Post-hyperbole us

Happy new year.  The horror that was 2020 hangs like a cloud over 2021, but faint glimmers of hope coax us off the ledge:

There is a vaccine (in fact several) for Covid-19, even though it may be an unnecessarily tense wait for the vulnerable to be inoculated…and relief may be short-lived if resistant mutations arise.

Donald Trump WILL leave the White House no later than January 20, even if a removal van or a paddy wagon has to carry him away in his favorite chair.

It looks like Mitch McConnell will no longer enjoy a stranglehold on the Senate…and that means the American people may actually see those $2,000. relief checks come their way under the new Biden administration.

Unless DT goes full-on Strangelove some time in the next two weeks (a distinct possibility), we may avoid war with Iran and begin to reconstruct all the damaged alliances and trade relationships left in the wake of Trump’s wrecking-ball brand of diplomatic malpractice.

Can we see a return to “normal” in the foreseeable future?  Most unlikely.  Just as you can’t un-ring a bell, there is no way to erase the blot to America’s dignity and sense of democratic purpose left by this one unspeakable administration.

We are culturally bereft. So great were the abuses of the Trump years that even language has begun to desert us.  Trump’s inartful lies and distortions were framed by the dwindling vocabulary that usually signals dementia.  Coherent expression often escaped him entirely in his reach for self-gloried hyperbole.

“Everyone is saying…” “Largest Ever…”  “Most EVER…” “Biggest’  “Nobody does it better/knows more about it (whatever it is) than me.” The departing president never met a positive fact he couldn’t improve upon exponentially, or an outright lie he couldn’t render even less believable through inflation.  His purple rage at anyone who would’t carry his water has been routinely punctuated with exaggerated insults and name-calling that doesn’t even make sense..  

The counterpart is that, after four years of searching for descriptors for his venality and corruption, we are simply out of hyperbole.  Henceforth, we will be unable to say a public figure is the most “corrupt” “selfish” or “incompetent” without acknowledging DT as the former title holder.  It is a kind of immortality that Trump might actually appreciate since he craves everlasting attention.

What ever will we do with all the time we have wasted on defensive Trump-watch once he has been forced to surrender the nuclear football? There will be stories to tell for generations, but the gut-grinding fear of Trump’s evil whimsy will no longer punctuate our every conversation.  

Soon we’ll be well-rid of this abomination, but I tend to agree with the pessimists who say that as a nation, we can never be quite the same. We’ll limp into the future, a mere shadow of our former world stature.

“Great again?” I rather think not.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

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