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A year in Trumpland


One year down, three to go. Some reflections:

(1) 414 days later I’m still in a state of disbelief. This morning I was watching some top seven sports stories of the year nonsense on CNN, and one of the items was Trump’s Twitter feud with LaVar Ball. This story, which is a completely normal dog bites man news event in Trumpland, would have been considered totally insane 414 days ago.

(2) Every morning, as soon as I remember that Trump is president (this can take anywhere from nanoseconds to several minutes), I have a sensation which I suppose is akin to that of waking up in prison or in the middle of a war zone. In other words, how did I get here and when can I get out?

(3) I worry that, as Trump, his family, and his various enablers leave a sinuous trail of slime across the entire culture, they are going to seriously degrade if not destroy the personal standards of people who oppose them. This will be for pragmatic reasons — you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight — and for more complex psychological ones. For example, any somewhat dishonest moderately self-dealing person is such a vast improvement on Trump that it will be both tempting and easy to ignore the dishonesty and self-dealing of anyone who opposes him, and indeed to become more dishonest and self-dealing ourselves, because after all look what we’re up against (this dovetails insidiously with the former point about pragmatic necessity).

(4) One way I’ve decided to deal with the present situation is to treat Trump’s election as a fundamentally freak event. I realize this is at best a rationalization, if not an exercise in outright self-delusion: in many ways Trump is a product of the contemporary GOP rather than the other way around. (ETA: The single most disturbing development of the past year has been the almost complete collapse of any resistance to Trump from anyone associated with the Republican party’s actual power structure). Nevertheless he is still a uniquely dangerous and noxious figure. I will therefore do what I can in my own very modest way to ensure that he isn’t re-elected, starting with working to make sure that, as Scott points out, Congress will spend as much time as possible in 2019 and 2020 investigating and therefore undermining the remainder of the Trump presidency. But if he were to be re-elected, I do believe I would find it difficult to continue to live in this country.

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