Even after Saturday morning’s clear victory and night of glorious speeches, we’re still stuck in the mud of Trump. “Reality TV” is, by its nature, manufactured, so it is horribly fitting that in these lame duck days of this nightmare of a presidency, this master of the medium is once again creating an alternate reality with his alternative facts. I am holding on to hope and faith that we will emerge from this revolting goop more or less intact.
A word of hope
by Rebecca Crichton, Seattle, Washington
I’m just beginning to let in the reality that Trump and his mean minions won’t be around for too much longer. I thought I would sleep well Saturday night, having heard Kamala and Joe speak whole sentences that made sense, showing real emotions that were human, touching, aspirational. I loved that their speeches were described as ‘normal,’ ‘what you would expect,’ ‘unifying.’
A friend said she had heard someone say that “Boring is the new thrilling.” That’s fine with me. Reliable and accountable, experienced and organized, respected, respectful, service-oriented. I’m just fine with revisiting the past words we used for bureaucratic behavior.
And I remind myself how it will take time to stop feeling hyper-vigilant, geared up for the next terrible thing. Many of us have been slowly and consistently traumatized by the past four years. Whatever analogy we use: Frogs in increasingly hot water; learned helplessness like the animals in experiments with inconsistent rewards; all the ways we discovered ourselves tolerating the intolerable—we can relate.
And now there is a sense we might not have to live like that in the future. We know there are and will be things that will keep us alert and wary—we’re in a pandemic after all, just saying. But I believe they won’t offend our sense of decency and the need for kindness. The regular diet of lies and misinformation won’t turn our stomachs daily. For those of us who can’t resist Twitter and Facebook, hopefully we won’t be outraged and helpless day after day.
We might even learn how to manage a self-righteous blue wave of Schadenfreude, as we watch the drama of reality vs. fantasy unreel. I admit to wanting to see several members of the Trump team be snatched up into the Rapture. And the endless memes and jokes will undoubtedly still grab me.
And I don’t want a regular diet of feeling superior and entitled. It’s not good for my health or the health of our nation. I know I’m not the only one who is increasingly irritated at the constant begging for money from every politician running for office, with the word ‘humbly’ used so often it’s lost meaning. Nevertheless, I want to embrace the concept of humility and how it allows for nuance and recognition of other views, other possibilities.
Marilyn Raichle, a colleague in the aging field, has spent the past four years finding a Word-of-the-Day to describe Trump. The file is remarkable. She discovered words dating back centuries, from many sources, to try to capture the particular horribleness of what we were seeing every day. She stopped Sunday, having shared her last word, one of hope:
CONJUBILANT – adj. shouting together for joy; jubilant or rejoicing together …1851 from Medieval Latin conjubilāntem, from con- + jubilāre to shout with joy
May it be so!