The Threat from Within

Are you OK?

It has been two weeks since he took over, imposing his dark vision upon this country. It has been two weeks since he declared war on religious minorities, our environment, our democracy. It has been two weeks since this nightmare officially began.

I want to know how you are doing. How are you holding up?

How are you dealing with the scorn this man has for his office and for his fellow citizens? How are you dealing with his snarling tone, his nasty demeanor, his basement character?

Are you dealing with despair? Depression? Fear? Anger?

I can tell you how I feel in the two weeks since it started. I feel a growing sense of contempt–contempt not just for those who couldn’t see right through this man, and not just for those who insisted that there was no moral, ethical or intellectual difference between this man and his Democratic opponent. This contempt extends towards those who couldn’t be bothered to vote at all, who thought the 2016 Presidential election wasn’t that big of a deal, who basically paid no attention throughout the campaign.

Many of those Americans are horrified now. Why weren’t they horrified then? Why weren’t they horrified when Trump began his presidential campaign two years ago? Why weren’t they horrified years ago, when he started promoting the idea that Barack Obama wasn’t born in this country? Why didn’t they wake up before it was too late?

The contempt keeps growing. We could have avoided this nightmare had those Americans taken this man seriously from the start, and used whatever economic and cultural power they had to deny this man a forum on the American political stage. We could have avoided this nightmare if more Americans cherished democracy.

Now, the only political force that can stop this man’s malevolence is a unified Democratic Party–and it remains unclear if the party will in fact get its act together. There’s a reason why the controversy surrounding the race to succeed Debbie Wasserman Schultz as head of the Democratic National Committee is so disturbing: if the party cannot unify behind the winner of this contest, that will be a clear sign that Democrats will remain divided throughout this man’s term (or terms?) as President.

In just two weeks, this man has indelibly stained this country. Remember when it was de rigueur for Republicans to question the patriotism of Democrats? Well, sauce for the good is sauce for the gander, and to that end, there is nothing wrong with questioning this man’s love for this country, for reasons having nothing to do with the Russians. It is one thing to be a patriot with a right-leaning, if not right-wing, ideological bent: Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney had certain ideological preferences and a distinct vision for where they wanted to take the country, but no one could argue that they held the United States itself in contempt. This man, however, seems to think that the country that he now governs basically sucks, that it was never great in the first place. Those who he has surrounded himself with also seem to have the same vicious vision.

This is why it’s different. This is why it’s uniquely disgusting. We have survived Presidents who had ideologically driven views of what is wrong and right. This man believes that wrong is right.

I want to know how you are feeling, how you are surviving, how you are holding up. Do you find yourself waiting for these four (or eight?) years to move by as quickly as possible? Are you finding that acquaintances who were previously uninterested in politics are now chomping at the bit to fight this man and his agenda? Have you stopped speaking to family members or supposed friends who continue to embrace every sick and sadistic thing this man stands for?

This is an open thread. How are you getting through this?

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.