For their health and well-being, if nothing else, Democrats and others who are horrified by Donald J. Trump have to stop doing two things:
- Being shocked by him.
- Expecting a savior to do something about him.
The latest, greatest example is his stunningly racist tweet-storm about four Democratic congresswomen of color who he said should go back home to their countries of origin. (I shouldn’t need to remind you of this but I will anyway: They are “home.” They were all born here, save for Ilhan Omar, who was born in Somalia. They’re all 100 percent American. Just like Trump, whose ancestors hail from Scotland and Germany. The difference: Trump has never, ever told a white male of Scottish or German descent to go back home and fix the problems there first. And he never will.)
Decent people were, of course, aghast that he – the president of the United States, as they usually harrumph it – would say such a vile thing.
But was it really a shock? Quite clearly, not. For three years now, nearly everything that has oozed from Trump’s mouth or fingertips has been something that even your not-quite-right-uncle would only say at Thanksgiving after three too many Budweisers.
So why do we clutch our pearls and fan ourselves each and every time he tops his latest, greatest tweet or comment? Shouldn’t we expect this by now?
Of course we should. But I don’t think we want to. I think many of us are secretly entertained by him, and part of us doesn’t want him to stop. He’s a bigoted, narcissistic fool, sure. But we never got this much entertainment value out of any previous president.
In TV terms, Obama was a televised Sunday morning church service – snoozers! – and George W. Bush was a wacky sitcom. (Trump is – to go way, way back – Archie Bunker, only without the underlying heart and decency.)
Trump, by comparison, is the lead character in a soap opera called “As the Nation Turns.” We’re horrified by what he says and does, but we also can’t look away. We gotta see how this thing ends!
I suspect many Democrats and undecideds who object to Trump are only willing to be entertained by him because they see little to be alarmed about, long-term. They feel that the damage Trump is doing, whether it’s to the presidency itself, our relationships with other countries or even things like the environment, will be fixed after he’s gone, whether that’s 2020 or 2024. (My money is on 2024. People really love soap operas.)
They’re probably not wrong about that. America is a strong nation, and whether he gets re-elected or not, I think we’ll survive both him and the undercurrent of pure hate represented by the rally crowd that chanted “Send her back!”
Maybe it’s naïve, but I believe good is still stronger than hate, although hate sure is landing some haymakers right now. That’s a scary thing, of course. And maybe that’s why so many people seem to believe so strongly that there’s a savior coming to knock The Donald off his horse and save us.
But that’s not going to happen. Lawsuits by porn stars didn’t save us. Rape and sexual assault charges by multiple women haven’t stuck to him. Investigations haven’t derailed him. And you can sure as heck stop believing that the Republican Party, which for decades billed itself as the party of decency, faith and patriotism, is going to come to its senses and untie us from the train tracks.
We need to knock off the magical thinking. This week, for instance, Robert Mueller – Saint Bob – testifies before Congress, and again everyone will be hoping that he’ll reveal something that will finally lead to Trump’s downfall.
But it’s not going to happen. The cavalry isn’t coming, people.
Bob Mueller isn’t going to save us.
Only you can do that. It’s called voting.