolution against oppression. The fact that half the country has adopted this infantile fantasy as their serious political viewpoint is the real threat to democracy. The malicious, sneering mockery of an elected president and his supporters on the part of the popular mob should really scare mature adults.