I’ve had obsessions in my life. Ah yes, David Leith in 4th grade. Throughout high school, it was tennis. And I’ve always had a passion for dogs.
My obsessions have been benign.
My father was a man who rushed out of the house when he heard a siren. He loved chasing after police cars, ambulances, and firetrucks hoping to see a disaster. I prided myself on not inheriting that behavior.
I am in the grip of a new obsession. It’s bad enough that it could be called an addiction. The scream of the on-coming train-wreck has me mesmerized.
I cannot stop following the American Presidential election on Facebook.
One post after another, I gawk at unfolding stories of who said what, what has been uncovered, polls and statistics and reactions.
Minutes roll into evenings with me reading about Donald Trump: tax evasion, sexual abuse, pornography, broken international treaties, shady business deals, close ties with Putin, 19th century levels of racism and sexism, xenophobia, narcissistic maneuvers, insults and belittling, anti-intellectualism, flights of rage, denial of constitutional principles and international protocol, drugs, vulgarity, lies and contradictions, marital sagas, repeated bankruptcy, and a range of lawsuits for his libelous and felonious acts.
Oscar Wilde said, “The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.” And he added, “Nothing succeeds like excess.”
Clearly Trump is not a genius. And so, there are people who forgive his character and follow his excess. They like being filmed for Facebook. And in my addiction, I watch them.
Today, it was two white women defending Trump’s unglued rage at a former Miss Universe. They wore matching t-shirts naming themselves the Trumpettes. They called Trump a god, just beneath the level of Jesus, and they swooned, “Finally, someone is going to save us.”
Save them from what? What? If Trump’s behavior is god-like, it is a religion I reject.
I did not re-post the Trumpettes. Yet, they and their kind make my eyes bulge and my jaw drop. Then, I move on to read the next post instead of turning off the computer.
I promise myself I will not re-post. After all, anyone who is going to vote for Trump is not going to be swayed by statements from the Bush women, the living Presidents of the U.S., the Wharton School of Business, the top newspapers in the country, or the impressive array of international scientists, ambassadors, and world leaders.
Then, as with all addictions, Facebook gets the better of me and I cannot stop myself from re-posting certain items. I even comment on some of the posts, both the good ones and the bad. Why do I keep scrolling down, reading post after post? I do not understand my own fascination with the horror of this election. Sometimes I insert a picture of a cute dog as relief from it all.
Despite polls showing the Democratic lead, despite Trump’s obvious unfitness for a national political office, especially the Presidency, still I am afraid he will win.
I am afraid he will separate my beloved country from its allies and principles.
I am afraid he will provoke a world war in order to increase his family’s profits. It will be a nuclear war because it will make him feel powerful.
I am afraid those who like to follow the sirens will push this proto-tyrant to the top.
Ms. Clinton is a politician, which condemns her into a certain circle of hell. However, she is educated, intelligent, and experienced in national and world affairs. World leaders respect her. She understands balanced budgets and has never been indicted or convicted of a crime. She is a woman and she is strong. She has followed through on her oaths for better or for worse.
Ms. Clinton is calm and emotionally balanced, which is more than I can say for myself at this moment. I am on the edge of my seat waiting, hoping for a positive outcome to this Facebook drama.
The New York Times and Washington Post assure me that my country will not lose its grip on equality, democracy, and the hope for peace and environmental progress. I am not so sure. My fear continues to rise. I am afraid Donald Trump will be the President of the United States. But I hope that we get a Hollywood outcome, where the train swerves at the last minute and everyone is saved, instead of disaster being elected.