The Death of Hope
Sometimes it fucking sucks to be right. Sometimes being right can feel like death. Sometimes being right can feel so wrong that it threatens to throw your whole moral compass out of wack. That’s how I feel about having written a Big Whoop article about how frustrating it is to see the press constantly predict imminent doom for Trump and his administration, only for Trump to keep chugging along incompetently with the near-total approval of his worshipful base. That’s similarly how I feel about having composed a follow-up post recently about my strong conviction that despite the fervent wishes of the Resistance, I very much doubted that the Mueller Report would change anything.
I hate being right on both counts. The release of the Mueller Report represents nothing less than the death of hope for a lot of people. For two years, Democrats and Progressives and Leftists have been waiting for Mueller to bring down Trump with the adorable, heartbreakingly misplaced optimism of Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin and similarly anti-climactic results.
We told ourselves a story that made the political world, and the world at large seem more hopeful or at least less apocalyptic: a sociopathic con man had cheated his way into the highest office in the land by colluding with Russia to rig the election but Robert Mueller, a ramrod-straight figure of unimpeachable integrity and strong moral character was going to bring Trump down with the most powerful weapon of all: the Truth. We told ourselves that this very good, very honest, very ethical man was going to use his intelligence and experience and ferocious will to take down one of the greatest threats to democracy our nation has ever faced.
We told ourselves that the system wasn’t broken, and that what was right about it (men of dignity and honor like Mueller) would fix what was wrong about it (Trump’s election and all he represents). We wanted desperately to believe this to be true. Hence the heartbreaking ubiquity of the “Mueller Time” meme. I saw a dude in a “It’s a Mueller time!” Tee-shirt yesterday and felt sad for him, and for myself and my country.
We can’t tell that story anymore. The story that we’ve been telling ourselves and each other to feel less hopeless has been trumped, no pun intended, by the endlessly self-serving narratives of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is less a politician than a storyteller. His extraordinary success as a storyteller is, needless to say, not rooted in the sophistication or truth or complexity of his ideas or the narratives he spins. On the contrary, Trump is an astonishingly successful storyteller because the stories he tells are so crude and simple, so juvenile and rooted in Trump’s myopic conception of himself as a heroic underdog David slaying an endless series of evil, career politician Goliaths like Crooked Hillary and Ted Cruz.
Trump kicked off his campaign with a typically vulgar, hateful bit of storytelling: Mexico was sending rapists and drug dealers and murderous, brown-skinned gang members over the border to rape our white women and take our jobs!
The stories Trump told the American public oftentimes didn’t make sense, or were transparently false or incredibly racist. ISIS and Mexican gangs have joined forces in a caravan of death! Hillary Clinton deleted a bunch of emails where she admitted to an endless series of crimes! Obama is tapping my phones! I had the biggest inaugural crowd of any gathering in this or any other known universe!
The self-serving stupidity and falseness of Trump’s stories didn’t seem to matter to his followers. They didn’t care if they weren’t true: they felt true. They fed into a narrative that depicted Trump’s followers as bold renegades and free thinkers that they dug because it cast them in as worshipful a light as their leader and false idol.
For the last two years, Trump has been telling the same story over and over and over and over again, to the point of madness.
Trump has been screaming that the Mueller investigation was the greatest witch hunt of all time, that crazed partisan Mueller (a lifelong Republican, incidentally) had a crazed personal vendetta against him and that it was really the Democrats and Crooked Hillary who were colluding with Russia to deprive Trump of the historic, blow-out popular and electoral victory he’d been cruelly and illegally denied by millions upon millions of illegal immigrants voting illegally for his opponent.
Now that bullshit narrative has received a massive shot of legitimacy from a dude Trump has spent the last two years publicly railing against with the unhinged personal venom he usually reserves for dead war heroes. Trump has similarly spent much of the past week verbally urinating on the grave of an American revered by many in a haze of psychotic rage and now the universe has rewarded him for that, and every other affront to basic decency with a big old win that removes an ominous shadow that has hung over his embattled presidency almost from its inception.
It just isn’t fair. It just isn’t fucking fair but as I have had to remind myself over and over again to stay sane in an insane world, fair ain’t got shit to do with anything. Good men and women lose their minds with disappointment expecting the world to be fair when it is not, has never been, and will never be.
You thought Trump had an ego and an attitude before? I fear we have yet to see the worst, that he’s going to treat this as God Himself giving his performance as Commander-in-Chief a 12 out of 10 and condemning Crooked Hillary to Hell in front of all humanity.
There is no Great Pumpkin. Santa Claus isn’t real. Mueller will not save us. And we all better brace for this getting a whole lot tougher. But it’s worth the fight. It’ll take more than this colossal disappointment for us to lose hope completely. We’ve got to keep on fighting because the stakes are too high and we can’t let these bastards win. Trump sure seems to have largely won this battle. Thankfully the war for this country’s soul is far from over and I’m pretty sure we have Captain America and Captain Marvel on our side.
I’m trying to survive the Trump years over at https://patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace and I sure could use your help
and also I’ve got a groovy Kickstarter going over at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weirdaccordiontoal/make-the-weird-accordion-to-al-book-a-ridiculous-r?ref=user_menu