Charles E. Richardson

See what happens when you talk about someone’s momma

wmarshall@macon.com

You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Sooner or later, the Republican nominee for the highest office on Earth was going to step off the cliff. When he did, out of self preservation, Republicans started scurrying away like pine straw roaches. I thought, “What made them abandon him now?”

Wasn’t it enough that he called for a ban of all Muslims? Didn’t his “We’re going to build a wall” and “Mexicans are rapists and murderers,” tell them something was adrift? When he heckled the disabled journalist, what did that say about his demeanor to be president? Or when speaking of a certified war hero, their colleague, Sen. John McCain, the future nominee said, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” This coming from a man who never served a day in the military and was granted five deferments. Or when he told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview, referring to Carly Fiorina, who was a presidential candidate, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things. But really folks; c’mon. Are we serious?”

He got into a size matters back-and-forth with Sen. Marco Rubio and said Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. He demeaned a Gold Star family following the Democratic convention and got into a spat over a former Miss Universe — and still, all these Republicans turned a blind eye and ear and fell in lockstep with a man who repeatedly displayed no character.

That leads me back to the question: Why now? Why did his lewd and vulgar comments to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush finally tilt the pinball machine?

Here’s my theory. He talked about attacking somebody’s momma. He talked about attacking somebody’s little girl, somebody’s wife, somebody’s sister.

And at the age of 59, he was a little old for that kind of locker room talk. He was just into wife No. 3. But here’s the rest of my theory.

During a political season, Americans have come to expect barbs to fly between candidates. So when the eventual nominee mixed it up during those insufferable primary debates, everyone was fair game, but he never did, but for a brief moment, pivot, for the general election. But there is something else the Republican nominee tapped into.

The base of the Republican Party could care less about offending Muslims, Mexicans, the disabled or African-Americans. The eventual nominee was saying out loud what they’ve been thinking since 1865. “Make America Great Again” is more than just a campaign slogan — it is the death rattle of a dying demographic that’s clinging for life in an ever-changing diverse world where the old rules of the game have vanished. They didn’t see it coming until Barack Obama took the oath of office for the presidency in front of a million people and was re-elected. Rumors started flying about everything from his birth to his faith. They attacked him, his wife and his children. And yes, just like the Republican nominee’s birther campaign, they thought bald-faced lying was the Christian thing to do.

They dipped deeply into a dark well and pulled up a monster. Everyone can see it’s a monster, just as certainly as they could tell the emperor was naked, but it’s their monster and they will ignore anything he does, including insulting the very mother who birthed them, because he speaks to their invisible id.

America is already great. It would even survive this monster — but it won’t have to. I have faith the American people will show their true colors on Nov. 8 — and starting tomorrow with early voting — this great country will send the monster and those who support him back into hiding.

But like any ravaging storm there will be aftereffects. All will not be peaceful. We will look at each other differently. We will have lost friends and family members like after any war. Others will decide that some of the people they used to respect don’t deserve that level of confidence. A foundation between people will have to be re-established, or more likely, abandoned.

There will also be political fallout. Those who attached themselves closely with the Republican nominee will not be able to untie that knot, and when they try, their future opponents will be more than happy to remind the electorate that will look very, very different — at least in Georgia, in two years when we elect a new governor — and by 2020, who knows?

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