(Familiar Topic, Largely Re-Written)
I’ll admit it—I’m mesmerized.
Like a deviant caught staring at a disgusting video, I’m drawn to this unproductive, dramatic, often calamitous, national spectacle. To Trump.
Utterly spellbound, I can’t look away . . . all the while, castigating myself for a kind of morbid curiosity. Why do I find him so compelling? This man who lies gratuitously, who attacks everyone (even those in his own party)? Who never utters a well-turned phrase unless he’s reading from a teleprompter. Why am I so focused on a childish egotist who, if left alone, will bring calamity down on our nation?
I see the word “Trump” in a headline, and I read it. Always. Every word. With bated breath I search the text, caught up in his latest, mind-boggling utterance (or threat), the immature, unfiltered attacks that reveal him to be . . . well, amazing. It must be because traditionally, villains are fascinating. Even more, because, to some unfathomable degree, he has managed to fool so many people.
So yes, I’ve become repetitious. And I know it. But lately I’ve tried to control myself, have stopped uttering every wayward thought.
Forgiving myself, I recognize that my personal problem dates back to my childhood, when, since age six, I began immersing myself in books. But always those which were exciting, all focused on the human condition . . . full of conflict and drama. In every case I couldn’t stop reading, couldn’t turn away until I saw how the story ended. To me, as a child stuck on an isolated, heavily-forested ranch, those books were more compelling than my everyday life . . . because how breathless can a child remain over a lot of beautiful but quiescent trees?
Now, as an adult, I’m once more caught up in an ongoing drama. But this one is real. This one matters. In some ways my well-being depends on how it ends. (Will I continue breathing clean air, drinking pure water?)
But so do millions of other lives hang on the outcome, most of them more intently than mine. To these millions the story’s ending will determine the size of their paycheck, (will the rich get all the tax breaks?), the nature of their daily interractions (do they need to hide from ICE?), their protection from corporate misdeeds (will all the regulations disappear?) and most assuredly, their level of healthcare. At the fingertips of an unpredictable narcissist lie decisions which can determine how long most Americans will live.
It gets worse: the whims of an ignoramus may affect the very survival of our planet.
So who can look away for a moment—who can fail to hope the story ends the way it should. That this . . . well, this unglued failure of a man continues his steady decline. That he becomes so unthinkable, so lost in his own ego, that he, or others, will ensure that he disappears from the White House forever.
Only then can I finish the book. Without those headlines, America will no longer be a riveting soap opera. Without this so-called president, we may have a government that is rational, objective, qualified. With a chance at equanimity.