Years of Living Dangerously

It was just two years ago that the nightmare began.

Two years ago yesterday–June 16, 2015–the man who has contaminated our democracy came down that escalator and began the process of dragging our country down with him.

Some people knew immediately what was coming. Others didn’t think the worst could happen. Did anyone realize just how bad it would get?

The frightening thing is, the horror might not end anytime soon. Not before another recession and/or another war. Not before millions of Americans lose their health coverage. Not before more carbon pollution boils this planet.

Four decades before Trump seized control of the White House, the Australian rock group Skyhooks released the single “Horror Movie,” in which the viewer is terrified by a televised film that is “shocking me right out of my brain!” At the end, it’s revealed that the horror movie in question is not a Hitchcock classic or a supernatural epic, but the nightly news–the contents of which are more frightening than anything Hollywood can come up with.

When Lester Holt, David Muir and Judy Woodruff report on Trump’s latest machinations, is it not scarier than anything spawned from the mind of John Carpenter or the late Wes Craven? A lawless menace is taking a chainsaw to our country’s cohesiveness–and it seems that he cannot be stopped.

This villain may have another victory on Tuesday, if his acolyte Karen Handel wins the Georgia Sixth Congressional District seat left vacant by the appointment of Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary. A win by Handel would be, among other things, a propaganda triumph for Trump and his minions; by defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff, Trump, Handel and their cheerleaders will be able to advance, in both right-wing and mainstream media, the notion that the Indivisible movement can create clever signs, hold large rallies and invent funny hashtags, but when it comes to actually scoring electoral victories, it’s powerless.

Just imagine Trump gloating like crazy on Twitter Tuesday night if Handel wins. The creepy thing is, he’ll have objective reason to gloat: an Ossoff loss will prove beyond all doubt that Trump and the Republican Party are ultimately impervious to the pain of accountability, that the party’s base will always move like a phalanx against Democrats at the ballot box, that the right makes, and enforces, its own rules.

Speaking of that base, they won’t care if they lose health care, or reproductive rights, or basic liberties. As long as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer aren’t running Congress, they’ll think everything is copacetic. Already, those voters do not care about Russian blackmail; they’re just thrilled that the President is no longer a black male.

This is why Trump ran. He knew he could get away with all manner and manifestation of malevolence, as long as enough voters saw him as their savior. It disturbs the nerves to think of Trump surviving the Mueller investigation and occupying the White House through January 20, 2025 because a loyal core of voters will always approve of his actions–and will always turn out in force to keep his political allies in office–but it could happen.

When Trump and his team finally leave the White House, will the damage they did to this country be repaired? It can be argued that the damage Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush did to this country was never truly fixed. Perhaps it’s too dramatic to think that Trump has scarred our country permanently…but perhaps it’s not.

Generations from now, men and women will wonder why so many Americans thought Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Trump–a Mount Rushmore from hell–were qualified and suited to lead. Four of the worst individuals ever to get close to Presidential power acquired it–and collectively brought our country to the edge. The combination of Nixon’s corruption, Reagan’s mendacity, Bush’s warmongering and Trump’s treachery arguably drained the color from the American flag. Perhaps the actual definition of a patriot is someone who recognizes just how much damage these four men have inflicted upon our land.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.