I haven’t been writing about politics much in here, for a while, partly because I know that I have bloggy friends with very different views from mine and I don’t want to make them feel unwelcome, and partly because I need a place to escape from politics. But I realized recently that I’ve been leaving out a big part of why I feel the way I feel every day. I tell you about school, and religion, and dogs, and grief, all of which are huge parts of my life, but I also watch the news every day, and I am deeply affected by what I see and hear there.
My brother once said to me that, of everyone he knows, I am the least tolerant of liars, as if I have a block against it (which makes the whole writing novels thing pretty hysterical!). So watching a president who is this comfortable with lying really gets to me. The fact is, my father was a liar. He lied so well that he wasn’t sure, eventually, what was true and what was false. He lied to me about me. He used the “lie three times and they’ll believe the lie” rule. He made it so that I could tell the truth a hundred times, and no one would believe me, because his lie sounded better.
Having a president who triggers so many memories of my childhood has been difficult for me, separate from all of the actual, real world consequences of having this man as the president of my country. I grew up living in a reality war, where what I saw in front of me was regularly denied, muted, minimized, or altered completely. It’s hard to hold on to the truth when you feel like you’re the only one seeing it and believing it.
I know that there are good people who think that this president is worth the trouble, maybe because they see his overall goals as worth the methods he uses to reach them, or because they feel that he is laying bare the underbelly of politics, and showing us the real calculations involved, or maybe it’s all about the Supreme Court. I don’t know.
I appreciate the people on TV who try to make it all more bearable and understandable, explaining each time the norms, that I assumed were laws, are being trampled. But they have their limits too. I get very frustrated when people I usually like think it’s funny to laugh at Eric Trump, and his presumed status as the unloved son. If true, it’s nothing to laugh at, and if it’s not true, it’s cruel to suggest such a thing. Criticize him for what he says and does, not for something that is out of his control. The worst thing, recently, was hidden by the hullabaloo around Sam Bee using the C word about Ivanka Trump. When I watched her show, the night before, I was very angry because she said that Ivanka should dress up in her sexiest outfit, and go to her father, to convince him to change his policies. There have been many signs that Ivanka’s father has sexualized his relationship with her: in modeling photos, in interviews, and in how he touches her in public. I don’t know if there’s more to it than that, but all of that is what HE has done to HER. Implying that she is complicit in his abuse of her, and should actively take advantage of it, is cruel, and, fundamentally, unnecessary. Criticize Ivanka for her own moral lapses, and for excusing so much of her father’s behavior in public venues, but don’t use her possible status as a child sexual abuse victim against her. That’s the line that Sam Bee crossed in my mind. I don’t care about an epithet.
Given all of that, I still watch Sam Bee, and John Oliver, and Trevor Noah, and Steven Colbert. I watch Rachel Maddow regularly, because she lets me breathe for a few minutes every night. She’s a storyteller and a historian, and she’s able to put things in context for me in a way that headlines and screaming panels of experts generally can’t do. Though I wish she would stop telling me to “hold that thought” before commercial breaks, because usually it’s a thought I really don’t want to hold onto.
And then I watch Steven Colbert, and he lets me know that I’m not the only one who sees what I’m seeing and knows what I know, and he goes a step further and makes fun of it, making it just a little bit less overwhelming. I live for those moments. I could have used a Steven Colbert narrating my childhood, summarizing the crazy of each day with sympathy and understanding. It wouldn’t have changed the reality, but it could have made it more bearable.
I believe that there is great power in holding people responsible for their actions, and making the truth visible, so that we can reckon with it. And humor is a great tool for pointing these truths out, and poking holes in the nonsense, and giving people a release valve for all of the anger and fear and stress that has been created. But, please, make fun of people for the things they do, and the things they can control, or choose not to control; don’t make fun of them for things they can’t change. And really, Trump provides plenty of material to choose from.
Cricket, thank god, has no idea what the people on the TV are saying. As long as she has her safe home and good food, she’s pretty sure everything’s going to be okay. I try hard to believe her.
Dear friend, I too grew up with a pathological liar who managed to convince everyone that he was telling the truth and I was alternating between lying and insanity. I too am triggered by Trump’s incestuous behavior and comments about his daughter, by his disdain of his sons and total neglect of his youngest, his predatory behavior towards women, his contempt for others and his insistence that all eyes remain on him. All too familiar. I have had to totally disconnect from the news. My father took up way too much of my brain for far too long. I refuse to hand the territory over to another sociopath. Peace.
Peace to you.
I get upset when Stephen Colbert goes on vacation. I get to miss his commentary on the lying sos [sack of ….] in the white house.
Isn’t it awful?! I understand, intellectually, that he needs vacations. But in my heart, I need him to keep doing his job, no matter what.
I’m with you Rachel. I hope something turns about, as soon as possible. It is distressing to witness what is happening with the greatest government on earth until now.
Until now, yes.
Your best article ever.
Oh my Lord – so much I want to come back to on this but great post. I’m currently trying to educate myself on what the job is behind certain policy and procedures before commenting but how and why that man remains US President baffles me – as done the fact he was given the job at all.
Trump ticks every single box for someone I’d want to see and carry out further mental capacity assessment with and he’s mastered the art of confabulation. Realised that when I saw him speaking with absolute knowledge, certainty – proof almost – about the UK being awash with blood from knife crime as in – we don’t have guns but we have knives big stabby knives and we stab each other all day every day – can’t get inside hospitals without swimming through blood from knives…
Bat-shit. He is absolutely bat-shit.
Big stabby knives! That would be hysterical if it were actually meant as humor.
god bless u dear! …free expression is dangerous nowadays…some said Luzifer is back or compare to brothers Grimm – the devil with 3 golden hairs (ツ)
have a good week…
Your post resonates with me at all levels Rachel. Only 2 more years……ugh.
Don’t put up with it. Get involved in politics now. If not the Republicans will hold control ofCongress, and why can’t he win again in two years? It can happen here.
I love Stephen Colbert because he helps us stay somewhat calm in these times. However the problem with DC right now is one party has everything and they are now the cause of the problems.
Stephen Colbert should be back on Monday. I think I can make til then. Maybe.
Thank you for this post, Rachel. There are many people in this country who are being traumatized by this man’s behavior. Before the election, I followed his antics with disbelief. I no longer follow the news so closely. I think that all the attention we focus on him actually feeds into his dysfunction and gives him power. If we ignored him, like we would a two year old throwing a tantrum, would he settle down? (Or go away?) Some thinkers say that what we are witnessing is the death throes of a culture of perversion, prejudice, and greed, and before long we’ll see the dawn of a better world. I have to keep faith that everything will turn out right in the end.
That would be wonderful!
There hasn’t been a great president in almost 100 years.
A brilliant post. I hope this year’s elections change the make-up of Congress, so that this horrendous liar has less backing.
As I have gotten older, I have adapted a much more tolerant attitude about all things, in general. But Trump has got me to the point where I cannot even look at his face online or in the newspaper without wanting to scream. He might be trying to mess with Medicare and Obamacare, but he is not going to mess with my health. Please send Cricket over here to help me find a smiley stick….
She would love to help find a stick, I’m just not sure she’d give it away.
My father never tolerated lies of any kind, white or otherwise. I have taken a page from Cricket’s book. I don’t watch the news. There are far too many unknowns in the gaps of bias —anyone’s bias— that I refuse to be trapped in. I may be ignorant but I am happy.
Happy is good!
Good points, all.
absent of love
we have this!
what’s right 🙂
It is a very difficult and maddening world that we live in. But the comfort, if that is the right word, is that in every generation and in every corner of the world there have been both decent and principled people as well as difficult and ungodly ones. All have been made that way from birth. Whether they were loved or abused, mentored or manipulated, they are role models, victims or perpetrators. It is the consequence of having a will to do either good or evil. Trump is just in a long line of weak, unprincipled, self-gratifying people. Power corrupts as does money and fame. The principled, decent, kind and loving people oppose them with good deeds. These love their pets, respect life, work hard to have exemplary lives, raise loving families and counsel friends to oppose hatred, violence, selfishness and wicked people with kindness, compassion and love.
That sounds wonderful! Thank you!
Brave post! well said!
I feel for you Rachel, in this new reality; there are Trump supporters over here in Aus.mostly angry white males threatened by the changing world. Given that most people let others do their thinking for them, its no wonder he won. We just need to nourish ourselves and stick to our truths- change is inevitable
You are not alone in feeling the way you feel about the current occupant of The White House. There are days when I feel like I want to pull my hair out and scream, “The stupid…it burns!”, at the top of my lungs. I love how Colbert 🤨 (and yes, that emoji comes up when I type his name) and Trevor Noah have used their sense of humor to provide commentary and criticism for a man who refuses to accept criticism or use it to improve himself. I often find myself using humor to deal with the emotional toll that this administration has taken on me when I talk about these things with a handful of sympathetic friends and online acquaintances. I am the only one in my immediate or extended family that I know of who voted for Hillary (although only my dad knows how I actually voted); I said it to a friend of mine a few weeks ago, I am the only donkey in a family filled with elephants. I have often felt the need to keep my views quiet around them because I am scared of their reactions or that they’ll care less of me. My hometown area is mostly red and my district is represented by a man from the red party who is now running for the governor of my state.
I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must have been to grow up in a situation like yours…I’ve never been through that. It was brave of you to talk about that.
Most of all, I feel sorry for his two youngest children that this is the face and persona that their father chooses to project on the world. His youngest is at such an impressionable age. I hope he grows into the opposite of his father: actually caring about all people, not just the rich or the bigoted. His youngest daughter is at enough of a distance from the White House that she’ll escape a lot of the mess that her older siblings are in.
We still have the right to vote, and those of us who want to change our situation have the ability to do so this November. We have the ability to fire those that aren’t doing the job we sent them to do. Don’t give up.
I love your line, “The stupid…it burns!” That’s brilliant!
Think of it as a modern day take on “I’m surrounded by idiots!”
I can understand your distress, Rachel. I too am unhappy when someone who represents me in parliament acts in a way that I disapprove of. But usually, if it is someone from an opposing party, I don’t have great expectations. And because of that, I am not so frustrated or unhappy if he or she behaves in a way that is contrary to my values. I know that the president is supposed to be the president of all the people, but we aren’t little children. We understand that in a democracy there are different forces at play, and it is part of the system that sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. It is worth our while to consider the alternatives of democracy. They’re not good at all. Trump too will be replaced after a while, and meantime it’s best not to take him too seriously. From what I’ve seen of the news from your country, it seems as if there is some sort of mass hysteria in the way many Americans are reacting to Trump. That’s not good and not healthy. There are so many arenas aside from politics in our lives, and at a time when things get a little crazy, the best thing to do is to get further involved in those more pleasant parts of your life. I loved that picture of Cricket bringing you the stick. Best wishes for a very good week.
Thank you! Cricket is always willing to distract me!
I hear many people saying that Trump is adding to their normal load of depression and anxiety. Not a strange reaction at all–he’s taking our country in a pretty dark direction. I guess we have to focus on our loved ones, enjoying life, and yes, constructive ways of resisting if we can find them.
Rachel Maddow totally keeps me sane.
Write more political stuff! I certainly would not want to hug and kiss your prez but I am glad he is there instead of that demonic witch 😏
I’ve always said that our president and yours are twins. Ours is even worse though.
Cricket for president!
Brilliant post Rachel – for me it reaffirms that many Americans did not vote Trump. I am deeply saddened by the blight of this man’s so-called populist regime. Populism is rife and voices like yours are precious. Here in the UK we are constantly being told what The People voted for. It makes you feel disenfranchised/discombobulated/dehumanised when voted differently … does that mean I am not a person?! Like Cricket I manage this by increasingly frequent news ‘Black-outs’ but like you am relieved to hear satirical comedians highlight the ridiculousness of the current state of politics.
Well done on writing so eloquently, thoughtfully and compassionately on this thorny issue.
Thank you so much!
This is about so much other than politics – it is about powerlessness in the face of abusers of authority. The man triggers memories.
Yes, he does.
Writing from the viewpoint of a foreigner, I find your political situation very interesting. Americans (and American bloggers) appear to be in one camp or the other. Either brought low with depression about Trump’s antics, or lauding his isolationist policies and right-wing authoritarian behaviour. I am intrigued that so many talk about him being a liar. Every American president ever since I can remember has lied about something. Kennedy and Johnson lied about Vietnam, Nixon about almost everything, Reagan about Central America, Clinton about his sexual behaviour, and so on. I have had no respect for any of them, but they were not the leaders of my country, so that was that.
Politicians lie, everywhere.
Trump lies in public, blatantly. Maybe that’s the difference. He is coarse, has no manners, and is not a statesman. He talks to the world like a grumpy man complaining at a bus stop, about how long he has waited for a bus. He flaunts his wealth, and has no style or taste, readily using his family to further his own ends. I have no time for the man, but one thing has occurred to me, since 2016. He may be the most ‘visible’ president the world has ever seen, and in a perverse kind of way, that also makes him one of the most honest, if only by default.
Best wishes, Pete.
Interesting point of view. Thank you!
So I’m going to ask you – What has he lied about please? I keep hearing he is a liar and that, almost like calling someone you disagree with a racist is a strong accusation without actually knowing. Oh, I know that the media, and probably your friends, keep telling you he is a liar, but what has he actually lied about that you have proof? I’m not saying he is perfect, heck, but I really can’t see anything that he has lied about. I hate to ask this, but did Obama’s lies bother you? He told us that if we liked our doctor we could keep our doctor. We saw that wasn’t the case and was actually a lie. I never believed him when he told us often that he only heard of the news when he read it. Did you believe that? I will also not say the media is perfect, but please remember that Stephen Colbert is a comedian. He is not media or even a journalist. He is not news. Certainly not a news source, so for you to source him sort of shows who you are. I would also remind you that Trump (assuming he has) is not the first, nor will be the last politician to lie. It’s what they do. HRC lied. Did that bother you? Please also understand that many politicians exaggerate their positions or change them. Many on the left especially in the past will campaign with a more centered platform just to get elected, then when they do, veer to the left. All I ask is that you please don’t just accuse without facts. Good luck to you.
Rachel, I, too, grew up in a home where truth was shape-shifted to fit the acceptable narrative, and I see that quality in Trump. Shape-shifting truth to fit his narrative (and re-shape-shifting facts as the narrative changes) is downright scary. Politicians lie–I get that. But this one lies and then lies about his lies–all so he can keep telling himself what a good job he is doing.
It’s overwhelming. All my best to you.
You said what I feel very eloquently. I have lost my voice in this last year. I feel the fight leaving me. It is so difficult to have conversations with people that support him. Maybe I am not the crazy one.
The exhaustion is hard to overcome. I feel the same way.
I don’t do politics either as a rule, but over here I cringe every time I hear the POTUS speak. We have no TV but Hubby tunes in to the news channels. Whatever he says comes over as insincere, and all I can see in my mind’s eye is an image of a man at a boardroom table firing his minions. The little hand mannerisms are annoying, as if he’s conducting an invisible band. I thought when he was elected he could change the face of politics, but all he’s doing with his erratic behaviour and contradictions is acting like a petulant child who doesn’t get his own way. Someone should confiscate his phone or at least block his account. He’s due to visit the UK next week. I’m looking forward to seeing the Baby Balloon.
One of the US news channels showed images of the baby balloon, and then someone is making a matching one of the mayor of London. At least people will get a chance to laugh.
Hope so. Bet they’ll be kissing nappies!!!!!
Racheal, I agree with you about disliking liar and I prefer to avoid politics.. But I’m wondering what you are referring to when you suggest that Trump lies. I understand why his voice grates and it’s particularly obvious since Obama was such a good speaker.
Mainly, I’m a Constitutionalist, so I do appreciate how Trump is trying to correct the many ways Obama was warping many government offices – example weaponizing the IRS and possibly the top ones in the FBI, as well. Trump’s efforts seem to be getting our country back on course from the way the past generations have derailed in in pursuit of power and profit.
BTW Rachel Maddow from what I’ve heard of her, she’s giving you a twisted version of ‘facts’, so it’s no wonder you think Trump is a liar.
The lies are there. For a list (that is by no means exhaustive) that you can look into the sources cited and everything, look here:
Thanks for the link!
its great to have a friend that you can always trust to tell the truth. With Crickett yiu have that for sure.
Yes I do!
This is all so sad…and true. ‘Nuf said.
Great Post. Theres nothing like a furry friend to keep us grounded.
Thank you for this!
You’re too kind =) But I’m glad you’re pointing out what cannot be ignored. I watch Colbert and Oliver and Noah too. I heard Bee apologized about the Ivanka comment, if that helps. And I appreciate this March sign to take back the c*** word as a feminist: https://i.redd.it/ivif3x2l5db01.jpg
That sign is hysterical!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Rachel. These are difficult and tumultuous times. I believe great harm is being done to the nation, and to the fabric of our society. Whether we agree about governmental policies or not, we must not tear one another down. We remain Americans and neighbors.
Yes, I agree. It’s hard to find the right words sometimes, but I agree.
Congratulations on sticking your toe in the murky waters of politics. Your post was clear and unapologetic but to the distressing point. I have had a post sitting in my computer for months, not having the courage to offend those who might disagree with my views. I think we have reached the point – as you suggest – that we must all speak out. You have inspired me to file that post. BTW, I agree with you about Rachel Maddow. She clarifies so much with her amazing monologs. Keep writing.
These are frightening times. I, too, keep relatively quiet but its mostly because of where we live and who my clients and customers are. I see, on a daily basis, the destruction of our society thanks to our narcissistic freak who is taking over our amazing country. I chose to become an American… I was so proud to do it years ago. While I can’t relate to your youth in respect to lying, I, too, am a huge believer in the truth and can only hold onto the hope that the truth will eventually come out about this evil, evil man.
I want to believe that we will find our way through this, but sometimes I lose hope.
VERY well said. Sorry you had to deal with so much growing up. I know first hand the kind of damage that happens when someone who is supposed to be your protector and guide betrays that trust.
As a grandmother, one concern is for my grandchildren.. It is my hope for role models in their young lives… And those who can speak without profanity and be individuals of integrity. Being truthful would be a huge bonus… Lol!
We can only hope!
I totally eschew politics on my blog. Mostly because it is a silly dog blog and silly dogs don’t have politics. Also, my Mom told me to always eschew my food well. Snorf. Actually, I think there are way, way too many politically-oriented blogs and most add more heat than light. I adhere to the Michael Jackson School of Making America Great Again: I start with the man in the mirror and I ask him to change his ways and become a better person. When frustrated by current events I remember something a nice old man used to always say to me :“This, too, shall pass.” That man was Albert Einstein.
Uh, that last part was fake news. Snorf.
Do you think Trump knows he is lying? I think the whole idea of truth is irrelevant to him. He is such a narcissist that he says what he thinks reflects positively on him or will benefit him and whether it is true or not is something he never thinks of.
That almost seems worse. Actually, a lot worse.
Great post. All the best.
Watching the American absurdist tragedy from Canada, is like watching an accident & being helpless to act, hopeful for the best outcome & fearful for the worst. Living everyday with the problem within the borders must be incredibly stressful.
Posted a link to your blog post on Twitter. https://twitter.com/joseph_kanski/status/1016178027066208258
I watch Colbert and all the Comedy Central shows too, and I share your outrage about the current demise of democracy. However, I don’t avoid talking about it, because I want to see it corrected. I talk to everyone I meet about politics. I try to persuade people. I’m a social worker, as you are. I don’t expect to succeed all the time. I learned that at work. Who knows what my success rate is? I try anyway. I also started working on registering voters and canvassing for the Democratic Party – which I hope you will do too. Hitler used similar racist rabble rousing to gain power. They always said it can’t happen here, but clearly it can. Get out on the streets my friend.
You speak what is inside of me, although I did not grow up with a liar and I’m sorry you have first-hand experience with that.
I have not been able to watch the late night TV lately, however, I try to watch the morning news (when I can get reception – the RV is parked in the woods at a park). I agree with what you are saying about Trump and I get angry every day when I see his stand-up comedy attempt at recent rallies. He cares about no one but himself.
It’s hard to have to feel so angry all the time, but it’s better than feeling hopeless. I try to remind myself of that every day.