It was the strangest, ugliest week in the most grotesque presidential campaign in modern times. It reeked of the decadence of Caligula’s Rome; sex, lies, debauchery and deception, minus the videotapes and the bloody intrigue. In one week, our political culture became a foul brew of vulgar debates, sexual harassment, predatory conquests and braggadocio, victims of reality television, unbridled social media, the he said/she said ad hominem, and scorched earth tactics leaving behind scorched souls. Everywhere one looked, one confronted the unbearable stench of rottenness. Yes, something is rotten in the state of the United States of America. It was offensive watching Donald Trump during his second debate with Hillary Clinton, shamelessly mouthing an unconvincing apology for his sexually predatory behavior captured on a videotape where he celebrated his offensive hands invading the sanctity of innocent women, objectifying them and violating them. No sooner than he finished his short pro-forma non-apology, apology Trump, the pretend commander-in-chief, vowed to fight and crush ISIS. It was a breathless and unique rejoinder, where only Trump could ram sex, lies, videotapes and ISIS in one sentence. The debate was tawdry and dirty, with one slimy proud sexual predator on the stage, accusing a former president, the spouse of his rival of belonging to a higher class of sexual predators. The debate encapsulated America’s current dark predicament; the utter failure of the ruling political and economic classes in charge of the two party system to come up with better candidates than the dangerous Trump, and the deeply flawed Clinton, the two most unpopular candidates in recent decades. Yes, the times they are a-changing in America, but not like Bob Dylan had prophesized.
It is conceivable, given Trump’s warnings, that if Hillary Clinton wins a very close race, violent protests could occurHisham Melhem