By Joe Registrato, AliveTampaBay Contributing Editor
I was going to write something semi-serious about how I think Hillary ought to handle herself at the last presidential debate, but then Donald Trump said some things that shifted his usual ultra-right-wing conservative rhetoric clear up into the lunatic fringe area, the kind of talk those of us who consider ourselves to be more or less normal usually associate with the truly weird; so I thought I should say something about this because like Michelle Obama, I’m more than just a little shaken at the thought of this man getting hold of the keys to the car, to say nothing of enough nuclear bombs to destroy the planet.
It appears to me that Mr. Trump, finding himself falling precipitously in the polls, has spiraled into a kind of mental free-fall and has decided to push the throttle to the firewall on the kind of insane talk, sky-is-falling obsessions and paranoia, mindless conclusions completely without evidence to support them that you don’t ordinarily hear from a major party candidate. But then, no major party has ever put up a person as loony as this one turns out to be.
Check this out:
From the New York Times on Saturday, October 15, 2016: “On Thursday and Friday alone, Mr. Trump unleashed a barrage of near-apocalyptic warnings about the potential destruction of the country, broad accusations about the illegitimacy of American democracy, and crude innuendo about his opponent that is almost without precedent in modern presidential history.
“He warned that Hillary Clinton was conspiring with financiers to destroy American sovereignty, claimed the fate of civilization depended on his victory and ridiculed the appearance of the one of the women accusing him of sexual harassment, while also deriding Mrs. Clinton’s looks and saying she ought to be in prison. He also said the presidential election amounted to “a big ugly lie.”
The Times reported that at a rally on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina, Trump said: “Reporters at The New York Times are not journalists. They’re corporate lobbyists for Carlos Slim and Hillary Clinton.”
On Thursday in West Palm Beach, The Times reported that Trump said, “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.”
The Associated Press reported on Saturday that Mr. Trump said at a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, “The election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing completely false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect her president.”
Oh, and if you missed it, he suggested that Hillary was on drugs during the last debate, and reiterated that if elected, he intends to see to it that Hillary goes to jail. And he wants Saturday Night Live to be canceled.
You want to say, Donald, please. The “fate of civilization” depends on electing you? Just how do you think “civilization” will go down the tubes if you are not elected? She’s “meeting with international banks to plot the destruction of U. S. Sovereignty?” Who are these banks she’s talking to, and where are these talks taking place? “New York Times reporters are corporate lobbyists for Carlos Slim and Hillary Clinton?” That would come as a surprise to Times journalists, especially those who have won the Pulitzer Prize, 117 at last count, including one or more in every single year since 2001.
The thing about the election being rigged is a real doozy. Just how, Donald, is the election being “rigged?” How is that happening? Does Hillary and “the media” have agents in every county of America who have somehow hoodwinked the election workers into letting them vote multiple times? Or what other nefarious means is there to “rig” the election?
Of course Trump has no idea, no answers to any of these absurd charges.
In case you missed it, Trump says Carlos Slim is a Mexican man who controls what goes on at The New York Times. Sure Donald. I bet that would be a real shocker to the dozen or so executives who run The Times, headed up by Publisher Arthur O. Sulzburger, whose family has controlled The Times since 1896. Slim is a Mexican who owns stock in the New York Times corporation. We know what Donald Trump thinks of Mexicans in general.
The way I see it, if anybody should “go to jail,” it ought to be a person who may motivate illegal activity when he suggests that “the Second Amendment people” might be able to do something about Hillary.
It was a while back when Trump said at a rally “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” and when the crowd began to boo, he quickly added: “Although the Second Amendment people – maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The remark brought instant condemnation from Democrats, who accused him of suggesting violence.
Now I have some good friends out there who, according to the reports I see on Facebook, actually support Donald Trump and want him to be elected President. And I know, from having been around politicians and politics and their supporters for a great many years, and having written about these people in The Tampa Tribune, I know I’m not going to influence them or change their minds. A wise editor once asked me when was the last time I changed somebody’s mind about religion or politics, and I had to admit, that would be a very rare occurrence. People believe what they believe and you’re not going to change them.
So I appeal to anybody who is at yet undecided about who they’re going to vote for, I appeal to their good sense and I appeal to their survival instinct. Please consider what Donald Trump is saying and the manner in which he says it, the kind of doomsday rhetoric you might hear from a mentally ill person. Is this the person you want to be in charge of the most powerful and feared fighting force on earth? Is this the person you want dealing with America’s friends and enemies, an insane person who has obvious delusions and obsessions?
The President of the United States must be a person who can be trusted with the lives of millions of people in the United States and all over the world. I don’t know about anybody else, but I don’t trust Donald Trump with anybody’s life.
Joseph J. Registrato is a journalist and lawyer. He was a news reporter, assistant city editor, city editor and assistant managing editor of The Tampa Tribune from 1971 to 1987. After graduation from Stetson College of Law, he was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1989, and was an assistant state attorney with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office from 1989 through 1991. He was in the private practice of law for more than twenty years in the areas of family law, criminal defense and appellate practice. He is now an assistant public defender at the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s Office of Julianne Holt. He is a U. S. Marine Corps veteran and served in the conflict in the Republic of Vietnam in 1968-1969. Registrato is a contributing editor of AliveTampaBay.com.