What’s next

The countdown begins. Not measured in years or hundreds of days but double digits starting in the low 70s. Soon it will be 60s and 50s, then less than a month, then less than a week, then less than a day. Then he will be gone. Never to return.

Donald Trump, a name I have written or spoken aloud every day for four years, with every emotion on the spectrum of emotions from despair to white hot anger, will shortly become irrelevant, a relic, a nightmare vestige of the past. He will soon be gone. But for now the horror he created lingers. For how long it continues to linger is up to us. To paraphrase Shirley Jackson, silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of the White House, and whatever walks there, walks alone.

To be sure, there will be more of the Nuremberg-style rallies. Without a doubt they will continue right up to the day of eviction, and quite probably beyond until the Thing is captured and caged. Those of us who have grappled personally with the monster called malignant narcissism and lived to tell the tale require no explanation. It feeds, and it will continue to feed for as long as perverse nature keeps it animated. Then it will howl in rage and caged agony at the night until it goes, finally, the way of all mortal flesh.

I have no crystal ball. Like all things in nature even monsters have their whims. They do what they do, and smarter men than I may have known it all along, but I can’t predict madness, even though I’ve had to live in its presence. I can only tell you it will be hideous and full of spite too hateful to be believed at first. We should be glad there are people standing by to restrain it, and try not to concern ourselves with things we can do nothing about. We’ve done our part, we saved Democracy, now comes the waiting. Soon, it will be over, and the long national nightmare will be at an end.

We now know, all of us, that the scorching, vehement heat of fascism is not consigned to a place called Germany at a time called the 30s and 40s. It came here, alive, in the second decade of the twenty-first century. We sent it back to the hell that spawned it, but it glowers still from beneath our fair republic waiting to re-emerge. The price of freedom remains hyper-vigilance. We know this now, because the price of complacency was a monster called Donald Trump, and our Democracy very nearly paid the ultimate price.

What must we do now, in the third decade of the twenty-first century? We must not lose the desperate enthusiasm with which we defeated this monster, because there are other monsters. There remains global warming, coronavirus, racial intolerance and the self-defeating acid of naked hatred. We have many battles ahead.

This election has not been a repudiation of the Republican Party. They gained seats in the house and may retain the Senate. This election was a repudiation of Donald Trump. As his supporters, one by one, turn from him and walk away, soon only Trump will remain in the White House — to walk alone. So rest well, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, until he walks there no longer. And stay safe.

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