It’s very American to believe in miracles. But is it equally American to believe that Donald Trump is some kind of deity who is capable of performing miracles?
Apparently, millions of Americans are prepared to believe it.
And his convention speech last night did nothing to disillusion them.
It was an absurd speech, but I am not laughing, for it was also a chilling speech. Chilling because he seemed to believe what he was saying, and so many others seem to believe it, too.
Trump claimed extraordinary powers, and his credulous audience accepted those claims with delirious joy.
He promised, for example, that on the very day he is sworn in as President, America will be “safe again.” Crime will magically disappear, those dangerous immigrants will be walled off, violence will vanish and those bad terrorists will just go poof.
During his magical presidency, jobs will sprout from the earth like daisies and racial animosity will give way to brotherly love across the land. The dark clouds that threaten our world will be dispersed and Americans will be happy, prosperous and well behaved.
All the world will be dazzled by America’s glory and might.
The assembled votaries accepted Trump’s deluded promises like manna from Heaven.
Yes, they must have thought, he can do it! Look at him. See how big he is? Twice the size of that puny Hillary for sure!
Trump presents himself as larger than life. And by some standards he is. The evidence looms across America’s skylines, manifested – as his daughter Ivanka reminded us – in achievements such as Trump Tower.
But his daughter’s vision is, as you might expect, magnified by her personal feelings. Your daughter probably feels the same about you. I would be shocked if my daughters didn’t feel the same about me.
The reality is far more mundane. Trump’s castles were not produced by waving a magic wand but by the sweat and skill of mere mortals, many of whom say he cheated them in the process.
But it’s so tempting to believe there’s a magical solution to all that ails America – and all that ails this world of ours.
Few people are prepared to take the trouble to analyze reality, to patiently examine the intricate issues that a complex nation and a complex world are facing.
Hillary Clinton does just that. She takes each knotty problem, breaks it down and proposes real-life solutions. It’s all there on her campaign website, carefully thought out, logically explained.
But I fear most American voters – who are more at home on Twitter and Facebook – don’t have the patience or the attention span to handle Hillary’s proposals. They are likely to take a chance on a self-proclaimed miracle worker with grandiose promises and simple solutions.
The trouble is that the problems our world faces today are anything but simple.