You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone — a Hat Tip to Trump

No, I haven’t lost my mind.

In my mind, Trump remains the worst thing to happen to the world since that big old asteroid that killed the dinosaurs and damned near everything else ‘way, ‘way back when. In fact, he’s wiping out all the things we Americans used to take pride in and believe in and represent pretty much the same way that collision took out all those thunder lizards.

Except he’s doing it systematically. Peevishly. Single-mindedly and shamelessly, too. It’s amazing, the lengths to which he will go to settle old — and new — scores. Country be damned. World be damned.

It’s all about him. His feelings. His fears. His fetishes. Nothing else matters. Steals my breath the transparency of his moves and motivations.

He’s like that inevitable rampaging kid in WalMart who makes you turn to the person behind you in line and ask, “Where are his parents?!”

But there appear to be only a handful of grownups in Congress right now. Which is why I’m still not sure the Mueller investigation will matter at all, since it will be up to Congress, in the end, to call for impeachment if the revelations walk us right on up to the Oval Office.

(They kind of already have, but let’s see how long it takes the powers that be to swallow hard and face the “base.”)

Meanwhile, I’ve noticed something interesting. Uplifting, even. And it’s worth celebrating, I think.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to thank 45 for it. Yes. I mean that.

There’s a hint in that old Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi that says, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?”

That’s especially true since Trump. In fact, it may be the single most important and potentially powerful legacy he leaves.

As he dismantles our government piece by piece, we’re being given a chance to think about those pieces. Having lived with them in place and in force for so long, we didn’t even realize how intricate and ingenious our system of government and the society it supported really were.

Our government was, of course, designed and constructed by — and entrusted to, until now — mostly civil and mostly well-schooled men, who could never have imagined that something like 45 would ever rise to real political power. I’d wager that it was probably, and painstakingly, designed to prevent that from happening.

They just didn’t understand that kind of mind well enough to create effective deterrents. It’s kind of like how really good poker players can be beaten by a novice who doesn’t understand or play by the rules. The pros are so used to playing by those rules and assuming that everyone at the table will do the same that someone who doesn’t can unnerve them and win, handily.

But as 45 rips the rule books to shreds, many of us are getting the first real civics lessons of our lives. We’re losing rights we didn’t even know we had. Discovering how much we still have to lose, and running headlong into stuff we lost while we weren’t paying attention.

Trump’s Twitter tactics are fierce. A serious shell game. And he knows how to keep the pressure on. We have to be careful not to wind up like those famous lab frogs who didn’t realize someone was turning up the temperature of the water a little more, a little more, a little more…until they boiled to death.

We also have to resist getting used to the erosion of the values and morals that held things together so well for so long. Facts were declared “debatable” within weeks of 45s ascendance. Lying as “art form,” diversionary tactic and systematic strategy — the so-called Shock Doctrine in practice— has become absolutely acceptable in some circles.

And yet again, as we slam into the resulting ugliness, say at Charlottesville for instance, we’re forced to stop and think, “Whoa , wait just a gol’danged minute here! Didn’t my Daddy fight WWII to keep the Nazis off Main Street? And didn’t the dude whose statue they’re so determined to save actually fight against this country, too?”

We’re still a wee bit confused, some of us, about all that. For some reason. Well, for lots of reasons. But as Trump deliberately cultivates that confusion, we’re also being forced to examine those reasons. And the emotions they stir up.

It ain’t pretty. In fact, it sometimes seems as if we’re doing so much soul searching that we’ll never find our way back to “center.” I mean, Weinstein and Spacey are out, but the “Pussy Grabber In Chief” is still large and in charge? What’s up with that?

It’s overwhelming sometimes. And yet, paradoxically as hell, I wake up feeling pretty hopeful these days.

Grateful , suddenly and profusely, for small pleasures. Loved ones. The gorgeous mountains and clear blue skies I see when I step out onto my patio every morning. Even for the chaos that greets me as soon as I go back in and turn on the TV or radio.

Birth hurts. Worse than almost anything. God, how I remember the day my daughter was born. Natural birth, it was. And nobody tells you how bad it will be.

Before it gets better. And so beautiful.

I don’t know, I just feel as if that’s what’s going on right now. And that America will be even more amazing after all this pain. Awake. Aware. And deeply appreciative.

Worst midwife ever, 45. But the new country he’s unwittingly creating?

America the Beautiful for real. And finally.

Photo credit: By Ernest F (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

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