Paul Little: Seriously, Trump is a real laugh

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP

It's just two months and a few days until Hillary Clinton wins the election for president of the United States. And we need to think carefully about how to make best use of that time.

We've loved having a good laugh at America's expense. We watched the Republican nomination process in fascinated horror. Surely they weren't going to go there ... Oh no. They did. And it has been entertaining. Donald Trump has managed to screw up in ways people never dreamed of.

We've wallowed in lashings of schadenfreude at seeing a country that has always delighted in telling the rest of the world how to do things get itself into a terrible mess.

But schadenfreude has turned to fremdscham, which is that awful wriggly feeling of embarrassment we experience when we see our friends doing something that makes them look ridiculous.

We might even have started to feel a little bad at how much we were enjoying America's humiliation - something for which even the Germans don't have a word. But not only will Trump not be the president of the United States, he was never at any risk of becoming president of the United States.

The main reason that Trump was never going to win this election is that most Americans - although clearly not all - are good people with fully functioning hearts and minds. They are generous and sensible. There aren't tightly bound bundles of hatred. They don't stand around in T-shirts emblazoned with guns yelling racist slogans into the air.

Accordingly, their stories don't travel well and we tend not to hear much about them, but they are the vast majority of American citizens.

The main reason Trump has appeared to be so dominant is that the media need a story with an element of jeopardy. If there's nothing at stake in an election then there is nothing to write about. No one wants to read a year of stories about how certain Clinton's win is. She needed a foil, the story needed a villain and terrible things had to seem likely to happen before the happy ending was reached.

The same phenomenon occurred in the 2012 election, which all data shows Barack Obama was never at risk of losing. Yet there were countless stories telling us the president had a real fight on his hands and was in grievous danger of losing to - can you remember? - Mitt Romney.

We can safely leave America to it, confident they won't get themselves into trouble while playing unsupervised. And we can turn our attention back to things that matter close to home.

It won't be clear for some time whether Trump's shenanigans have irreparably damaged the Republican Party so that it will need to dissolve itself and be replaced by a new conservative party. But no one should be surprised if the next six US presidential results are: Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Michelle Obama, Chelsea Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.

People are dying unnecessarily because of the low rate of organ donation. It's made worse by the ease with which next of kin can change their dead relatives' minds for them. The solution is simple. We should all be assumed to be organ donors unless we have opted out. And it should be illegal for anyone to override the deceased's wishes. It might also help people feel more comfortable with the whole thing if we stopped using the word "harvesting" in relation to organs. No one wants to sound like an agricultural products grown to be consumed by others.

- Herald on Sunday

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