Here's an example of how far we have fallen into barbarism. Only eight years ago, John McCain was running for president. He was struggling and falling behind in the polls one afternoon in October when he was campaigning among voters in Minnesota, and a batty old lady took the microphone.
"I don't trust Obama. I've read about him, and he's not, uh, he's an Arab," 75-year-old Gayle Quinnell blurted out.
McCain immediately took the mic back and admonished her. "No ma'am, he's not. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with, and that's what this campaign is all about," he said. The crowd applauded then.
But at the same event, a man stood up and said his wife was expecting their first child, and he was afraid to have the baby live in a world where Barack Obama was president.
The senator from Arizona said that he wanted to be president and added "obviously I do not want Senator Obama to be, but I have to tell you — I have to tell you — he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States."
But providing an embryo glimpse of the world to come, the crowd then booed loudly. John McCain was, and is, no saint. He spent much of the campaign saying or implying that Obama had been unduly influenced by Bill Ayers, the long-ago Weather Underground terrorist and bomber.
That wasn't true; the two men only knew each other slightly, and Ayers in fact later said Obama should be prosecuted for war crimes because of his drone attacks.
McCain, however, knew that decency and humanity were required of a president of the United States. On election night, when he lost, he came on television and told the nation:
"A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Sen. Barack Obama — to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love ... I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together ... "
That's what you are supposed to do in that situation, even though McCain, like his fellow Republicans, did absolutely nothing to find common ground with the president.
This year, however, one of our major parties has nominated the worst and most reckless and irresponsible creature ever to be a serious candidate for president.
Donald Trump has stirred up the worst elements in this society. Over and over, he has told them that the election is rigged, that if he loses it will only be because it was stolen.
This has fired up the "deplorables" to an alarming degree. Covering a Trump rally in Cincinnati, a Boston Globe reporter found a 50-year-old contractor named Dan Bowman, who openly said: "If she's in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That's how I feel about it."
He added, "We're going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that's what it takes. There's going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that's what it's going to take ... "
Trump has done nothing to calm this down; on the contrary, he seems hell-bent on stirring them up. Watching him speak is both a fascinating and appalling exercise.
The bottle blonde beast, who has always acted like a textbook illustration of narcissistic personality disorder, seemed to have become positively unhinged after the Access Hollywood tape caused many previous sycophants to desert him in droves.
Mostly, he seemed to have stopped trying to persuade people, and instead was using audiences primarily as a form of emotional masturbation, to pump himself up.
It soon seemed obvious that at some level, possibly subconscious, he knew he had lost the election.
We don't have a lot of film of Hitler in April 1945, just before the Russians conquered Berlin, but there certainly seem to be eerie parallels. Hitler, who insisted that none of the disaster was his fault, ordered his lieutenants to flood the subways and scorch the earth, since — having let him down — the German people naturally no longer deserved to survive.
Trump seems to have the same attitude toward the Republican Party, if not the nation itself. "The election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing completely false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect her president," he says.
"Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail," he adds, over and over. "Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election."
Ominously, he's also been saying things like "hopefully, hopefully our patriotic movement will overcome this terrible deception." That's right up there with his hoping "the Second Amendment people" would take care of Hillary, if she wins.
Incidentally, his claim that Clinton, who has never even been charged with a crime, belongs in jail, was a clear sign the Donald has passed over completely into fascism.
What he wants is a fascist state run by a party with only one member: himself. Forget the Constitution; he has repeatedly said he would appoint a special prosecutor with instructions to put his opponent in jail, period.
Trump is, beyond much doubt, going to lose. For the first time since 1860, however, we will then have to wait to see if those who supported the demagogue turn to violence.
Interestingly, Trump's much-dissed running mate, Mike Pence, immediately sought to reassure voters that he and Trump "would absolutely accept the results of the election."
Pence may not be the sharpest plastic knife in the storehouse, but he has to know he is about as able to speak for Trump as he is able to speak for the solar wind.
What this was, of course, was a clear sign Pence was staking out his claim to be considered for a leading role in claiming the wreckage after the election. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, probably the likeliest choice for the next GOP nominee, was doing much the same. "The speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity," his spokesman said.
The best thing that could happen for America — and the Republican Party — would be for Trump to be wiped out in the popular and electoral vote 13 days from now.
Sadly, that's not likely to happen. Even after what Time magazine called his "meltdown," Trump still looked likely to win 20 states and 180 of the 538 electoral votes.
Millions of women, many of them mothers of daughters, are still voting for the man who bragged that as a star, he could "grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."
Millions of people who call themselves born-again Christians say they will vote for the man who quotes nonexistent books of the Bible (Two Corinthians) and is on record as having said "I admit it. I did try to fuck her. She was married. I moved on her like a bitch." However, he has to admit:
"I moved on her and I failed. I admit it."
Whoa! Now there is big news!
Donald Trump, for the first time that anyone knows about, has admitted failure, even if he did qualify it by saying he didn't now care because "she's now got the big phony tits."
Who says the Donald isn't capable of personal growth?