Waiting to inhale.

I’m reading some really … well, let’s just say it’s not literature. I am working through the Merry Gentry novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. They are essentially fairy erotica. (Don’t judge me — ipt’s not Fifty Shades of Gray.)

One of the spells most closely associated with the evil Queen Andais suffocates the victim by taking up all the space so that they can’t breathe. They — Merry, mostly — struggle to force their lungs open as they are surrounded and weighted down.

Donald Trump did that to my brain.

I wrote more before the Trump presidency. I wrote on a more diverse set of topics before the Trump presidency. Although it was bad before, sometime last summer Donald Trump settled into my psyche, taking up all the brain power I could muster.

It seemed that any outrage in the newspapers was committed by Trump, or at least exacerbated by him. Almost anything he would do to destroy our democratic institutions that I could imagine, he did. Abetted by the lackeys he put into his cabinet, he acted in manners that were beyond my imagination. It represents a lack of thought on my part, but I never seriously believed any American president would effectively attempt a coup. (He has supporters that are openly urging him to do just that. Supporters who openly suborn sedition. That scenario showed up in my nightmares, but I never would have thought it would happen in reality. Where are the “lock ’em up” chants from people who claim to have monopoly on patriotism?) He fights a futile war against the results of an election he decisively lost, and uses that as a cover for scorching the earth behind him.

He did everything short of shoot someone in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue.

Michael Cohen warned us. If Donald Trump has to leave the White House, he said, “there will not be a peaceful transition of power.” I thought he was exaggerating; I should have listened to the man who actually knew Trump.

I prayed for Trump’s death before — I pray just as hard for his death now. He is hollowing out government, hamstringing its ability to come on line seamlessly once his presidency ends. Our enemies must be laughing delightedly — especially Russia. He can do so much damage in the next six weeks.

I can’t think. Outrage fatigue and completely founded pandemic fears have crawled into my brain, short circuiting my creative synapses. I don’t want to write about Trump all the time, but I find that Trump (or his much more intelligent doppelgänger, Bill Barr) and the pandemic are all I can think about. At least all I can think about intellectually; writing trivialities about my life still seems doable.

The pandemic brings on thoughts of Trump. About how he could have done so much good, had he only told his cultists that the coronavirus was serious, had he told them that simple measures would help reduce the death rate. How he could have invoked the Defense Production Act sooner and more aggressively, making sure health-care workers had the PPE they needed. How he could have not simply shrugged “It is what it is” when asked about the staggering loss of life.

If he had only told the many who supported him that masks and social distancing and lockdowns, however unpleasant, would save lives, a lot of lives. If he had only pushed for more meaningful support for small businesses, so people who otherwise would be working could support their families.

I don’t want to spend all my energy thinking about Trump, writing about Trump. I want to focus on the rest of the world, or things otherwise than corruption, disease, and death. I want my brain to breathe easier.

Six weeks until hopefully that happens.

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