East of Normal

The suffering news junkie

I used to be a news junkie. I loved being informed, loved editorials (so long as I agreed with them), and watched the Sunday morning pundits with relish. Now I don’t watch the news. I can’t bear it. I’ve found I can’t stomach any more coverage of … him.
      I can’t even say his name, or look at his florid meat-eater’s face, or, worst of all, listen to him talk. The only good thing that comes from the latter is a drinking game. Everybody takes a drink whenever he says, “believe me,” or “unfair,” or repeats the same sentence fragment he just said, or raises his right hand and touches the tip of his thumb to his forefinger. And when he uses a derisive nickname for some antagonist or says “disaster,” you chug your whole glass. When he tweets, you kill yourself, because the last thing anyone wants from Jabba the Hutt is another godforsaken tweet.
      It’s all piled up like a mountain of brown sewage on the courthouse steps. With every infantile tweet, every foreign leader he alienates, every whiplash message shift, with every redneck Bund rally held to feed a narcissistic ego that’s beyond the pale, the pile gets taller and taller, with a redolence that offends over more of the Earth as prevailing winds carry the notion of the U.S. as a laughingstock. As a country, we’ve long been hated by many, loved by many others, and feared too. But a laughingstock? That’s a new one.
      Not even W made us a laughingstock. Perhaps in his first few months, yes, he was at least himself one. Then 9/11 happened and the country went categorically insane. W became the dangerous Cheney-puppet mouthpiece for people whose political beliefs were a nanosecond left of Hitler’s. And now? Do we really live in a world now where W comes off as a wizened elder statesman? We actually look at W now and console ourselves with the notion that he was a moron with a heart, whereas the current president is a moron without one. Are we really in a world where this can be so?
      The worst of our current president’s traits is his absolute surrender to dishonesty. He’s a carny barker, a used car salesman in a checkered blazer who has lied so long and so often that the truth is never his first option anymore. He lies about big things and small things, and tells lies when he doesn’t even have to. Nixon’s word meant more. Clinton mainly lied about “sexual relations” — and show me a man over 25 who hasn’t. The current corpulent charlatan’s word is worthless.
      And still his supporters love him. They love him because the economy is good, because unemployment is below four percent, because it’s a sunny day outside, because their lucky left toe is itching, and most of all because he makes them feel more comfortable about their own prejudices.
      But they won’t love him forever. Let’s see how reverent they stay when the economy does tank. Let’s see how they feel when they learn that destroying your own room in a temper tantrum leaves you with nothing but wreckage you have to clean up yourself. Let’s see if they wake up to the notion that, when it comes to politics, we could do worse than politicians. (We already are.)
      Where have you gone Barack Obama? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.