I can't remember who said it on MSNBC this morning, but it's been bothering me all day. To paraphrase: "The entertainment value of Donald Trump's Circus is as dangerous as the policies we laugh at." Yes, I confess I delight in his gaffes and his outrageous tweets, jaw-dropping deeds and pronouncements, to the point where I look forward to my morning laugh of outrage as much as my morning coffee. I'm not alone, and of course laughing at someone feels good. It means we're smarter, better informed and rational and someone else is not. That's the cheapest form of humor, of course, akin to vaudevillian slapstick and plain old mockery.
Why is this dangerous? I think it creates a demand for more. It's a demand that nature and the Trump organization doesn't always fill. When demand exceeds supply, the market will provide. Are we the market? The Networks, the Newspapers, the late night comedians? Are we addicted to outrage?
Case in point: after Trump or his daughter or some equally unqualified person ordered a missile strike on the Syrian airbase we were unconsciously waiting for the drummer to give us the rim shot a burlesque comedian punctuates his one liners with. Trump didn't give us one so when the Pentagon and Army Gen. John "Mick" Nicholson commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan who took office under Barack Obama a year ago called in an airstrike to end a growing problem with the recrudescence of terrorist fighters in striking distance of Kabul, we jumped on it. It must have been Trump. It must have been a distraction because without it our outrage balloon deflates and we have nothing to laugh or scold or be outraged about.
Remember when Bill Clinton's cruise missile attacks on Al Qaeda were laughed away as a distraction? An outrage? Remember the accusations of Monica Missiles? We found it disgusting, stupid, irresponsible and the denials that there was anything like Al Qaeda downright dangerous. Change the names and the joke is on us.
The Big Bomb likely saved lives - American and Afghani. The attack created no collateral damage and no American casualties. In a time when terrorists are gaining ground in this 15 year old theater of operations, when Afghani forces are taking huge casualties and civilians are being killed and the pathway to victory seems invisible, why are we making a joke out of a rare success? ISIS may not affect us here at home, but in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria and elsewhere they are already apocalyptic and huge numbers of people have been killed horribly. There are now 100 fewer of them and their fortress is rubble no one will use again for a while.
Not long ago I watched a video of a soldier being slowly burned alive by ISIS. I listened to him cry like a child while trying to brush the flames out of his eyes with his burning hands. It will play over and over in my mind until I die. They are not imaginary. They are not a joke. We have no option but to destroy ISIS utterly in any way possible and anything our government does to further this preempts my desire to see Trump make an ass of himself.