I ENJOY STUDYING history, but I wasn’t terribly fond of my high school American history class. Our “teacher’s” method consisted of making us memorize names and dates. He graded us on our ability to regurgitate them on demand. No discussion, no exploration. Just names and dates.
A few weeks into the semester, Mr. [Withheld] was hospitalized with a serious illness. The other history teachers had combined and were team teaching their classes, so we joined them. Theirs was a wonderful approach. We discussed not just events, but their context, causes, implications, surrounding issues, and lasting effects. We loved it.
One day during school lunch with my friends Bob and Tim, I said, “I hope Mr. [Withheld] will be okay and return to teach.” Bob said he hoped so, too.
Tim said, “I hope he dies.”
We laughed at Tim’s audacity. He was, of course, being hyperbolic, but in that moment I realized I’d not said the honest but the dutiful thing. Although I didn’t wish Mr. [Withheld] dead, I didn’t want him to return, either.
Fast-forward to today. I wish I were the kind of person who could say—and, more important, mean—the dutiful thing, the thing I like to imagine a good humanist would say, e.g., that I hope Trump recovers. But I wouldn’t mean it. I wish Trump out of office by any non-illegal means possible. If COVID removes his office and, yes, even his life, the world will be better off for it.
Even so, the wait will have been too long and the price too high. He will leave in his wake 200,000-plus COVID-related deaths as of this writing, ramped-up racism and sexism, the intrusion of the religious right into the justice system, strengthened white supremacy, policy made from ignorance, climate catastrophe, science denialism, environmental rape, dictators with Trump’s lipstick on their butts, increased income disparity, sabotaged relationships with allies, disenfranchised voters, vigilanteism, diminished human equity and rights, anti-Muslim policy, locked up children, separated families, and cruelty to the LGBTQ and the non-binary. For starters.
If, unlike me, you can honestly wish Trump well, you are more magnanimous than I. Either that, or you actually support Trump and his policies, which is another way of admitting that you are morally and intellectually bankrupt.
Mr. [Withheld] recovered and dragged us back into drudgery. I hope Mr. Trump does not.
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... where I share thoughts about writing. I don’t consider myself a writing authority, but that doesn’t keep me from presuming to blog like one. Oh, and I reserve the right to digress when I feel like it.