Were you afraid? Were you very afraid?
I did. And I was. Very afraid.
It wasn't the debate as a whole that gave me the creeps, though the whole thing was kind of a horror comedy, starring candidates for the office of the President of the United States who sounded about as presidential as a bunch of grody middle-school boys, tossing silly taunts at each other and quipping about you-know-what size.
What scared me, has scared me before and scared me again Thursday night, was hearing Donald Trump's pronouncements that when he's president he will make people do what he wants.
Trump bragged again about how he's going to build a wall - 40, 45, 50 feet high, higher if he wants - along our border with Mexico and reiterated that Mexico will pay for that wall - he will make the Mexicans pay for his wall.
But exactly how will Trump make them pay? He's spouted some nonsense about trade deficits and tariffs, but Mexico's leaders have already shot back that they won't pay a cent for Trump's wall.
So what is Donald Trump prepared to do to bend Mexico to his will? Induce the financial - and consequent literal - starvation of Mexico? Send in troops? Start a war? Who knows? Or might he even mean none of it, about the wall and making Mexico pay?
Trump has said that as president he would order the U.S. military to use torture in interrogations and kill the families of terrorists. When one of the debate moderators pointed out to him that former CIA director General Michael Hayden said that such orders were illegal and members of the Military would refuse to carry out such orders Trump, sounding like a spoiled snooty preppy dripping conceit replied, "They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me."
I got fear-chills wondering what a President Trump, puffed up with arrogant self-importance and pomposity would do to our soldiers to force them to torture prisoners and murder women and children. Torture them? Go after their wives and children?
But then last night Trump issued a just-kidding about ordering the military to commit war crimes if he's elected president. Turns out his "They're not going to refuse me" line played very, very badly with the public and so he announced that as president he would not order a military officer to disobey the law. One of his spokespersons also added that Donald Trump had been misunderstood. When he said he wanted the military to engage in torture and murder he didn't really mean torture and murder.
So what did he really mean, then? What does Donald Trump ever really mean? What he says the first time? Or what he says the second time after he's been called out for what he said the first time? Or none of anything he says?
1. "Donald Trump reverses position on torture, killing terrorists; families", By Ryan Browne and Nicole Gaouette, Cnn, March 4, 2016. http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/politics/donald-trump-reverses-on-torture/index.html
2. The Fox News GOP debate transcript, annotated, Team Fix, The Washington Post, March 3, 2016.
3. "Trump Says He'd Force Military To Commit War Crimes", The Washington Times, March 3, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/mar/3/donald-trump-says-hed-force-us-military-commit-war/
4. "Trump proposes ways to make Mexico pay for immigrants"', By Sopan Deb, CBS News August 16, 2015. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-border-wall-immigration-plan-mexico-pay/