I often wonder what we used to talk about Before Trump.
I am tempted to call the period B.T. but will try not to – the last thing I want to do is brand an era for him.
But the sad fact is, I can’t remember what we discussed before him.
The non-Trump-focused part of my brain is so atrophied from lack of use it simply cannot recall in any detail how we lived B…I mean, in the past.
Over the past four years, I have expended a substantial amount of my time on earth compulsively watching MSNBC and CNN – an hour or two every weekday night, leavened with a look at the previous night’s Colbert monologue for a bit of sad laughter.
Close to 100 percent of the subject matter of these shows has been D.T. and his attacks on immigrants, his rallies, his racist rants, his taxes ($750), his profiteering, his impeachment, the pandemic he has enabled with an occasional nod to the fires, storms and floods battering the US as a result of the climate change he has denied.
Other than the virus, has anything been happening in the rest of the world? Wars? Humanitarian or natural disasters? Triumphs or tragedies of any sort? Not so you’d notice, on the TV I watch here in New York.
I really can’t blame the networks. I’m the same way. When I look at the newspapers – a dozen times a day on my phone – I scan for D.T. headlines and zero in on those stories at the expense of all others. (Are there others?)
I’m frankly disappointed if there’s no new D.T. horror story to read. But he seldom disappoints.
A kind of bizarre natural wonder, D.T. is an Old Faithful of iniquity, a Niagara of lies.
D.T.’s maddeningly successful efforts to keep the spotlight on himself will not soon end. While a spritz of spray tan exists on this earth, that horrid, florid face will find a camera, that vapid voice, a microphone.
But until he goes away, it’s on us to turn away from him. Could we all please just stop talking about him for one day? An hour?
But how to do that? A good place to start might be to talk about what we must have talked about in the old days: What happened at the office today? Uh, no, not in this pandemic. What we saw on our commute into work? That won’t work. The party we went to? The movie we saw? Our trip to … anywhere? No go. Sports? Not so much. The weather? Absolutely! OK! How about that rainstorm yesterday?! A lot of leaves fell off the trees.
Let’s move on.
Maybe the best we can hope for is a gradual transition. Baby steps: Go ahead and talk about D.T.’s pathetic, desperate acts in these last weeks of his cancelled reality show. (He’s going to lose and lose and lose until he’s tired of losing, and then he’s going to lose some more.)
But try to turn our attention to the world After Tr.., I mean, the future.
Do you think Biden can get anything done about climate change, racial justice, health care, gun control (remember gun control)?
And maybe even make some conversational space for things that aren’t important, except to us: Tell jokes. Trade memories, before they’re gone. Maybe we could wean ourselves from cable news – a little bit at a time – and watch a movie. Then we could talk about the movie. And not even think about D.T. Imagine!
Yes, it is hard to imagine. But I’ve got to believe it can be done. I want my mind back.
James S. Kunen is a New York-based journalist and author and occasional contributor to The New Daily. More of his writing can be found at jameskunen.com