My wife thought I was having a stroke.
There I stood in the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fair, mouth agape, jaw slacked. My eyes must have been a little glazed over. I stared at the Republican Party of Iowa booth.
I found myself compelled to take pictures of the people taking pictures, if for no other reason but to reality-check myself that this campaign -- this insane presidential contender -- was really happening, and that a formerly mainstream political party had entered the terminal stage of a decades-long descent into bat-shit madness.
THIS COARSE display . . . this supreme unseriousness and spleen venting . . . this is how the the government becomes delegitimized (see Obama Derangement Syndrome) and the country becomes ungovernable. This is how we lose faith in democracy, and how we cast off all our hopes for the future.
This is so beneath us as Americans. We are so beneath us, at least beneath our better selves, as Americans.
This is how everybody becomes The Other, and this is how opposing political parties become Lebensunwertes Leben.
How damned sad that what's left of Republicanism sounds so much more serious in the original German.
The Real Donald J. Trump -- star of stage, screen, divorce court and bankruptcy -- would sound just as nuts in Classical Latin, alas.
As we were leaving the fair Sunday, I asked my wife whether this would be the last Iowa State Fair we'd go to without having to get a passport or obtain a visa. Would Iowa end up in the Republic of Heartland, while Nebraska joined with the Dakotas in the new Canadian province of South Manitoba? Would the United States still be united in 2017, somehow, despite Trump ginning up panic and rage among the booboisie about the "rigged election"?
Could be a hell of a "reality show."
Call it The End of the World as We Know It.
And we feel . . . pissed.