From My New Collection of Poetry, Waiting for Word, a poem, “Impolitic Manifesto”
After four years, I almost don’t remember what I used to talk about politically besides Donald Trump. I exaggerate, but only to tell a truth. My first ever essay on Medium well over four years ago, in March 2016, was “The Necessary, Honorable Thing: Denounce Trump,” with a stop along the way for “Unexceptional America” and ending, almost, with my most recent, “Existential Choice in the Time of Trump: Conscience and Human Judgment.” Along the way, too, at Areo Magazine, I published “Donald Trump and The ‘Partisan Divide’: A Senseless Account of American Discord” and “The Illegitimate President: Donald Trump and the Faking of Democracy.” If someone did an analysis of my tweets over the past four years, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that 80–90% of them in that time were in some way related to Trump.
You might say that Trump has been on my mind.
I was hardly alone. There are working journalists, and I don’t mean reporters working the White House or a Trump beat, who probably wrote about the man every day for all this time. Some people came to belittle this apparent preoccupation as an obsession or a derangement, but that kind of shallow mockery was actually a symptom of the problem — the uncomprehending ejaculations of those unable to see what had happened to them and, so, the country.
What does one do when the greatest, greatly flawed (we are only humans, after all) creedal nation and liberal democracy so far in the history of this world faces a second challenge to its existence, a challenge with dire consequences for the entirely of humankind? As I write these words it is only in the past twenty-four hours that reports emerged of a dramatically argumentative meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump entertained ideas from the…