Let’s face it… there are no adults left anymore…
Trying to think about the level of dread and dismay in the air, and trying to think about whether or not I’ve felt it before. I suppose I’ve always tended to feel that somewhere in the world there are people who older and wiser than me that have things in hand. Somewhere in the world, there are adults.
On the day when the most dignified US president in my lifetime makes way for the least dignified US president of anybody’s lifetime, it’s clear that the adults are gone for good, unless (God Help Us All), we become them. Unless I, for example, start to finally behave like an adult. Having to take charge is a dreadful prospect. Whatever disappointments progressives around the world may have experienced with Obama he was, pre-eminently, a grown up. Trump is seventy years old, and has never taken adult responsibility for anything and never will.
Of course, I can still remember the dread when Reagan was elected. There was a sense that this senile movie star with a tenuous grip on reality might well unleash nuclear war on some sort of whim. Reagan, it turns out, was an ignorant and lazy man who didn’t care enough about America (or the world in general) to actually do the job he was elected. His destructive and criminal administration created (or gestated, or accelerated) many of the crises that afflict the twenty-first century. But some of the people around him seemed to be sane.
Trump is even more ignorant than Reagan. He’s ignorant because he’s a sociopath who despises other people far too much to ever listen to what they might have to say. But he’s not lazy in the same sense. He’s a hyper-active con man and sex criminal who devotes every waking minute to crushing his enemies. His idea of “work” is indistinguishable from a determination to make someone, somewhere, “pay”.
And as of today, he’s in charge. And he’s surrounded himself with people who flatter him and will promote his own, oddly infantile agenda. Trump has never attained adulthood, because of his extreme ego-weakness. He’s never managed to establish stable and sustainable concepts of “self” and “other”, and he’s a mess of inchoate drives that function on the basis that the universe was created merely to flatter him. He’s never learned to enjoy feeling part of something that is bigger than he is. So despite his joyless and quantitative obsession with sexual conquest, he hasn’t really hit puberty yet. Without committed, sustained, and sequestered therapy, it is extremely unlikely that he ever will.
I suppose Obama’s natty little soundbite about “being the people we’ve been waiting for” now has a razor sharp urgency to it. Nobody in the world can afford to be apolitical or ignorant any more. Nobody can keep their heads down assuming that there are adults in control. We’d all just better live better informed and more responsible lives. We’d all better intervene in the political process in calculated and knowledgeable ways.
Darn it, and I had all these box sets I was looking forward to getting through.