Ignorance And Apathy Revisited

EDITORIAL

The F.B.I. just raided Mar-A-Lago, opened former president Donald Trump’s personal safe, apparently looking for documents relating to… oh, I don’t know; probably something or other, maybe classified maybe not. I’d tell you more except, just between you and me, I really don’t care.

Seriously: I don’t know about you, but I reached my limit of daily Donald Trump in late 2020, and my level of apathy toward him has just kept growing since then. At this point, arrest the man or don’t, and the amount of time I’ll spend paying attention to the proceedings will be zero either way. Why? Because I very much don’t care.

In 2015, I was in a hotel breakfast nook with my wife watching the CNN coverage of whatsisname, Rocky something-or-other from Louisiana, who decided to drop out of the Republican primaries before they had fairly begun, and they asked Donald Trump’s opinion of the matter. While he was replying with whatever flavor of incoherent word salad he was using that day — burnt shaved steak and kale with ketchup dressing, I think — I observed, “If CNN keeps giving this man free press, they’re going to end up electing him.”

Which of course they did. And look how that turned out.

Today the internet is up in arms about the F.B.I. raid, a third celebrating, a third that wants to fight about it, and a third that just wants to watch the world burn, because that’s what happens on the internet. Post a picture of a cute puppy and the replies will range between love, hate, and BURN IT ALL DOWN!!! Old Calvin and Hobbes strips draw calls for violent revolution and blood in the streets. I’m honestly afraid to post my hypoallergenic chili recipe because the tomato fandom will come after me seeking blood, as though it were at all unreasonable for my body to have decided that a member of the nightshade family is trying to kill me.

And so, trembling in every limb, in fear for my life (such as it is for a man who can’t eat tomatoes or onion or garlic without his skin melting,) I launch this paean to apathy about Donald Friggin’ Trump. Hatred, they say, is a force close to love, and if that’s the case then what I truly want to feel about the man is nothing whatsoever, which would be an improvement over the mild gastric distress I presently experience every time I see his name in print.

To be fair, there are those who observe, with some justification, that his presidency was better than some others and certainly could have been worse. They’ll point to economic indicators, sustained low gas prices, a boom in business, a years-long delay in the next bust cycle, and so on. All of that’s just fine; I’ll let it pass without debate.

In the years since his presidency, it must be confessed that many things are worse. The word salad has not improved. Now we have a V.P. that speaks in tongues too; Pence at least was cogent. The price of gas is through the roof; long-term employment participation is at an all-time low; we’re dancing at the edge of a recession. They just passed a law effectively doubling the size of the I.R.S. and tell us we’re supposed to celebrate.

I pay my taxes, dammit. Every year, I add up the couple hundred bucks I managed to earn by selling my articles, the donations from here and there, the tiny profit I’ve squeezed out of some rare books, and I send about a third to various government agencies. And yet, even so, I live in dread of one day getting one of those plain brown envelopes with the OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT stamp in the top corner. It’s not fear that they’ll catch me cheating; oh, no. It’s the knowledge that the next eighteen months of my life will be in large part devoted to kowtowing to the whims of some bureaucrat who doesn’t believe that a grown man would willingly spend his life working as hard as I do for such a tiny amount of money. Which, let’s face it, is a perfectly reasonable position. The difference between a full-time writer and a large pizza from Papa John’s is that the pizza can feed a family of four.

But I digress, mainly I suppose because I can’t bring myself to say that odious name even once more. I am sick to death of him, and even more of all the hatred and disgust that he draws on himself. He has brought out the worst in the memberships not of one but two political parties: self-righteousness, hypocrisy, mutual disgust and loathing, considering one another subhuman. And he revels in the notoriety, a foul demonic presence writhing in glee amid all the chaos and confusion and hatred and slime. I’m done with it, done pandering to the lust for horror and disgust.

My only thought about the F.B.I. raid is to sincerely hope that the agents bathed thoroughly afterward.


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