For the last year and a half I've devoured Donald Trump. Tweets. News. All of it. It didn't take long for my wife to grow tired of my obsession, watching from a distance as I spooned cereal into my mouth, sitting beneath the flickering glow of the early morning television screen, drooling over our president's every word.
I'm not in love with Trump--far from it--I'm infatuated with him. He's a violent car wreck on the side of the road. The kind that blocks traffic, commuters grinding to a halt as they crane their necks, straining for just a glimpse of a bloody hand pressed hard to the window, flames billowing out over the interstate.
Lately, I've even started to believe maybe some good can come of such wreckage. Maybe the swamp needed to be drained. Maybe "GREATNESS" is something America should strive for, fight for, get down in the mud and woller for ...
There are better ways to conduct business--better ways to run a country--we all know it. No amount of political success can account for Trump's lack of tact, his general nastiness to all of those who defy him. And for the longest time, I enjoyed the onslaught. I enjoyed the show.
But that changed today.
There I was, hunched over my bowl of cereal, still in my pajamas, as my wife got breakfast prepared for our infant daughter. The news started off with the latest mass shooting. I can't even remember which one. It probably ran for five minutes, no more, then straight back to Trump:
And then something flipped over in my gut. I'd devoured one too many Trump-Flakes, gouged myself on that gooey Creamsicle concoction, and suddenly, I was in need of a good bowel movement.
I stood and turned the television off.
Problem was, I knew he was still out there somewhere, stooped over his cell phone, orange thumbs gouging away at the screen. Trump changed the world with those thumbs, and mark my words--we'll never get rid of him.
Throughout my obsession, I've held close to the idea that "this too shall pass." That sooner or later Trump would do something so outlandish, so cruel, he'd eventually have to face reality. Or we'd just wait until 2020 and move on, start fresh, albeit a little less innocent, but hopefully all the wiser.
But now I realize, Trump will never go away.
Imagine the future: Whoever becomes the next president will cringe every time they make a misstep, every time the mob grows fickle like the mob is wont to do. And they will make mistakes; they all make mistakes. Hopefully, though, the president-to-come will be strong enough to admit it.
But it will not matter.
Somewhere in Trump Tower, those orange thumbs will be flying. Angry tweet after angry tweet, explaining how he would have handled the situation differently, handled it better, like, SO much better! We'll probably see more of his face, too. Imagine that. There might even be a new television series: President Trump's American Apprentice (I'm holding out hope it won't get good ratings; we've all seen that show before).
With the television off and my dim reflection staring back at me, I started to wonder if there was any way to go back to the way things were: "sexual relations" in the Oval Office, JFK with a Playboy Bunny on his lap--the regular kind of evil we'd all grown accustomed to.
But, sadly, no, we've entered a new age of political immorality, a new stage of debauchery. There are no rules, no higher standards--not even the illusion of morality--and there's no turning back from it.
The benefits outweigh the costs. Votes will always be needed. And even death will not free us from the sniveling gruel of Donald Trump. I can see it now, Trump laid up in some golden hospital bed, machines beeping in time with his heart. Beside him sits Don Jr., orange fingers tapping away at his father's screen.
The machines go silent, The Donald closes his eyes, and still orange fingers tap the screen.
Eli Cranor, who writes and teaches in Arkansas, was awarded the Robert Watson Literary Award from Greensboro Review. He is currently at work on a novel and can be reached at elicranor.com.
Editorial on 06/04/2018