There have been nearly 50 iterations of this post. I keep revising and deleting and starting over and ultimately wondering if I should even bother. This is the shortest and least angry of them.
President Donald Trump. Over two months since he won the election and it’s still hard to believe, or accept.
Never mind the incompetence he’s displayed during the transition (one observer memorably described it as “like a monkey trying to fk a football”), the avalanche of corruption likely to follow, or the existential fear inspired by an angry, unstable man putting his finger on the nuclear button. One young mother I know is simply trying to figure out how to keep her children from imitating Trump’s boorish, bullying behavior, and from imitating other children whose parents are not so vigilant. Just as American life became somewhat more graceful, open, and fair during the Obama years, it is about to become smaller and meaner and more petty now, in ways we cannot yet predict.
As I did when the Iraq War began in 2003, I have been thinking about W. H. Auden’s poem, “September 1, 1939,” and the part that goes,
Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.
Many Americans are taking comfort in conventions right now, telling themselves that because the furniture of home is all still in place, everything’s gonna be fine. That the lights can never go out and the music will never stop playing.
But we’re in the haunted wood now, and this is not an average day.