Every once in a while, things happen in the world that sadden and discourage me to the point that I don’t feel like writing about politics. That’s how I feel today, in the wake of the attack in Nice, France. There’s no logical reason why I feel worse today than I did when someone opened fire on Dallas policemen or the Orlando night club or the Istanbul airport or in a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh or with a truck bomb in Baghdad.
Maybe having a baseball-crazy son makes it a little personal for me when I look at Sean and Brodie Copeland. Maybe it’s the place and the time of this particular attack. The victims were celebrating the death of monarchy in one of the most idyllic settings in the world, and they were as pluralistic and cosmopolitan as any crowd you could find. Maybe it’s just some kind of personal threshold that was reached here, a point at which I become temporarily demoralized.
But, of course, it’s at times like these that politics are most important, because when we’re talking about an escalating cycle of violence, it’s critical that people don’t succumb to their worst instincts.
I feel the pull of those bad instincts this morning. I’m frustrated and I want easy solutions. I’m mad, and I want to pay somebody back. I’m fearful, and I wan’t someone to make my fear subside, even for a little while. And it’s when I feel like this that I am most appreciative of the man we have in the White House right now. Sometimes, it feels like he keeps things from spinning out of control and that we cannot afford to lose him.
But why waste my breath wishing the country would recognize that he’s just as vital to our needs as FDR was in 1940?
He is leaving office, and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Maybe our political futures belong to the Le Pens and Trumps and Boris Johnsons. Or maybe things aren’t quite so bad, but they’re still not good enough.
I try not to think about it, but it’s my job to write about it.