Trump ruins everything: The problem of nothing else mattering
Oscar gaffe 2017? NASA discovering seven new, Earth-like planets? Milan Fashion Week? Subway’s chicken is only 50 percent chicken? Thousands (!) of female employees sexually harassed by male bosses, for years, at Kay Jewelers? Someone you know and/or love getting married, buying a house, moving to Peru, replacing a kidney, showing you snazzy vacation photos from Mexico or Costa Rica or the moon?
Whatever. I mean, it’s all wonderful. It’s all delightful and disturbing and beautiful as ever – except, of course, that it’s not. Not completely, anyway.
I mean, how can it be, when everything is covered in this gloomy, oozing pall? When everything is so inexorably tainted by the devastating reality that we are, as a nation and a species, fast circling the karmic drain, that everything good and hopeful from the past 10 – or is it 100? – years is being crushed and spit upon, when democracy as we know it is being gruesomely dismantled in real time, to be replaced by something like fascism, only dumber?
Did you endure any of Trump’s scowling, heavily edited, lie-strewn address to Congress? Did you feel the shudder and groan that shot through the planet like a sighing death knell?
Of course you did. Everyone did. It’s a real problem, this feeling of Trump-stabbed ennui, this all-consuming sense that nothing else can possibly matter right now but the ongoing, vicious desecration of everything you ever cared about. It’s not exactly an isolated feeling. Nor is it limited to liberal “bubbles” like SF.
— NYT Graphics (@nytgraphics) March 1, 2017
It’s everywhere. The collective anxiety is palpable. Stress levels nationwide have skyrocketed. Schoolkids are freaking out. Immigrants are panicking. Psychiatrists are busier than ever. Airports are sort of surreal. Foreign countries are steeling themselves against America’s imminent tidal wave of thuggish violence and isolationism. Hate is begetting hate, and trolls are begetting trolls, and it’s all you can do to take a deep breath, meditate for 15 minutes and pour a bottle of wine down your face, lest you spontaneously combust.
Is that an exaggeration? Not by much. Fresh entertainments, new inventions, personal sagas, cute kittens, dumb gaffes at the Oscars? It’s damn near impossible not to feel that it’s all so insanely frivolous, so absurdly self-indulgent, selfish to the point of meaninglessness. Hey I like your new haircut, but don’t you know we’re all going to die?
Hey, thanks for sharing your photos from that rave in Tulum – do you know what’s happening to the EPA? Oh, you you wrongly handed the Best Picture Oscar? Gosh, sorry. Do you know what Trump and his flying monkeys in the GOP are going to do to Planned Parenthood? To science? To clean f–king water?
It’s not completely true, of course, this ever-present dystopia, this we’re-all-screwed insanity. But it’s close. We are very much living in the worst-case scenario anyone could have dared to conjure regarding Trump’s presidency. This is about as bad as it gets. Except it’s only getting worse.
They decided not to have the cameras there today when Trump signed the bill to make it easier for seriously mentally ill people to buy guns.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) February 28, 2017
Call it Trump Syndrome, Trump Disorder, Trump Disease – whatever it is, it’s downright lethal. It’s waking up every day, and feeling all cozy and positive for roughly 1/19th of a second before the realization of the orange goblin’s very existence slams down upon your liminal well-being like an anvil made of turpentine and nuclear war and the corpses of 1 million dead squirrels.
It’s the dread you feel when you pick up your phone after an hour or two of mellow inactivity, only to be confronted, yet again, with a fresh hell of breaking news: some billionaire conspiracy crony jammed into a high-ranking cabinet position, some newly obvious Trump link to the Russian mafia, some embarrassing presidential midnight tweet, some fresh cruelty to women, or immigrants, or blacks, the ACA, some fresh evidence that the GOP is gloating its way to collective treason.
Here’s what we know so far: It’s nonstop, and will continue to be so, until he’s impeached, resigns or explodes into a million tiny shards of oh-thank-god-this-has-all-been-just-a-horrible-dream. How soon will that be? Not soon enough.
It is, of course, no way to live. This poisonous center cannot hold. There is sacred practice. There is yoga, meditation, kindness, invention, a fresh and fervent commitment to daily, intentional refocusing on beauty, art, protest, a more immediate connection to community and love and nature. Tend your own garden. Invite like-minded advocates, creators, thinkers and fighters and dreamers into it. Make a fist together. Use it wisely. Use it often.
And use it to join the resistance, that surge of global outrage and savvy defiance that’s welling up everywhere, that’s cobbling evidence from various reliable sources that all is not lost – not yet, anyway – and that, should we somehow survive the orange nightmare, we will slingshot much further in the hopeful, progressive direction. That’s the dream, anyway.
That is, if the planet doesn’t shrug us off first. I mean, can you blame her?
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