Some readers may have noticed that, for some time now, I have been walking a tightrope of cognitive dissonance here. It stems from trying to reconcile these contradictory truths: Donald J. Trump is an unreflective solipsist and a pathological liar; the United States is a democratic republic; and Trump is President of the United States.
America has managed to slog through three years of this dissonance, all the time griping and sniping and whining and never fully accepting. But in this pandemic-dominated year, the consequences of those contradictions have been all too painful. Our domestic tragedy (200,000-plus lives and counting) cannot be lightened with mocking and finger-pointing. Rather, it calls for trying to stay sane.
I could justifiably rail against Trump every single day on this blog, and perhaps I should. However, there is already no shortage of Trump hypocrisy call-outs, ripostes and satires on social media and late-night TV. Why add yet more (i.e., mine) to the mix?
So, believe it or not, I have been holding back.* I don’t want my mind or this mouthpiece to be swept up in the Can-You-Believe-What-He-Said-Today tsunami. No one can keep up with the pace and scale of the outrage created by this apprentice president of ours.
On the one hand, avoiding mention of our Orange Mussolini makes me feel as if I’m not doing my duty as a citizen. On the other hand, responding to Trump’s every petulance is like “letting the terrorists win” if I may invoke that oft-cited refrain from post-9/11 days. Americans should not have to serve as Trump’s puppets in any sense, offense or defense.
Trump is truly the elephant in the room — except that Trump-phant weighs 1/8 of a ton and has wispy dyed hair and tramples down just about everything sweet and gentle about this country, for abject reasons known only to Trump-phant and his family and herd.
Nonetheless, I will be doing my best to ignore Trump-phant until the election is over and the winner is declared. You all know what it’s like out there. I do too. Having turned in my ballot, it’s now about holding tight and encouraging other rational folk to do the same. Self-preservation is a hard calculation.