It’s 11:57 p.m., Thursday, January 19, 2017, California time, as I write this. As I type the next paragraph or two, this day will become tomorrow, January 20, 2017. Inauguration Day.
I am in deep mourning.
I did not believe during the primary season that Donald Trump would become the Republican nominee. I believed strongly (foolish me!) that the vertebrate men of the GOP (11:58) would choose from among them a man of principle around whom they could unify, banding together in mutual self-sacrifice and ego/ambition-sublimation to save their political souls and our country.
They didn’t. (11:59)
I did not believe during the days leading up to November 8, and even well into the evening of November 8, that Donald J. Trump would win the election.
I’m sitting here, watching the bottom corner of my computer screen . . . and there. (12:00) It’s Friday.
We Did This
We did this. It didn’t happen to us, like a virus happens. It didn’t happen because we were sloppy, like you get heart disease when you eat too much red meat and smoke a lot. It happened because we rashly decided to go there—like young men who jump off the rooftop toward the backyard swimming pool and break their legs on the patio. Like tourists who take unknown roads in countries where they don’t speak the language and are set upon by thieves. Like young women who run off with men they barely know, eloping to Washington State on a whim.
I did that. I eloped to Washington State on a whim in 1989, with a man I had met only twenty-two days before. Why? I was deeply lonely, and I had an intense and irrational hope that it would work, that this man would be kind and thoughtful and loving. That he would—indulge me a little wordplay here—build a wall of safety around me to keep out the bad guys, free me up from financial catastrophe, upgrade the infrastructure of my life. Make it great again.
The differences between my choice of a husband in 1989 and America’s choice of a President in 2016 are stark. Marriages don’t typically affect three hundred million people. Mine affects fewer than ten. Like most marriages, mine isn’t noticed by the people down the block. America’s marriage to the Trump/Pence ticket is different. It affects the people down the block and around the world in incalculably huge ways.
Choices made within my marriage are small, nondescript. If we have made seismically disastrous decisions, only we have suffered from them. If Trump and Pence do the things they say the will do, there is potential for tremendous fall-out, please God not the nuclear kind.
I believe it was Nora Ephron who said, “The minute you decide to get a divorce, do it.” Otherwise, you’re just making it worse, and you’re wasting everyone’s time. Of course, the trouble with divorcing ourselves from Mr. Trump is that then we get Mr. Pence, and frankly, we want both of them to go bye-bye. As the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof says, “May God bless and keep the Tsar . . . far away from us!”
Perhaps Mr. Trump will fire Mr Pence post-haste (for wrongly translating what he says, we imagine, into what he should have said) and then be impeached and convicted for high crimes and Misty Russians. I mean, misdemeanors.
Chins Up, All Ye Hopeful People
I beg your pardon for this rather rambling post. It’s 12:28 a.m. now, and I’m so very sad that America is eight hours and thirty minutes away from Noon Eastern. The good news is, we’re only four years, eight hours, and thirty minutes away from Next Time, may God help us get there in one piece, without having destroyed the wider world in the interim.
It happens that sometimes the unusual happens. Sometimes remarkable events occur. After all, Brian and I are still married twenty-seven years later. Let us hope that those men with spines who failed to use them during the campaign will now stand up, lock those backbones into place, and be the homo erectus they were born to be. Let us hope that Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence are followed—yea, hounded—by the Free Press they seek to muzzle, until the truth is plastered in large and bold type across the front pages of America’s great papers, to which you, of course, have already subscribed, because you are a reader and a patriot, and you know that the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment are foundational to the existence of a free people.
Frankly, I’m bracing for a Trumptastic maelstrom of political stupidity and widespread scandal starting with the Inaugural Address, to be delivered later today, and parsed by all of us in the days to come, because we’re Americans, damn it, and we’re going to take every word that comes out of Mr. Trump’s mouth and Mr Pence’s mouth and hold it up to the light and see what glitters there and what does not.
Still, I am hopeful that the American press will be vigilant as it has never been vigilant before; and I believe that America’s diverse and thoughtful young people have open eyes to see what is going on. I believe they will come out in their millions and millions in 2018 and 2020 to fix this rash nonsensical tragicomedy into which we adults have so foolishly flung our Nation and our World.
So, yes, there are hopes. Yes, there are little rays of sunlight in which one can see a bright future. But today is a dark day. Today is a day of mourning. We have done something to ourselves nearly indescribable. We have chosen a nincompoop to lead the World’s Greatest Democracy. God save us all.