A golden, somber October has settled over much of the country, over much of what I still regard to be home to the north. Here in subtropical latitudes, long ago and once again familiar to me, it is damp heat stirring in the palms. Green and yellow, never gold — seamless and sleep-inducing and somehow unreal. Think of this time of the planet, though, as a phantom wrapped in poisonous nightshade slouching toward a November morn to be born on that First Tuesday of ugly, inevitable reckoning and dubious realignment that, if it goes the way the liberal rabble wants, shall be greeted by Time Square-esque New Year’s Eve delirium. It will be CNN’s Morning in America.
Or — maybe not.
Seething hate has boiled up at the non-politician who was able to win four years ago perhaps because he was running against the most disingenuous and untrustworthy woman ever to ride the coattails of a far more politically astute husband to the place where, on behalf of liberal minions, she would symbolically break this faux Glass Ceiling — and I dare not say a word against this slow-grinding feminist uprising that will go on pitting women against men and daughters against fathers. Oh, what have we drunk? Poisonous nightshade while, in the back of the empty cafe — empty because we are in a pandemic and he can’t open yet — the sad proprietor strums his guitar and goes broke. Just one of the other elements in our current morass — and probably the one that will assure a Trump defeat. He has not handled it well. I for one don’t think anyone else would have prevented 200,000 American deaths, despite what the lying, conniving Democrats say. But from the outset he failed to set a tone of paternal concern and empathy and guidance and leadership. A simple piece of cloth over his face could have made an enormous difference. (Did he just not think he looked good in a mask??) I find myself joining the chorus of enemies, calling him a fool. And I hate that I find myself in that position.
Trump banners all about me in this neighborhood of this Battleground State loft and fall gently on streets named for far-off tropical islands and, all in all, called Paradise Island. Good people in good homes — artificial only in the sense that they are of vinyl and metal but the refuge of a middle class from across the nation, like me. I live here among them; for how long I know not. Other banners I see, besides the Stars&Stripes, celebrate the Nebraska “cornhuskers” and the Iowa “hawkeyes” and the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Flyers…etc…etc… There are some banners for Biden and Harris, the senescent Hollow Man and Has-Been and the sniveling bigot consumed like the man she’s partner with and once so effectively attacked in a debate — consumed, I say, by raw, untrammeled ambition.
The crude, uncouth zillionaire might win (The Silent Majority hidden in their homes across America might come out to rebel and change the narrative; come out of their mortgaged, overtaxed refuges, be they modular or old wood and shingles. It could happen. It would unleash the despair of the chattering classes and the liberal elite. But, right now, this scenario seems unlikely.)
The non-politician President has flubbed matters mightily and infuriatingly. He has reminded us why it is not bad to be a politician or at least have good political instincts. Of course, he is a man who constantly trusts his instincts over advice from others– some instincts possibly good, no matter what anyone says ( for instance, getting us out of the murderous Iran Nuclear Deal). But he seems increasingly unable to sort bad instincts from good, like not wearing a mask during this pandemic. Going mask-less and failing simply to say ‘I hate White Supremacists’ — was below bad instinct. It was the proud and perverse death rattle of a man just outside the ring of normal discourse.
Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that the “experts” were telling us we didn’t need masks. However, wearing them, to my mind, is a sign of respect for our fellow citizens in this medically dangerous time. History and science will tell us someday. For now, Mr. Trump needed to accept the transient science and its symbols of common bonding and solidarity.
So the man convalescing in the White House marinates mask-less in his hubris and fantasies but still captures the hearts and loyalty of millions of beleaguered, decent, despised, underestimated, ignored, sane, common sensical, family-loving, patriotic Americans who have been declared “deplorable” by an elite or two. Who shall arise to save us all — the devoted, like them, and the ambivalent, like me?
And October creeps on. I will miss October. I will miss much more than that when November shadows fall over the lands where it is not eternal summer. That is my fear.