We Are (or used to be) the World

Imagine you live in a place where the midday temperatures regularly reach 100º Fahrenheit, where bombings and air attacks are everyday occurrences, where fighting in the streets has reduced the city to rubble, and you have no water.

You have no water—that bears repeating.

Maybe you can find shade from the heat, even a shelter from the constant attacks, but how do you survive without water?

Such is the state of affairs in Aleppo, the Syrian city where two million people endure these conditions and the city itself is about to die. Meanwhile, here in America we’re growing accustomed to the “new normal.”

There’s a connection. Over the weekend when Donald Trump endorsed Ryan and McCain, his followers cheered—here was a presidential candidate acting like a candidate! Except he wasn’t—he was reading from a teleprompter (remember when speakers used “idiot cards?” Can we resurrect that term?) Trump was merely mouthing words somebody had written to make him sound normal.

He’s not normal. No sociopath is normal. He does not know when he’s lying and therefore bristles at the accusation. But he is a liar. He lied when he endorsed those Republicans and he lied when he said he liked them. And yet he received accolades for his “decision” to fall into line. We cannot possibly set the bar any lower without having it lie on the dirt.

Unless and until we agree that the new normal is just another term for making crude and vulgar behavior acceptable, we can’t possibly turn our attention to things that really matter—like the fact that Syrian children will be dying by the thousands—if not from thirst then from the toxins in the brackish water they will be forced to consume. Before the new normal Americans would have been outraged by such a holocaust—remember “We Are the World”? How come we aren’t the world anymore? How did our world become so small? Is it that fence that Trump wants to build? Do we think it’s already there?

Of course we can’t ignore Trump—we do so at our own peril, but let’s at least put him where he belongs—somewhere on page seven between the Kardashians’ latest research in the field of genetic mapping and the bride in Pennsylvania who was walked down the aisle by the man who received her murdered father’s heart in a transplant ten years before. Okay—maybe I made up the first one, but I read the second one on page seven.

So when yet another asinine Trumpism leads the news tonight, just remember that in parts of the world he doesn’t even know knows exist, human tragedies of biblical proportions play out daily. Imagine it’s your child parched and starving and doomed to die—still care what Trump says or does?

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