President Obama, may blessings rain down on him, slipped this one in quiet.
Anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.
Quiet like a stiletto.
Don’t remember if it was before or after he got me crying by describing a schoolgirl’s drawing of a purple and green owl hanging in his office. She was shot at Newtown. He made his point there pretty good, too.
But the other point. Trump’s a threat of the same sort as Hitler, Stalin, ISIS – don’t be fooled by my rosy vision of American multiplicity, which I do believe, and it is under threat. But if I shout threat! too straitly, I’m doing what he does.
Luckily, he commands not only nuclear codes, but subtext, i.e. complexity.
He’s a great man. If he has been a good, not a great, president, it may be conditions to blame, not him. So it seems to unhistorical me. He stepped into crises not quite acute enough to make his enemies allies, but enough to consume most or all of his care. And his election excited racial and cultural enmities that are to be worked through on a scale not to be measured in election cycles.
Worked through at all? Sometimes I despair of it. The hate on parade at the RNC had me in tears. It had me thinking, there’s too much hate here. I believe a multiracial multipolar acentric amiable comity is possible; I like to call it Canada. But I sometimes despair of whether it’s possible here.
Tonight though, moved by him – even with all the Hollywoodery I am moved by him – I do believe it.
In the days after the RNC, which I could not help but watch at least bits of, I felt helpless. I said to me, just check your inner Trump, that you can do. The easy thing’s to demonize, make him other, nothing-to-do-with-me, but that itself’s a Trump move, and then you’ve already lost.
So I made it a practice, and it wasn’t hard to, after all that hate I wanted to be peaceable. Whatever in me reminded me of Trump, I tried to say “be at peace” to. Little e.g., I was in a bad mood that morning, because my body hurt, and got irritated that someone in the grocery store cut me off with her cart. Could have darted a mean glance. Instead, checked inside, and found I’d rather let it go, and come to rest.
But it’s important to me to say, there’s plenty in me that reminds me of him. Selfishness. Grandiosity. Impatience. Insatiable need for praise. I keep them in check, he doesn’t, that’s an important difference, of course. But still.
The Republicans have become the party of projection and rejection. And now they’ve nominated someone so extreme, so ludicrous, in both those respects, it’s easy for us to reject him and project upon him in our turn.
If we don’t acknowledge there’s some of us in him, some of him in us – we doom ourselves to being governed by him, at least inly.
Or am I wrong? Is that only me? I don’t know. I feel like I’m barely escaping a grave error, while living in a nation barely escaping, maybe, a grave error.
The image up top is a bumper sticker on a pickup truck seen in the Home Depot parking lot the morning after Trump’s speech at the RNC.
You can read it, right? Take a second to consider how you can read it – how you can so easily get from four abstract shapes to a word.
It’s because you do complexity.