Full Disclosure: I have no idea how to live well in the political and cultural morass that has emerged in America.
The list of outrageous actions and public statements by the President—surely enough to impeach 4 or 5 Presidents at this point—represents an unprecedented contempt for the rule of law, democratic institutions, and racial comity. It is a familiar and depressing list that includes obstruction of justice during the Mueller investigation, appointing unqualified family members to sensitive national security positions, declaring a “national emergency” in order to redirect funds appropriated by Congress; using the Justice Department to discredit investigations of his actions, holding up aid to allies fighting Russian aggression in order to further his own political interests, using the White House to build profits and brand recognition for his businesses and those of his family, threatening political opponents and media outlets, paying off porn stars, intimidating witnesses called to appear in court and in Congress, denying and ignoring the threat posed by overwhelming evidence of Russian interference in American elections, undermining the credibility of his own intelligence agencies, career experts, and scientists, a long string of sexist and racist statements, retweets of extremist propaganda, hostility to immigrants, and now interfering with Department of Justice attorneys to assist his allies.
Of course, if it were merely a problem of a President demonstrably unfit for office the future would not look nearly as bleak but an entire political party has embraced and defended these actions, a sprawling media ecosystem spreads disinformation and fabrications to stoke anger
and undermine political opposition, and somewhere between one third and one half of the citizenry approves.
Add to that the long list of policy reversals on climate change, health care, and many other areas and it is simply overwhelming. Like a lot of people, I find myself lurching back and forth between hopeful activism and despair, between outrage at the attack on democratic institutions and embarrassment that I took them for granted, between imagining real change beginning with the next election and feeling that it is time to mentally adjust to what will likely be a prolonged period of plutocracy and executive authoritarianism.
And so, full disclosure now gives way to Fair Warning: my plan, such as it is, is to use this space to work through these thoughts and anxieties. Put that way, I can’t think why anyone would want to read it. Fortunately, I am also conflicted about how much this is a therapeutic alternative to insomnia and a column that I hope people will read; I should be able to create a rationale for writing either way.