So, we “let Donald be Donald.” And what did it get us?
We’re not going to tabulate the number of executive orders specifically designed to erase the idea, presence, and effectiveness of President Obama.
Nor are we going to list those liberties and privileges we’re held for 240 years that – thanks to the Donald and his blue ribbon cabinet – seem to be blowin’ in the wind.
Even the energy to oppose, counter, demonstrate against what’s been happening these past seven months has dissipated.
Many of us who voted against Donald decided, one by one it appears, that at least he isn’t Vladimir Putin, an outright dictator. Although he may be an admiring acolyte of Mr. Putin’s, Trump has so far found that to be president is NOT the same thing as being KING. He may not like it, but he seems to be adjusting.
So, “we let Donald be Donald.”
That, alas, seems to have been a mistake.
We cannot have been the only old codger, wrapped in Dickensian night cap and scarf, blankets to his chin, who found sleeping impossible Wednesday night. Even as we told ourselves we were being alarmist, fretting over nothing that could conceivably happen. Realizing that Donald had boxed himself in to action of some kind kept us awake as we actually tried to imagine some way out of the puzzle into which Mr. Trump had ad-libbed us all.
Not having been to Guam did not keep us from imagining the death and destruction of its inhabitants. Or from picturing the horrendous conflagration of Seoul. Which might well have led to list-making: potable water, toilet paper, duct tape, tuna fish, peanut butter, medicines. Remembering the duck-and-cover fifties we found those lists to be unchanged and as reassuring (hah!) as they had been before.
We couldn’t feel quite so optimistic as we had years earlier. SEATO had disappeared; NATO was unlikely to leap into a fray so far from its base. The subcontinent of India is otherwise occupied. Australia is unhappy.
We’re out there all alone. Our military establishment seems to be letting Donald be Donald, and as he “doubles down” it’s clear that the president has neither information, a sense of history, respect for diplomacy. Rather than bombing the —- out of ISIS, we’re going to bomb the —- out of North Korea.
To millions, Donald is THE MAN. Members of Congress have lined up behind him as they usually do in international crises. Criticism of a president stops at the water’s edge, we’ve been told.
It doesn’t make us feel better to acknowledge that the threat to the US is not from the Donald but from North Korea.
So we look around and keep our ears open. The stock market seems largely impervious to what may or may not occur. Businesses and people throughout the country are still making plans, to expand, to vacation. Our infrastructure remains on a list of things “to do.” Our nuclear arsenal has been growing. The “alt-right” is rolling gleefully. The Democrats are nowhere. Women are underpaid. Blacks and Hispanics are still the most honored guests in our prison systems. Drugs are being consumed at record levels. Babies are having babies. Food stamps continue to be worth their weight in gold. Corporations continue to make promises of research and development.
Donald is still being Donald.
How foolish we feel to be alarmist. To criticize our own Dear Leader seems pointless.
Yet at the back of our minds, in our memories, are days of sunshine and baseball, scholarships, the NIH, intellectual curiosity, brilliant scientific achievements, great books, family reunions. Pride in our armed forces. Helping to feed the world. Helping to heal the world. Helping to educate the world. Electricity, Google, cellphones. Space exploration. Lemonade stands. Voting rights.
It may be that Donald is going to get away with it.
Then where are we?