I know it seems ridiculous to think about it being over, but I want to start thinking about this being over.
Because it will be, eventually. Trump’s presidency will end either with him being impeached or voted out in 2020 (three more years of this please no), and it will be over.
And then we have to start remembering it, which is hard. Look at the presidency of George W. Bush. People who were actually alive during that shitshow treat it now like it was a goddamn ethics symposium and it drives me nuts. Oh, he’s painting and his former spokesmen are saying anti-Trump things on Twitter right now? How great, I’m sure 100,000 dead Iraqis are thrilled. Let’s call them up and ask them, right after we make sure the NSA can hear us loud and clear.
Remembering anything is hard. Our minds fade things out for a reason; they’re designed that way. There’s no room for the shining joy and pain of everyday life. You have to blur the edges so you can go on seeing.
We don’t remember something the way it happened. We remember it the way it had to happen for us to survive it. And for the GOP to survive Trump, America has to remember him as an aberration, and the GOP as helpless before him.
It’ll be tempting to go along with it, to nod along with whatever hazy remembrances are put forth with platitudes like, “it was a different time” and “no one could have known how bad it was going to get.” It’ll be tempting for everyone to exonerate themselves and each other, have a drink, and go home.
We did it, after all, after Watergate and Vietnam, pretending apologies outweigh the dead. We did it after W, looking forward and not back. We turn things into documentaries and tell ourselves we’ve learned from them, when if we truly had learned, we never would have let Trump happen.
For the GOP to survive Trump America has to remember him as an aberration, but for AMERICA to survive Trump, America has to remember all the ways the GOP could have stopped it.
Knowing he was a corrupt, morally bankrupt, venal old asshole who had no interest in their party beyond using its racist members to support his family’s grift, the GOP could have excluded him from the debates.
They could have denied him their media, making it known that featuring Trump on your show was a good way to get your news organization (or conservative jerkoff butthole podcast, whatever) blacklisted.
They could have kept him off the ballot, or at least fought to do so. They could have demanded he stop using their name. They could have told every surrogate who praised his rise to sit down and shut up and quit fucking helping him.
They could have blocked his convention. Every single person in that hall had bodily autonomy and human free will. They could have all walked out. The electors could have turned, en masse. Following his convention, they could have stood united, instead of dithering around one by one, supporting but not really supporting.
Don’t tell me they couldn’t have. They managed unanimity in their opposition to a president who for the past eight years passed pretty solidly moderate Republican legislation, just because said president was black and liked by many liberals. They managed to hold the caucus together against THAT.
Sure, Trump might have won anyway, had they done all these things. He might have won even bigger, given the electorate’s overpowering need to say fuck you last year, to OWN YOU LIBTARDS and make a great big noise. Trump might have profited even more from the enmity of the GOP than he did from its lukewarm public support.
But at least we all would have been spared the coming embarrassment of every single Republican in Congress who, after Trump is brought up on charges, will deny him thrice before the cock crows. At least we wouldn’t have to listen to them all insist they weren’t even THERE, man, like they didn’t even really know the man. At least then we wouldn’t have to watch them crawl.
Crawl they will, all of them. They bet the lives of the working people about whom they pretend to care that Trump’s crazy racist xenophobic sideshow wouldn’t outweigh the chance to cut their own taxes. It will be amazing how many of them knew all along Trump was garbage but were powerless in his thrall.
And we’ll have to say, as many of us have been saying about former wingnut speechwriters and former wingnut bloggers and former wingnut talk radio hosts who’ve recently found their spines and want a fucking parade for it: Don’t tell me you didn’t know, and don’t tell me you couldn’t have stopped it anyway.
You did, and you could have. A thousand times.