Sunday, May 24, 2020


I don't really know what to do. The world used to be an amazing, wildly diverse place where there were so many wonderful and fascinating things to do and see, to think and talk about. There used to be fun, laughter, poetry and word-play, international events and economic debates, baseball and basketball, naked celebrity meltdowns and the occasional shockingly violent criminal act. We talked about music, about food, about movies and events and places, things we saw and things we only heard about. There were concerts, film festivals, burning man and Mardi Gras, parties and horse races and restaurants and bars.

Today, locked in place to avoid a deadly virus, and there is only him that should not be named. Our corrupt, lying, stunningly stupid criminal-in-chief, Trump. The orange one. He has come into our lives in the dead of night and stolen the universe, the sunshine and the very oxygen. It is him, only him, on the news, on the twitter machine, on the blogs. We read and watch and listen with a certain numbed disgust at what he does today, while tomorrow all our friends will be revisiting those same outrages even as he commits new ones. His political 'strategy', to the extent one can be discerned, has been described as 'flooding the zone with shit' - and whether it's an actual strategy or not, that's what he's doing.

He has all the characteristics of a classic authoritarian strongman dictator, but with a weird set of mental and emotional failings, a grotesque narcissistic streak and absolutely no filter of the kind that should be automatic for someone in such an elevated position in society. And we remain shocked and stunned that so much of our population, so many of our fellow citizens continue, even now, to cheer him on and to be driven to greater acts of societal irresponsibility by his unhinged rants and endless, outright lies. They bring military weapons to protests, they refuse to care for themselves and their community in time of plague, they constantly act against any and all self-interest because there is now such a deep ideological gap between the two tribes of America that at this point represent nothing so much as an avowed hatred for each other.

Which brings me back

I realized that he's broken me. I can't get away from him, I can't get him out of my mind, I can't avoid his hourly offenses - relishing the ones I believe will 'cost' him and chafing over the ones where he seems to gain...something. I used to love to spend time reading and thinking about international relations, but he's broken them too. Whether it's Israel, China, the Persian Gulf, Europe and NATO, Africa, Russia - there is always Trump's horrible orange visage hanging over every conversation, breaking the bonds that had value while creating new bonds that only threaten the future in so many ways. I used to love to study economics, but under the Trump regime economics makes no sense. There was a vast economic expansion and virtually full employment, and yet workers wages stayed flat even as corporate profits surged and surged again. Nothing works correctly, and the only thing one needs to succeed in this bizarre dystopian global economy is access to capital. I used to love to follow science, but - and while I can't pin it on Trump directly - physics is broken, with no experimental research ongoing and new discoveries out of reach.

I want to get away from it - HIM - take a break, immerse myself in something rewarding and worthwhile, but I can't. When I try, he drags me back - whether on a blog or on the twitter machine, the new outrages and the outraged responses along with the bizarre unhinged defenses seep in and before I know it there's another two hours down the Trump rabbit hole. I often wonder how we will adjust when he's gone? Not in the near term, when he loses the election in November and still has almost three months in power to throw tantrums, discredit the election and break institutions. Not after that, when he's out of power and nihilistically urging his most deranged supporters to take up arms against the government. But later, when we can get on with the business of recovering from his presidency, the pandemic and the associated economic collapse.

What will fill the void? What will our brain, used to massive daily doses of Trump, demand in replacement? How will we adjust to post-Trump 'normal', something we knew just a few years ago and yet is impossible to imagine today? Will the media struggle to return to a time when there are five or ten ongoing stories every day, not one single overarching catastrophe to be breathlessly covered, debated and covered again?

I just know I hate that man with a kind of hatred I've never really known before. I hate him for what he's done to my country, to my friends, and - yes - to me. I hate that he has become so central to my existence, a five year ongoing train wreck that I've lost the ability to look away from...