When I was a young 'un, my parents took my sister and me to see Star Trek III: Search for Spock, because we're nerdy like that. It's the first movie I really remember seeing in the theatre -- I know I SAW other movies, but that's the one that sticks with me as My First Real Movie.
So -- and if I have to put Spoiler Alert here, I will, but REALLY that movie is NOT NEW, y'all -- at one point, Kirk's son David gets killed by a Klingon (played by Christoper Lloyd, who makes ... a really odd Klingon) and in his abject grief, Kirk goes to sit down, misses the chair, and lands heavily on his ass and says "You Klingon bastard ... You've killed... my SON!"
(You should have read that last part as William Shatner as Kirk. If you didn't, please go back and re-read it so we can be on the same page here.)
I, um, laughed.
My mother was mortified, in a "I wonder if my daughter is going to grow up to be a serial killer because she clearly lacks empathy" kind of a way (and also, probably, in a "I hope this theatre full of Star Trek fans don't kill my kid because she laughed at James Tiberius Kirk" way as well). The thing was, though, that I wasn't laughing because I thought it wasn't sad. I kind of didn't get the sad part at all at first, in fact.
I was laughing because the overacting was so blatant. Not to be disrespectful to Mr Shatner, who has made a career out of that particular level of emoting, but I was eight when that movie came out and I could discern that it was over the top; since then, I have been grief stricken more and received bad news on multiple occasions, and never once have I lost my awareness of where furniture was or how to find it with my person.
But I digress.
What I'm trying to say is this: when there is spectacle, when there is over the top drama, it is easy to focus on the wrong part of the story. It's easy to see the man falling down because he likes a big gesture and miss the grief.
Which brings me to this election cycle. Donald Trump, frankly, scares me because I feel like the majority of his supporters are a bit like me watching Jim Kirk fall down. They see the spectacle but miss the ramifications of the message. The more buffoonery he produces, the more they eat it up.
I feel like I am watching Rome burn while the people dance, and it makes me uncomfortable and nervous. As a result, when people say they're just not going to vote if Bernie's not on the ballot, or if they say they're going third party, I actually get more anxious about it. Failing to vote is voting for Trump. Voting for a third party is voting for Trump. I would rather have someone who I know is smart -- even if I sometimes disagree with her record -- and who is a human being in that office than Donald Trump.
Once, over the top made me laugh.
Now it scares the shit out of me.
I guess that's not such an inappropriate response.