For almost five years I have tried to write about the insanity that is the American political system. As a student of history, a news junkie and something of an activist, I’ve always found the machinations of government to be fascinating.
From my high schools days on the “Model UN” to my college degree in Soviet Studies, I’ve been excited to discuss politics with friends, relatives and strangers. I loved the debates, even when they got heated. Exchanging ideas, presenting facts to each other, back and forth and back again. I used to learn something with each discussion. I worked hard, if not always successfully, to keep an open mind.
Back in 2015, I was writing for an online publication called “Liberal America.” Rather obviously, we had a lot to say about the prospects of a Trump Presidency. I thoroughly enjoyed writing these pieces, because they expressed my political views and even let me earn some money by writing.
After the election, I kept on writing and was submitting to a variety of sites. Once again, I wrote to point out what to me was so glaringly obvious: that Donald Trump is totally unfit to serve in any public office, much less the Presidency.
Now, at last, we find ourselves in the final few months of Trump’s term. Our long, chaotic decline as a nation has been well documented by real journalists in thousands of ways. Facts about Trump’s inept handling of international relations, his attempts to bully Congress, the hundreds of instances of corruption and graft….it’s all there in black and white.
So why doesn’t it seem to matter that the whole world can see exactly how dangerous and ugly this administration is?
Trump still has the support of more than a third of American voters. The Republican Party is still protecting him and backing him up, even though at one time most of them were horrified at the idea of him winning.
How is this possible?
Because Trump has performed a miracle. He has undone the truth. Facts no longer have any relevance. As Trump apologist Kellyanne Conway famously stated, they have their own “alternative facts.”
This administration started out by lying about the most obvious of facts (the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration) and has gone downhill from there. They lie freely, openly and with complete seriousness and they do it every. damn. day.
How do you fight that?
How do you continue to respond when facts have no meaning anymore?
I can’t do it. I can’t keep it up. I am worn down, worn out and exhausted. So, it seems, is the Democratic Party, whose entire campaign seems to be “at least we’re not Trump.”
If you’ve ever engaged in a conversation with an angry toddler, you will recognize the overwhelming fatigue that comes with trying to convince someone of something that they refuse to see.
“I didn’t eat the cake that was on the table!”
“But you have chocolate frosting on your face.”
‘NO I don’t!”
‘I’m looking at it. I see the frosting. And there are cake crumbs on your shirt.”
“No, there aren’t! I didn’t do it!”
After a few rounds, you end up grabbing the kid, washing their face and sternly saying, “Don’t eat dessert unless you ask me first!” You recognize that you are engaged in an argument that cannot be won.
That is exactly how American politics feel to me now. We point out that Trump was completely nuts when he suggested injecting disinfectant into humans to kill Covid19. The response? “Oh, he just said we should study it. No big deal.”
What the absolute hell! No, it should NOT be studied!
We write about the flagrant inappropriateness of Ivanka and Jared having their fingers in every aspect of government, when neither has been elected, appointed, Senate approved or vetted. The Trump apologists simply turn the facts around on us. “Look at Hunter Biden!” they cry. Or, “What about Hillary’s emails?”
And the worst, the most egregious warping of reality happens every single time Trump and his enablers hear something that they don’t like.
“FAKE NEWS!!!!” they scream in unison. Fake, false, a hoax, all made up!!
But we can see the damn frosting on his face. We can smell the chocolate on his breath and count the crumbs on his shirt. There are photos, there are tapes, there are Tweets to prove that what we say is a FACT.
They never respond with facts. They respond with insults, lies, and Trumpian pseudo-reality.
I can’t do it anymore. I can’t argue with these angry toddlers anymore. I’m out.
I’m going back to writing about things I understand and can process. Like global pandemics, the inner life of children, and the magic of the natural world.
Image:“File:Goran Gatarić, Woman At the Dock ll, 40×50.5, Oil on canvas.jpg” by Tomicmilos90 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0