The frequency and absurdity of President Trump’s language seem to have resulted in a sort of psychic numbing in which we are no longer shocked or even surprised at strident, boorish and ignorant proclamations.

But Tuesday, in Orlando, Mr. Trump achieved another order of magnitude. Referring yet again to the scandal surrounding Hillary Clinton’s email server, the crowd chanted, “Lock her up!” over and over. The president almost palpably swelled with satisfaction as he appreciatively scanned the scene and resonated with the escalating pitch.

More chilling than the utter absence of salience, more disturbing than coarse and outrageous comments about Democrats who would purportedly “destroy” the country, was the pathologically chauvinistic behavior of the crowd. The crowd is us, Americans who have uncritically allowed their frustrations to fuel demonizing an individual, an entire political party and those with a different worldview.

Is this situation reminiscent of the forces that gave rise to some of the darkest events in history? It is worth rigorous and immediate consideration and self-examination.

Peter Pressman


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