Dispatches From Hell

He Hasn’t Quit Yet?
(January 1)

Dear God, He’s Still There
(February 12)

The Best Place to Buy Pikes
(March 21)

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We were born in a 49-state America, which is kinda cool, although we didn’t really think about it until recently. You’d think there’d be some notice of 49-star babies, some passing human-interest piece on a slow news day, something exploring our sliver of a Unique Perspective, but that’s what you get when you’re wedged between Boomers and GenX. You get ignored.

Our perspective, as it happens, is that of growing up in America during the Sixties and Seventies, of JFK and RFK and MLK, of Vietnam and Nixon, of gas shortages and pollution. When nostalgia became pop culture, it was for happy days we had never known. Except in reruns.

And when America’s truths became known, we watched everyone run away from them as fast as they could.

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Did we actually have a week off from him?

We think we did. Pretty sure, come to think of it. That week between the holidays, when he wasn’t incessantly demanding our attention.

Felt great! And man, did we pay for it when he got back.

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Two weeks into his presidency, we made a bold prediction: Donald Trump would resign before the year was out. Or, as we colorfully put it: President Pence would be pardoning turkeys this Thanksgiving.

Sure, we hedged it: 50/50 chance, we said. But honestly, that was more about the timing than the event itself. We were sure the job would grind him down within a year.

That it hasn’t is not a testament to Donald Trump’s fortitude. Instead, we failed to take into account his laziness. We thought he would he would be miserable in the Oval Office. And, by all accounts, he is.

He’s just never there.

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The worst part of all this is that there will be no justice.

A man was elected to the highest office in our land with the support — and perhaps collusion — of a hostile foreign government. Months into office, that man could not find it in him to simply condemn the murder of a woman in broad daylight. Two weeks later, he has pardoned a former sheriff who defied a court order to stop jailing people on the mere suspicion they were undocumented immigrants.

And there will be no justice.

The man is not acting alone. He enjoys the support of craven men, also elected to high office, who, whether through fear or venality, refuse to abandon him. And he enjoys the support of the party of those craven men, and the members of that party, who themselves cannot see him and his actions for what they are.

And there will be no justice.

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On Tuesday, July 25, Donald Trump sat down in the Oval Office for an interview with five reporters and editors from the Wall Street Journal. Fresh on his mind was the reaction to his speech to the Boy Scout Jamboree the night before. One of the reporters in the room had called it “mixed”.

“There was no mix there,” Trump said. “That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix.”

But this wasn’t sufficient. It wasn’t enough for Donald Trump to observe the response to his speech from the audience itself. He needed to nail the point.

“I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them,” Trump said.

And there it sat, largely unknown, until Politico published the full WSJ interview transcript this past Tuesday. Now aware of the claim, the Scouts denied any phone call had taken place.

This fascinates us.

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Election night, we were less than, shall we say, hopeful.

“This is really bad,” we explained to a younger friend. “This is really, really bad.” When asked why, we explained that with Republicans controlling everything, there was no brake, no bottom. The trouble they could cause with unrestrained power was endless.

We imagine Republicans thought the same thing. But without the dread.

And make no mistake: There’s some heinous shit going down, particularly with deportations. We have yet to stumble into an active war — nuclear or otherwise — but that’s not without trying. And we hope someone is keeping a list of all the regulations being changed, because they’ll need to be changed back, as soon as the opportunity arises.

But our worst-case fears in the seventy-five days leading up to the Inauguration have not been borne out in the hundred days following. And the reason is the same one that was evident in the week following the Republican convention, the reason we thought we would never reach this moment to begin with:

Donald Trump is a terrible manager.

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