When I started this blog in January of 2016, politics was still fun. The Democrats were in the process of anointing Kween Hillary and the Republican situation resembled the closing scene from Reservoir Dogs. I bought this domain, named it after my neighborhood, and used it as a creative outlet on Sunday afternoons to write whatever came to mind, whether it was amateur punditry or long form dad jokes.
But then, it all came crashing down.
On election night, as I walked home from a viewing party at a polling firm (note: never watch election returns with pollsters again) I thought about this blog. What direction would I take it? Would I write my own Democratic Autopsy? Would I wallow in gallows humor and write faux Onion headlines every time Trump did something un-presidential? (Little did I know they’d write themselves).
In the end, I would do none of the above. Over the next 12 months I started and abandoned more posts than your cousin Anthony who is always telling you that this project is the one that will make him millions. I would stare at this cursed blinking cursor and think, “What is the point?”
See, during the election, even though everything that occurred was borderline insane, the general rules of politics still somewhat applied. I could write about what Bernie’s attacks meant for Hillary and it was possible I could be right. I could muse about the future of the Republican party or vent about their absent dissent and it was possible things could turn around.
Now though, with Trump in the Oval Office taking a metaphorical dump on every custom, rite, and moral obligation of the office, I find myself with a chronic case of terminal writer’s block.
Why even bother writing about the insanity of something as banal as the president having not held a solo press conference in over a year when it’s been less than two weeks since we found out his lawyer paid a porn star $130,000 weeks before the election to cover up an affair he had while his wife was with his newborn son and yet the story has disappeared like an untethered umbrella in a hurricane.
I mean holy jumping jacks. Obama’s tan suit garnered more outrage from couches at Fox News than that story did on all three networks combined!
Why even bother writing about how the rollout of the “infrastructure package” has become an inside-the-beltway running joke when during the same week Trump used a school shooting where 17 students were murdered in their classrooms to blast the FBI over their Russia investigation and then proceeded to not only only spend less than 15 minutes with victims at a hospital, but made a picture of himself smiling with them and giving a thumbs up his Twitter banner and no-one batted an eye.
Each of those first stories are something I would have whisked up 700 words in a heartbeat on were it about President Clinton or President (–insert generic Republican–). “What are the merits of shielding your boss from the press?” “Does a nationwide tour with landmark speeches in ‘real America’ really help sell a spending package to Congress?” Discuss.
But hush money to porn stars? Using dead school children as a political axe against the FBI? I need a drink, not a keyboard.
The English language only has so many words. Unprecedented. Insane. Arrogant. Unqualified. Embarrassing. Disgusting. Shocking. Dangerous.
When those words are peppered throughout every op-ed, every editorial page, every Congressional tweet, even every non-biased news article, they lose their meaning.
How many more times can I open the Outlook Section of the Sunday Washington Post and suffer through another thousand words about how the previous week was the craziest week ever recorded?
I can barely muster a halfhearted “Yeah, crazy, huh?” to my co-workers in response to the daily push notifications revealing the latest
episode of Veep White House scandal, much less sit down and try and process what it means.
I sincerely hope this Trump thing is nothing more than a two century old nation having a teenage rebellion crisis. That maybe we’ll stop at dyeing our hair pink and wise up before going for the neck tattoo.
I know while reading this that a handful of you in The Resistance will be thinking that silence and acceptance will further normalize it all and that in fact continually calling it like it is will someday make a difference. In a way, I agree with you. To ignore it all would be to cede that “politics” is lost and “Trumpism” is a new normal. But when porn star hush money can’t crack the news cycle, what can?
Trump is exhausting.
As The Intercept’s James Risen recently put it, the problem with Trump is that he is too transparent. He is so obviously in over his head. He is so obviously a scumbag, a blowhard, a closet-racist, and a lifetime con-artist, that when you take the time to make the case people look at you like, “Did you really need 2,000 words to tell me that water is wet?”
There is no nuance to him, no second layer of the onion. There will never be any thought pieces about what in his life motivated his passion for criminal justice reform. No interviews with careful analysis on how to balance civil liberties with national security. No speech he will ever give will leave anyone in tears. Nothing.
As an amateur writer and weekend blogger, I’m not getting paid for my thoughts. My motivation is purely driven by the events of the week and my passion for what I’m writing about. I don’t have a desk and a research team and ten hours a day of dedicated writing time. I don’t have a morning production meeting to formulate ideas and flesh out new angles.
I just have this laptop with an increasingly shorter battery life, a fantastic chair (shout out to West Elm), and whatever time on Sundays I think is better spent in that chair with that laptop than on a golf course.
How do you continue to play a game when a garbage truck just ran over your ball? How do you make yourself heard when every sentence feels like whispering into a jet engine? How do you make sense of three different 1,000 piece puzzles all titled “Blue Sky” handed to you in the same box?
If anyone has any sage advice, I’m all ears.
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