I can’t read the news without getting angry these days, and no amount of unseasonably warm weather can make me ignore the dark clouds looming over Washington, D.C.
I haven’t looked at any statistics on this, but I would imagine that every therapist in the country has had a full schedule since Nov. 8. I think we need a new form of depression and/or anxiety for the DSM: Post-Trump Election Syndrome (PTES). Symptoms include irritability, mood swings, incontinence, upset stomach, shortness of breath, disillusionment, psychosis, trying to wake up while already awake, loss of appetite, loss of friends, and loss of human/civil/environmental/economic/political rights. It goes without saying that we are going to need a lot of over-priced pharmaceuticals.
I hope his supporters are happy that he’s doing all the bad things he promised (banning Muslims, restarting oil pipelines, and generally declaring himself an enemy to liberal democracy) but none of the good ones (promoting jobs, maintaining entitlement programs, ‘draining the swamp,’ etc.). Those of us who fought to keep him out of the White House are not surprised. But let’s all agree at this point that we do not have a change agent, business guru, or Robin Hood for president: We have, accept it or not, a self-important asshole with power. And, quite predictably, he’s filling his cabinet with his self-important asshole friends.
What’s more is that two of my dear friends have been systematically persecuted, dismissed from their jobs, and banned from travel by another self-important asshole with power, President Erdogan of Turkey (I call them SAPs for short). Their ‘crime’? Signing onto a peace declaration that I, and a lot of Americans I know, would have signed without hesitation. In fact, I signed a similar declaration in college during the Bush II administration and was dismissed from the school newspaper as a result — although the circumstances were very different.
So, yes, it can happen here. It should be obvious given Trump’s all-but-declared war on the press. Academics could be next. Give him time; he’s already alienated more groups in this country in less than a month than most presidents managed to do in four years. I should not have to list them, but I will: women, Muslims, Jews, Blacks, Latinos, the LGBTQ community, the press, teachers, liberals, far-leftists, civil libertarians, intellectuals, his own bureaucrats, and pretty much everyone else who is paying attention.
Don’t think he’s done yet. He won’t be done until we stop him.
Like Howard Beale said in the 1976 classic film Network: “I want you to get mad.” Even more importantly, I want you to put aside your petty differences with your friends, co-workers, and family members and unite against these assholes who think they can govern based on unadulterated self-interest and convince us that it’s for our benefit. To quote George Carlin: “They don’t give a fuck about you.” Thinking it won’t make it true. Hoping for it won’t make it true. The Great White Hope is a Great White Lie (and always has been).
My appeal for unity includes reluctant Trump supporters. We should work to convince the well meaning ones that they won’t benefit from Trump’s policies unless they are rich or SAPs like he is. We should also tell them that if they have no concern for the vulnerable members of society that are currently within Trump’s crosshairs, they are forgetting what this country stands for: liberty, justice, equality — not Muslim bans, “alternative facts,” or Twitter wars against celebrities.
Surely the country of Washington and Lincoln can do better.