Suddenly, I really wish I could complain about how long the primary season is just one more time.
With Donald Trump as the Republican nominee and Bernie holding fast like the old-school Socialist line-holder that he is despite more and more Hillary-mania sweeping the country, a bleak picture is forming for a general election for which the Washington Post was able to present at least three different scenarios in which Trump beats the vitriol-inspiring Clinton.
Clinton mounts her first offensives as more and more people are being hypnotized by the Tang-powder skin tone and genuine red panda hair plugs of The Donald into believing that this career politician with a proven record of passable work in the Senate and cabinet is less qualified to be president than a reality TV host and professional blowhard.
This man, with his marginalization of everything that isn’t rich, white and ruthless and his legions of hooliganistic supporters—in many cases not even lacking in May the jackboots that will no doubt be paired with black Donald J. Trump™ shirts and 1940s era Hugo Boss coats before November—could very well be our next president.
But that’s not the scariest thing that happened this week.
In the Philippines, a man named Rodrigo Duterte was elected president on an extreme right wing ticket after an election in which he said the solution to “drug peddlers” in his country was funeral parlors, not prisons or treatment centers. This isn’t an idle threat: Duterte has been accused for years of commanding death squads in the town of Davao, where his tactics to regain “law and order” as mayor earned him the nickname “The Punisher.”
As John Oliver recently pointed out on Last Week Tonight, Duterte’s comment on the 1989 gang rape of an Australian missionary in Davao—yes, he has been mayor for the past 27 years—was along the lines of “It was horrible: The mayor should have been allowed to go first.” The Philippines, a country with which the U.S. has a long history of fucking around (but that’s another article) has seen fit to elect an actual monster to its highest post. They have deemed that his will be the face other world leaders will see at summits and his voice the one they’ll hear over the secure line. They’ve heard the words of a false prophet and walked away glassy-eyed and forgetful of centuries of crime after crime against humanity.
Any other year, it would be easy to sit back and click our collective tongues at the rebirth of such abjectly violent and small-minded politics in a faraway country thought of by most as firmly rooted in the “third world.” In 2016, it’s not easy.
Is there really any difference between someone who says he’ll build funeral parlors for drug dealers and someone who says we have to “go after [terrorists’] families” or that waterboarding isn’t strong enough for incarcerated individuals with sensitive information? Does anyone recognize the steepness of the slope or the pile of banana peels at the top? Can nobody see where this leads?