At first, we chuckled. Then we guffawed. But after a while, our laughter grew nervous. Now we're downright scared.
I'm talking about how the majority of us reasonable, thinking Americans have reacted to hearing the outrageous statements made by Donald Trump.
Remember how, in the beginning, when we didn't think he had a shot at the Presidency, we found Trump's kneejerk, unfiltered comments hilarious? But we're not laughing now, because this egotistical blowhard, with his xenophobic, supremacist ideas, is soaring in the polls.
I would imagine that those who fear Trump the most are old enough to remember what this country went through during the Cold War, when it was in the political grips of Joseph McCarthy. Before Americans understood what kind of person the Republican U.S. Senator from Wisconsin actually was—McCarthy was was a power-hungry, paranoid man with a serious drinking problem—he had managed to convince millions that the US was riddled with Communist spies and sympathizers. By the time the Senate censured him, the lives of countless Americans had been destroyed. Some committed suicide.
And now, here we are, seemingly headed down the same path, except this time the targets of Trump's reckless diatribes are Mexicans, Syrian refugees, and Muslims, a list I'm sure will continue to grow.
Most likely Trump's popularity, like McCarthy's, will fizzle out, but at what cost? How many people will have been harmed, and how divided will we have become?
Even without having held political office, Trump has managed to give a voice to the bigoted and fearful, Americans who are ready to pounce on any group Trump had decided is the skapegoat du jour.
Some believe we shouldn't have let things go this long.
"The time to renounce Mr. Trump’s views was the day he entered the race, calling Mexico an exporter of criminals and rapists," writes the New York Times in an editorial.
We should not waste any time asking of Trump: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"