Image Credits: Manuel Guzman.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit how stunned we were as a staff at the Washington Monthly when Donald Trump won the election in 2016. I think everyone was shellshocked but it fell on Nancy LeTourneau and me to keep everything going, with regular posts as if nothing catastrophic had occurred.
It wasn’t easy. For a while, it was excruciatingly difficult. Very slowly and almost imperceptibly, things began to return to a form of normalcy. Of course, it was impossible not to resist this process since it felt like capitulation or acceptance of something that was wholly unacceptable. But it happened anyway, as the unthinkable became a reality that we had to deal with every day.
Eventually, those initial feelings of dread passed, even as the rationale for the dread was confirmed on a constant basis during all waking hours. We got down to the grind of resistance and the documentation of atrocities. And, in some respects, it became not all the different from the job of blogging during George W. Bush’s two terms in office.
But, I have to tell you that the dread has returned. At least for me, I was sustained for a long time by the feeling that Trump was an aberration that could and would be corrected. The success in the midterms seemed to confirm this. I am no longer finding that kind of sustenance readily available to me.
Things are breaking at such a rapid pace now that it seems like a runaway train, and the idea that this train can be derailed is looking bleaker by the day. For sure, I can still find reasons to hope. The polls suggest that Trump would lose to any candidate the Democrats’ put up. But this feels more like grasping at straws than actual reassurance.
Getting Trump out of office is going to take an all hands on board effort, and I see the opposition as unfocused and splintered. The institutions that could assure a fair election and broken up on the shoals. The establishment is proving powerless to protect its own interests, and those very much include many interests they share with ordinary Americans.
This will be the furthest thing from a fair fight, and the referees are either absent or complicit in Trump’s power grab and lawlessness.
So, it’s just hard to do this work now. I’ll still do it, in part because it’s never been so important. But it’s just a thankless grind most of the time. If you appreciate what I do and would like to encourage me to keep at it, please consider getting a subscription so you can see all my material, including much that doesn’t appear anywhere else.
I still feel like what I do is vital and not available from other sources. I guess that’s what keeps me going.