'Beware of the Jester, for he sees us as we really are'. I can't remember where I read that but it is a quote that has served me well. If I've ever been in a difficult situation, I've learned that humour can be a great tool.
But the recent 'killer clown' craze has highlighted just how dangerous a mask can be, perhaps more dangerous than a gun or a knife. With an offensive weapon someone may injure or kill you, but with ill intent masked behind a phoney smile, they can gain your trust, turn friends against you, destroy you and leave you in the gutter.
I was pondering these thoughts as I read the reports of the final US presidential race. It is clear by now that Trump is a clown. Any vestiges of being a serious politician have evaporated. His braggart tendencies and wild exxagerations have long since ceased to be funny. If I were a Republican, I would be distraught. I believe Hillary is a poor candidate. She may well be a good President, as she is clever, serious and tough, but she is a lousy campaigner. A decent republican would have beaten her.
The difficult truth for the Republican Party is that when we stopped laughing, the mask dropped and we saw what Trump really is. Democracy may have its flaws, but at least we get some sort of say. It is looking ever more likely that Trump will flounce off, defeated and discredited. The Republicans deserve to lose badly. It may make them wake up to the fact that a devisive candidate cannot win.
Trump is likely to also damage campaigns in the senate and House of Representatives. It is possible Clinton will be in the strongest position of any President in living memory. For the sake of democracy, let's just hope that the US parties learn the lessons and we move on to a more sane and rational phase of the political cycle.