Turning My Back On You Forever

I knew you would be trouble but I didn’t anticipate how much or for how long.  I didn’t anticipate how high-maintenance you would be, when you, with your big head, your big mouth, and your shocking ideas, eclipsed every other craven presidential wannabe in that first GOP cattle call back in 2015.  All I knew was that you would breeze past Hillary, because you spoke to the people’s unspeakable fears and desires.  You were a dangerous iconoclast, a battering ram poised to make what I worshipped go smash.

Your political “look” barely masked what was ruthless and crass.  As a suitor, a little-known arriviste, you ravaged the gentility that makes balanced government run.  On television, you honed your art, getting suppliants to grovel before you, so at odds with the dignified reciprocity of republican government.  You resented polite norms.  This naughtiness was seductive.  Silently, my neighbors began crushing on you.

You trended, went viral—a page right out of Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.  Your message was simple: close our borders, deter China, shore up national sovereignty and American prestige.  Views so simple every voter could understand.  A legitimate paradigm shift, peddled by a dangerously power-hungry man.

As you gained ground, I had to notice, pay attention.  Loathing you, I had to think about you every day.  The good people of America had to be woke.  Collectively, our days turned on figuring you out.  It was up to us (!) to avert your bid to end republican government.  It was surreal: surreal because it was happening.  Really happening!  In our time, as we raked leaves, watched the news, folded laundry.  The first impeachment vote failed as I trimmed a Christmas tree.  Republican after Republican rose to defend you: after that party-line vote, what hope remained?  Congress was tainted.  Only the people’s votes could save the nation from you.  This while tweaking the tinsel, powerless.

You haunted my dreams.  I tweeted and fought about you constantly.  Barry Blitt’s cartoons for the New Yorker mushroomed into a serial novel on my bulletin board.  Those cartoons fortified me, even as I resented you who made them necessary.  You were my atmosphere.  You infiltrated my social life, my intellect, my family.  It was like I knew you, like you were my cellmate and I was doing time.

Then, astonishingly, we prevailed!  Your opponents prevailed.  We barely managed to save the nation from you.  But prevail we did!  On January 6th, a terrified Congress and a furtive vice-president rallied round the Constitution just long enough to save the nation from a full-throttle assault, whose clownishness barely masked a deadly serious coup.  Just enough bravery and independence remained to fend off your lackeys, sedulously peddling the Big Lie.

Now, my obligation to notice you is over.  You lost the election, lost the nation’s trust.  You lost the popular vote, lost the electoral college.  You’re a loser.  The majority of Americans are done with you.  This week, all Blitt’s cartoons came down off the bulletin board, to be filed away.  I’m consigning you to the past, to oblivion.  I’m turning away from you forever, intent on never mentioning your name again.  I see this as a patriotic duty.  As your name goes unuttered, your irrelevance builds.  Only those who treat you as important keep you alive.

I don’t know just what your future will be.  Will you run out of money, grow as seedy as OJ?  Will you ever be found guilty for your evident crimes?  Will you seek refuge in a foreign country?  Be utterly humiliated at the polls?  However it plays out, you are fated to become a pariah one day.  Just as I’m turning my back on you, so society will eventually stop noticing you.

You changed us, you see.  Because we are different, you will never again occupy the presidency.  No matter what the polls say (c’mon!).