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Facing the Utter Despair of a Trump Presidency

This man reportedly threw rocks at babies when he was a child.

My old friend Tommy Denton used to despair of living in a country that could elect George Bush Jr. as its president and then watching the Bush team slowly eat away at the America that has taken well over 200 years to build.

I haven’t talked to Tommy, a retired editorial writer of some stature, in a while, but my guess is that George Bush is looking less bad by comparison to today’s president and his lieutenants.

Bush made me mad nearly every day for eight years. Trump leaves me sharing Tommy’s despair.

I’m watching people I know and respect–hell, I love some of them–defend the indefensible, side with a power structure built to destroy the United States and the world through climate ignorance without firing a shot. This administration has Russia publicly laughing out loud as it carries out our sworn enemy’s plan to conquer us. Half of Congress is a player on Russia’s team. Some would call Mitch McConnell the MVP of that team and a handful of House members would be designated as cheerleaders.

I don’t need to detail the current president’s deficits as a leader, as a visionary, as a diplomat or as a human being. That’s been done ad nauseum and has had no effect whatsoever on his popularity among those who enthusiastically support him. Any of his deficits attributed to a Democrat or any other non-Republican would be a career killer. The president’s supporters will not be moved because they hear what they want to hear, see what they want to see and facts be damned. They are immovable.

The current drama-less impeachment proceeding has a pre-determined outcome because the president’s party has power and wants to keep it, regardless of what that does to our culture, our government, our standing in the world, our economy, our morality … all of it. The Senate likely won’t even try the case. McConnell has hinted he will simply dismiss it. Toss his hand and it will go away. My guess is he can. I mean, he dismissed a Supreme Court nominee because he could, not because it was right.

I’ve made the conscious decision over the past few days to crank back my political rhetoric and put my efforts into areas where they can have a positive impact. Like Tommy, I feel an overwhelming sense of despair when I face what is happening, so for a while at least, I think I’ll look the other way and change the things I can, as the Serenity Prayer suggests.

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Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

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