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The Great Trumpkin Rises From The Trumpkin Patch

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The Great Trumpkin Rises From The Trumpkin Patch


Sometimes, you’ve got to go through it to get to it.

That’s a personal motto with which I have occasionally consoled myself since I was a teenager. It means that for as much as we naturally seek to avoid the unpleasant situation, to find a way over or around it, there are times in this life when the only option is to go through it, to endure the unendurable thing and pick up the pieces on the other side.

That philosophy has succored me through breakups, deaths, and career reversals. I find myself turning to it again to gird for the inauguration of the 45th president.

For years, many of us have sought to avoid, to go over or around, the consequences of the Republican Party’s retreat from seriousness. Meaning its studied outrage, its practiced hysteria, its obstructionism, its bigotry, its withdrawal into a facts-free alternate universe, its embrace of human cartoons like Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, and Herman Cain. But avoidance is no longer an option, and the impossible is upon us.

The Great Trumpkin is rising from the Trumpkin patch. Cliff Clavin just got the last laugh on the gang at “Cheers.”

The most flagrantly unfit man in history is about to be sworn in as president. And for the first time in my life, I am not optimistic about America’s future — at least not its next four years. There is no disaster, up to and including a nuclear exchange, that would surprise me under the incoming administration.

If you need a silver lining, I can offer only this: Assuming America survives the next four years in any recognizable form — by no means a foregone conclusion — I suspect Donald Trump’s debacles and the sheer tiresomeness of the man himself, will so thoroughly discredit this strain of Republicanism as to destroy it completely.

Maybe then the country will be in a mood for serious people — Democratic and Republican — with serious ideas again. That’s what passes for hope these days. Meantime, I have made a resolution: I will, at all costs, retain my capacity for outrage.

Yes, that will be easier said than done.

The capacity for outrage is like a physical muscle in the sense that it tires from being overworked. And certainly, Trump has worked our capacity for outrage like a drill sergeant.

Shock upon shock, insult upon insult, falsehood upon falsehood, he has been a daily deluge of the unbelievable and the unthinkable until you don’t even know what to respond to first. Shall we answer the misogyny? But then, what about the bigotry? Shall we decry the incompetence? Will that leave us time to deal with the ignorance? The man is a white noise of badness.

The danger is that it comes to seem normal, that you stop seeing how truly bizarre it is. One of the things that makes us human, after all, is our resilient adaptability. Whether sickened by cancer, swamped by flood, broken by bankruptcy, or savaged by war, we always find a way to accommodate ourselves to the new circumstance. With good humor and quiet courage, we accept the new normal.

But I refuse to do that now.

Doing it now would feel less like an act of courage and good humor than one of surrender, of forgetting that there was once a time dignity, intelligence, honesty, and statesmanship were traits we desired and demanded in our leaders. But if we forget that, we forget us, and then we are well and truly lost.

Love of country demands better. Martin Luther King once said he was “proud to be maladjusted” to the inequities and inequalities of his time. That works for me.

So I am proud to be maladjusted to Donald Trump.

IMAGE: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a nationally syndicated commentator, journalist, and novelist. Pitts' column for the Miami Herald deals with the intersection between race, politics, and culture, and has won him multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

The highly regarded novel, Freeman (2009), is his most recent book.

  • 1


    1. FireBaron January 18, 2017

      We know that’s all you have to say. No need to keep repeating it.

    2. Thoughtopsy January 18, 2017

      Dumbasszilla can’t type any more.
      It’s the Alzheimer’s, you see.

    3. I Am Helpy January 19, 2017

      OK thanks for the humorless meme someone else made.

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 18, 2017

    The more I reflect on Trump’s other-worldly behavior—a behavior that exceeds all norms one would expect for any decent person regardless of race, religion, gender, etc., the more distorted rump and company appear. Further, it is important to note that the presidency Trump has seized, ostensibly by a democratic process yet with plenty of outside help, is the perfect venue for a man consumed with as gigantic an ego as Trump’s. Such a large ego with plenty of bombast has tickled the fancy of many mindless voters who’re more impressed with showmanship than substance, and can blithely ignore Trump’s shameful behavior at the blink of an eye.

    Someone suggested or implied that we overlook Trump’s faults, or that he would all of a sudden become “Presidential”. Others could care less if he’s presidential as long as a Wall gets built and they can get a job to fill the refrigerators with a steady flow of “spirits” and whatnot. Then there is the general view that elections in America amount to no more than some gladiator event pitting one contestant against another—one Party against another, and to the victor goes the spoils and the right for the stadium attendees to sell “wolf tickets” for at least 4 years.
    Such trivializing and commercialization of Democracy as only Americans can do undemines the very ideal of a nation seeking to be united and one would hope wants to lead the world by example. Alas, this noble concept is shrouded in the dust of the chariot races, and buried under the carcasses of lions, elephants, and gladiators.

  2. Bill Smith 999935 January 18, 2017

    More fake news. The guys that invented it keep spewing it.

    1. FireBaron January 18, 2017

      Yep. And y’all know all about fake news, like hundreds of thousands of Arabs dancing in the streets in New Jersey on 9/11. Yep.

    2. Thoughtopsy January 18, 2017

      Great counter-points and evidence there.
      I especially like how you failed to give anything other than an example of your laziness and ignorance to support your personal opinion.

    3. I Am Helpy January 19, 2017

      What part is fake, KKKomrade? I get that, as a high-school dropout, you never attended anything resembling a debate, but you really need to grow beyond feeble insults.

      1. Bill Smith 999935 January 19, 2017

        Well, look who it is, ‘I Am Welpy’, the wonder-douche. Since you have
        nothing of interest to say about this thread, I will commence to
        ignoring you….now.

        1. Jim Samaras January 19, 2017

          Lil Septic Filler Helpy is at his hypocritical best again I see. I like the wonder douche thing. Very fitting for this fu^ktard

        2. I Am Helpy January 19, 2017

          Sorry you couldn’t answer the question! I’d expect nothing less.

  3. plc97477 January 19, 2017

    dump’s “election” has done one thing for me. I have reached my BS limit. I don’t see any reason why I should give a hoot about what the “give him a chance” people think. I consider anyone who would vote for putin’s puppet a traitor to my country and I no longer care what they think.

  4. Jim Samaras January 19, 2017

    Your capacity for outrage will wane soon as Trump does what he says he will do and bring you kicking, screaming and crying to the reality that he is the best president in your lifetime.


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