The young men standing in front of the gate are wearing red sashes with golden lion pins. Some of them have bagpipes. They are with the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, handing out anti-abortion leaflets a few hours before Cecile Richards speaks at Georgetown in defiance of the moral law, good taste, and the Archbishop of Washington.
Half a mile from the Potomac. Muskets and sabers glint in sun. You can see the wool beginning to pill on the scarlet and blue coats. The breeches look threadbare. Some sort of cloth is wrapped around the shoes of the soldier standing nearest me. You get the sense that these boys have seen a lot of action.
NEW YORK—Except for the fight at the beginning and the argument at the end, John Kasich’s town hall at Bay Ridge Place in Brooklyn was a pretty tame affair. I didn’t even catch everything the first two guys were screaming about—one was calling the other a Democrat and saying he was spreading false information about his family—and security eventually kicked them out. Otherwise the closest thing to real aggression all night was Kasich awkwardly patting the shoulder of Montel Williams, the leather-jacketed and purple-tied talk radio host and Marine veteran who introduced him and helped field questions from the audience.
MILWAUKEE—We are walking two-by-two through a maze of Rent-a-Fence steel barricades flanked by cop cars towards the doors of the theater wearing Trump hats, camo hats, hunter orange, black hoodies, Army service uniforms, suits, t-shirts that say “BUILD THE WALL” and “TRUMP THAT BITCH.” Outside the barriers there are Shriners running around in dinner jackets and maroon fezzes. One is whispering to a cop. Hard to put your finger on it but you can feel it: the foreboding, the hints of conspiracy and apocalypse. A guy outside the line in a Bernie Sanders t-shirt is standing next to an older woman. “Don’t get into trouble,” she says.
What good is a Penfolds Grange Cabernet Sauvignon if its bottle is identical to Barefoot? A Rolls Royce without its signature double R and boxy wide grill? Or a handmade Davidoff Churchill cigar without the Prime Minister’s silhouette?
After all, too much wine could one day kill you. So can cars. The risks of smoking are well known. Why not make all of life’s luxuries—big and small—uniform, mundane, and so indistinguishable that they are, alas, unappealing?