Boy, was I naive. In fact, back in 1980, when Reagan was running against Carter, I was downright stupid. Sure, Carter was having a rough time as president, what with an embarrassing brother, an embattled budget director, and a couple of pesky little crises involving oil shortages and hostages in Iran. But no way, I thought—no way would this country elect as its president a relatively shallow, sloganeering, mediocre-actor-turned-politician whose film credits included such memorable cinematic classics as Cattle Queen of Montana, She’s Working Her Way Through College, and, of course, Bedtime for Bonzo.
No way, I thought back then, would we ever be foolish enough to elect Ronald Reagan as president. Sheesh, was I ever wrong!
Fast forward two-and-a-half decades—to 2004—and guess what? The years had not appreciably enhanced my smarts. George W. Bush, the alarmingly nescient gunslinger-wannabe; the man who for four years had occupied the Oval Office not via an election, but on the order of a split Supreme Court; the linguistically-challenged leader of the free world whose presidential utterances included such inspiring nuggets as, “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family,” and “The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country;” the embarrassing commander-in-chief who used our armed forces to embark on perhaps the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in American history—this demonstrably low-achiever was running for re-election against a literate, well-spoken Vietnam veteran who’d been awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts, and who’d followed that up with a life in public service, including nearly two decades in the U.S. Senate.
Surely, I thought back then, no way would we be foolish enough to choose four more years of the guy who once said, “Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.” Wow, was I ever wrong—again!
This time, though, it’s different. I’m twelve years older than I was in 2004. I’m thirty-six years older than I was in 1980. Hell, a few more blinks and I’ll be 60! If you live for more than half a century, your naiveté should inevitably succumb to the lessons of experience—your stupidity should give way to at least a sprinkling, perhaps a smidgen, of wisdom. And so, armed with the experience and the wisdom wrought by nearly six decades in the study of life’s lessons, I feel fairly confident that this time, finally, I’ve got it right when I say that under no circumstance—no way, no how, no chance—will the American people be foolish enough to send to the White House someone as vulgar, as hateful, as ignorant, and as deeply, deeply disturbed as Donald J. Trump.
And this time, I’m not being naive, and I’m not being stupid.
Right? Right?! Right!?!?