2020 is MACA time:
Make America Credible Again!

As the election approaches, I find myself behaving more and more like the Kevin McCarthy character at the end of the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Understandably, this worries my wife, who is shocked and confused that her ordinarily laid-back husband has turned into a raving maniac.

The cause of my concern is Donald Trump, and my fear he may again fool millions of voters. I consider him the most despicable person on the planet, yet there are those who strongly disagree.

My wife has a tendency to take Trump in stride. She's well aware of his many shortcomings, but, after all, that's just the way he is, an interesting defense for an incompetent president who is a liar, a cheat, and a con man. I wonder how many people would have excused Bill Clinton if he had admitted receiving oral sex in the White House from Monica Lewinsky, rather than offer a convoluted explanation of how he really hadn't had sex with her ... even if she'd had sex with him. If he'd simply said, "That's just the way I am," he might have scored points with people who give Donald Trump a free pass because he is what he is.

What upsets me so much is what Trump's rise to the presidency says about so many American voters who either can't recognize a con job or somehow admire the unscrupulous person behind it. Donald Trump has even less sensitivity and conscience than the fictional Jimmy McGill of "Better Call Saul." You can get much worse than that.

Upsetting me even more is that otherwise intelligent Republicans continue to support a man who simply refuses to tell the truth, who puts himself at the center of everything, takes credit for the work of others, but no responsibility for his mistakes.

THE PERSON who disappoints me most is Nikki Haley, who was governor of South Carolina for six years (2011-2016). She seemed a breath of fresh air as governor, taking office about a week before her 39th birthday. She was one Republican I voted for, and I had hopes she might some day make a bid for the presidency. Perhaps she still might, though she'll never again get my vote.

However, in the meantime she has become a tool for Donald Trump, and I cannot understand why, unless being a Republican loyal to the worst president in United States history will benefit her more than to stand up for her principles and demonstrate she will not be a lackey for Despicable Donald.

The other explanation, in this era of conspiracy theories, takes me back to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Maybe one of those pods that Kevin McCarthy was yelling about has replaced Nikki Haley. This explanation is particularly interesting since that movie was viewed as a political allegory in which the pods represented communism. One theory being floated these days is that Donald Trump is a Russian agent, doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, following an election strategy given him by the Russian leader, who again is trying to rig our election. That theory sounds good to me.

Anyway, during the Republican convention, the Nikki Haley pod delivered a pathetic speech, using herself as an example to prove America is not a racist country. She was born Nimrata Randhawa, daughter of two immigrants from India. Because her skin was a couple of shades darker than her white classmates, she put herself in the role of a black American. She made it to the top, thus there is no racism rampant in the land.

SHE WENT ON to tell a vastly oversimplified version of how, in 2015, the Confederate flag was finally removed from the flagpole on the statehouse grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, as if to say, "See how easy that was!" It only took 150 years.

Then, after the Atlantic magazine article revealed the extent of Donald Trump's disdain for American servicemen, Haley went public in denying Trump feels the way he was portrayed in the article, and she called upon Joe Biden to take down an internet posting of a quote from that article, which was interesting because (1) the quote was accurate, and (2) Haley, so far as I know, has never asked President Trump to remove or apologize for any of the highly inaccurate statements he has made, either directly to the press or via Twitter. Trump has gone so far as to use doctored and misleading footage of Biden in his television ads, and Ms. Haley has not said "Boo."

ALMOST AS disappointing to me was the appearance at the Republican convention of Lou Holtz, the former football coach, who upset his former bosses at Notre Dame University for the statements he made about Joe Biden's Catholicism, claiming the Democratic candidate was Catholic in name only.

It certainly wasn't Holtz's place to say anything about anyone else's religious beliefs, and he apparently did it as part of a deal to receive the Medal of Freedom, which Trump announced a couple of weeks after the convention.

Why Holtz's shameful behavior disappoints me so much is that we don't have many former Kent State students who become nationally known, especially through sports. There's Nick Saban, now the enormously successful football coach at the University of Alabama, and Julian Edelman, the little guy who proved he could perform in the National Football League.

I happened to attend Kent State University while Holtz was a student. I nearly joined the same fraternity, but lasted only a few days as a Delta Upsilon pledge before I decided Greek life was not for me. I remember seeing Holtz during a couple of his visits to the student newspaper office. He was regarded as a funny guy, and was very well liked. Certainly everyone laughed at his jokes.

He was on the football team for a couple of seasons, but I don't remember him as a player. The only reason I remembered his name was because it was the same as a comedian who'd show up from time to time on television. I even thought they might be father and son.

KENT STATE Lou Holtz went on to have a very successful career as a coach, and continued to amuse people with his witty comments. But his dealings with Trump this summer have soured me, both for what Holtz said and why. In any list of Medal of Freedom winners, there should be an asterisk next to Lou Holtz's name.

Donald Trump is such a disgusting person that it's easy to suspect people who support him do so because they're somehow been blackmailed to do so. I guess one of my problems is I've watched "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" too many times. Guys like Trump aren't supposed to prevail, because we trust Americans to see phonies for what they are. Unless, of course, those Americans are pod people.