That old Russian saying that the situation is “hopeless but not serious” appeals to me in the midst of Trump’s bumbling rollout of his most important pre-election decision, picking a running mate. I’m glad that he refuses to be, or can’t stand to be, normal and boring the way he promised he would. That makes it clearer that we the people would be quite a bit nuts to elect him. He shows most every day that he is a barbarian at the gate, not the one to protect us against the other barbarians. He’s right about this, though–we voters do have to be smart and tough–which to me means we have to hold our noses if need be and make the binary choice that is (too much some days) right in front of our faces. Trump is not the answer to the Goths and the Vandals, he is the rude barbarian. He doesn’t say much at all about freedom or liberty for a reason: he has little if any feeling for their value. To speak his ancestral tongue, Herrschaft means a lot more to Trump than freiheit. I say things are hopeless but not serious because even though this summer’s drumbeat of ugly news is demoralizing, I do not believe we are going to fling ourselves over a cliff by electing a man who understands less about what makes our country great than any presidential candidate I have ever seen.