I am solo parenting this week. My husband is visiting his family in New Zealand for his father's birthday. Since our schedule is built assuming two adults shuttling children around, I knew this was going to be a tough week, and told my main client I'd be working fewer hours. Even so, this week has kicked my butt.
I can't deconvolute how much of the exhaustion I feel is from the increased parenting load and how much is from the general dumpster fire of American life right now. Honestly, I'm hoping it is mostly the former, since that at least has a defined end date.
I haven't been writing about the dumpster fire lately because I don't find that I have anything new or insightful to say. I agree with Josh Marshall on this: I watched Republicans build a bomb and present it to the American electorate, who lit the fuse. And now it has exploded, and well, what can I saw except "I told you so?" On my better days, I can say "I really wish you hadn't done that, but since you did, how about you help clean up the mess?" But not all days are my better days.
Here are some things I'm thinking that maybe I haven't said before:
(1) I think it is highly likely that Trump will destroy the Republican party as it currently exists. In fact, he may already have done so and we're just watching it stagger through a zombie phase. I don't know. The questions that remain open are whether he will destroy the credibility of the conservative movement in America, and whether he will indeed destroy America as we know it. I confess that I don't really care about the former, except in as much as I have friends who would not feel they had a political voice without a viable conservative party and as a general principle, I think it is better for people to feel that they have a political voice. I care a lot about that latter, though, and am completely serious that I think it is very much an open question right now. I see reasons for hope, and maybe sometime I should do a post with links to the things that give me hope. But then I see the polls and think it is a toss up.
(2) Speaking of the polls, I saw one this week (and sorry, I'm too tired to go find it and link to it) that indicated that there is a core of Trump supporters who will be with him no matter what he does, and estimated that was about 25% of the country. That's more than I'd like, but easily defeatable... if the other 75% gets its act together and tries. I think the 2018 elections will be our first real read out on whether the 75% can get its act together. Will the Republicans horrified by Trump find it in themselves to vote for a Democrat for Congress so that we can impeach the man? Will the Democrats stop arguing over whether we should have "single payer" or "a public option" and all turn out to vote no matter what? I don't know. I've said before that the 2018 elections are the most important in my life. And I don't really know how to best help the 75% get its act together. I've been thinking about that a lot.
(3) Nazis and the KKK are bad. To be fair, I hadn't said that before because it seemed obvious, but the events of this week have demonstrated that maybe we all need to say it out loud every now and then.
There's much, much more to talk about with regards to the types of white supremacy that are less obvious than highly armed Nazis marching in the streets, but that will have to wait for another night. It is late, and I have to get up early tomorrow and shuttle the kids to where they need to be so that I can try to get some work done. For tonight, I'll just say that there is a slim chance that the end result of this dumpster fire is actually something better: An America that has faced up to the sins of its founding and its past, and started to talk about how to make amends and how to build a truly inclusive multi-racial society. I hold onto that slim chance as a reason not to just look away from the dumpster fire. The optimist in me says that maybe if enough of us refuse to look away, we can make some progress, and the best part of me says that whether it will work or not, we at least need to try. So I will try.