’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was happy, not even a mouse. Where to begin to recount all the reasons for the winter of our discontent. Start with the stock market collapse. As of 2:52 p.m. EST on Christmas Eve, the Dow was down 653.17, or almost 3 percent., for the worst Christmas Eve plunge in its history. But that may turn out merely to be the tip of the Titanic-slaying iceberg. I know, frightening, isn’t it?
The real problem is that we are utterly rudderless. El Presidente Trumpet, sensing the vise of the Robert Mueller Russkie investigation is tightening, is increasingly desperate to deliver a big win for the base with funding for the impractical border wall and a pullout of armed forces from Syria. It is seemingly about America First, but if Donnie Two Scoops were really interested in keeping America first, he would not want us to disengage from the world, which creates a twofold problem. First, it’s about face time with a lower case “F” and “T.” In order to lead the free world, you have to appear actually to lead the free world. Second, if you disengage, you risk increasing threats to your own safety. Better the devil you know, as the saying goes.
This, however, has never been about America first. Instead it’s always been about Trump first, last and eternally. Remember that there are only two things that matter to a narcissist — what he wants and the moment he wants it. And what Hair Furor wants, needs really, is that daily fix of slavish devotion. Anyone who refutes him must go, preferably sooner rather than later. Exit Secretary of Defense James Mattis, stage right. (And thank you, general, for your service in defense of our one-million-plus member armed forces.) He joins the lengthening list of other babysitters — former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, even former staff secretary Rob Porter, who, according to Bob Woodward’s “Fear,” was trying to save the country from Trump’s worst instincts before he was canned as a wife-beater — who are gone, too. Our foreign policy is in total disarray, which is great because it perfectly complements the state of the stock market and soon the economy. Think about it: There’s no collusion but every act of the administration is like a page out of Vladimir “Vlad the Lad, Rootin’, Tootin’” Putin’s playbook. We’re worried about the gangs and drug cartels poring over the southern border, but we’re not worried about ISIS regrouping in Syria when we pull out or a breakdown in international counterterrorism cooperation. We want to stop policing the world but we can support a Saudi bombardment of Yemen that is only starving the populace. We want to protect our own, but really what’s going to be left to protect when all we have left is fear itself.? Who’s going to pull us out of this rabbit hole?
We’re going to have to rescue ourselves, but then, hasn’t that always been the American way? We must begin with ourselves, our communities. Now is no time to let down in our commitment to excellence, to service to others. Next we’re going to have to look to the leaders who do remain and rally ’round them, perhaps even become leaders ourselves. Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already demonstrated that she is not afraid to stand up to Trump. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is on his way to becoming the reliable swing vote on the court. (Thank you, Mr. Roberts.) Supremes Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is hanging tough even as the Trumpettes circle like vultures. (You go, RBG.) There are exciting up-and-comers in the Democratic Party — Conor Lamb, Stacey Abrams and, say it with me, Beto, Beto, Beto (O’Rourke). There are sensible Republicans who want to take their party back. (That means you, John Kasich and Mitt Romney.) And the old Obama coalition of women (most of the educated ones anyway), minorities and millennials is, as the midterms proved, not dead. Not by a long shot.
Christmas is the season of hope, and hope, Emily Dickinson wrote, “is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”