Two days ago, on a Sunday morning, I downloaded a PDF of the full Mueller report. I plan to read it, in dribs and drabs, as my busy schedule permits, in its totality, because I feel it’s my patriotic duty to do so.
After downloading the thing, I did what many middle-class dudes do on a beautiful Sunday when it’s been a couple of weeks or so since the mower’s been out of the garage. I rolled the beast out, filled its belly with high octane gasoline, and yanked the start cord. The things spurted, then roared. I commenced pushing it all around my yard. The sweat rolled down my cheeks as countless blades met their gruesome ends. In an hour or so, the grass had been decapitated and I was done. Done. Done. Done.
I went inside, stripped down to my birthday suit, and climbed into the shower. The hot water felt good and I started thinking about politics. For one to ponder politics while he is soaping his naked body up after a dirty job is likely a sign that said person needs to get a life. Certainly there are many other more pleasant things to think about. But my mind delves—nearly of its own accord without my permission–into the political nearly every chance it gets. I think I’m so into politics because I spent a large portion of my early life dirt poor, raised by a mom who didn’t have a husband or an education. To say that things were tight during my childhood is like saying Donald Trump is a bit obnoxious. Those early experiences taught me, in the most visceral way possible, that the poor and powerless get screwed in a million different ways and that it’s the rich and powerful that do the screwing. It should not surprise a single reader to hear me say that the disempowered frequently become the disenchanted.
Thus, politics, to me, is personal. I can’t claim ownership of that statement. In fact, I ripped it off from Mayor Pete, now on the campaign trail along with half the Democratic powerbrokers that reside in this land of the fruited plain with so much purple mountain majesty. I heard him say it recently, perhaps when he was being interviewed by Rachel Maddow? I liked it so much I decided to commit plagiarism and stick it in this little ditty.
What came to me this past Sunday (when I was in the shower) is the thought that I don’t want America to become Trumpistan. I’ve lived in Trumpistans before, and I saw how such places work. Actually, they don’t work. They stagger along like zombie nations—not dead, not alive, but certainly rotting. Though we still claim to be the good ole United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave, we are slowly being corrupted by a corrupting influence. We don’t want to live in a place where the leader is above the law. We don’t want to live in a place where racism, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and such become acceptable. We don’t want to live in a place where there’s one system of justice for those with clout and another for those without. We don’t want to live in a place where nationalism and patriotism are conflated. We don’t want to live in a place where America gives the middle finger to its international allies and trashes long-standing partnerships. We don’t want to live in a place that closely resembles a theocracy. We don’t want to live in a place that devalues education and educators and poo-poos the idea that climate change is real and a threat to our very existence.
That’s why I’m going to read the Mueller report and advise everyone else to do the same. If we don’t learn as much as we can about the sickness that’s infected our body politic, this place we all claim to love might cease to be the sort of place we can be proud of.