Featuring essays by Elizabeth George on the future of our country

Some of Us Have Arrived at an Extended TLJ Moment

There's a moment in the film The Fugitive in which the relentless US Marshall played by Tommy Lee Jones has the eponymous character, played by Harrison Ford, trapped in a passageway from which the only escape is to jump into water falling several hundred feet from a dam into a river. Harrison Ford tries one last time to save himself from having to make this jump, saying insistently to Tommy Lee Jones, "I didn't kill my wife," to which Tommy Lee Jones casually and memorably replies, "I don't care." My husband and I refer to this scene often about various occurrences in our lives. "It's a TLJ moment," we say, an I-don't-care moment.

That where we are in this country now. Some of our fellow voters are in the midst of an extended TLJ moment. This is because in order to be a closet voter for Donald Trump (as mentioned in an earlier missive: these would be the voters who are going to cast a ballot for Trump but never admit it to you or to anyone else), or any other kind of voter for Donald Trump, that individual must willingly enter into the realm of I-don't-care.

In voting for Trump, these people are giving an imprimatur, a high five, a wink, a thumb's up for a number of attitudes reflected in the words of Donald Trump and a number of Trump-approved activities that have taken place during his first term of office. Closet Trump voters will wish to deny this, naturally. They will say things like: "I'm voting for him of his stand on abortion" or "...because he's saved the economy" or "...because he won't raise my taxes" or "...because I will never risk my 401K" or "...because he's brought jobs back to America", making any number of points to defend themselves, whether these points are true or not. But what they won't say is what their vote for Trump is actually supporting and, if you should venture into pointing this out to them, they will have an immediate and frequently chilling comeback (samples given in parentheses below). So voting for Trump in this coming election tells him that the voter is A-okay with:

1). Removing children from their parents on the Mexico/US border ("If they hadn't tried to get into this country, their children wouldn't have been taken away.")

2). Refusing to allow persecuted migrants fleeing for their lives into the country for an asylum hearing. ("Those people will say anything to get into the country and most of them are liars.")

3). Forcing migrants into "detention camps" with inadequate protection from those who prey upon them. ("So why did they come here in the first place if they're so afraid of being raped? If they hadn't come here, it wouldn't have happened.")

4). Allowing offshore oil drilling and oil drilling in previously protected lands. ("If a few animals die or species go extinct, so what? We're doing just fine without the dinosaurs, aren't we?")

5). Putting unqualified donors to his campaign into jobs for which they are not qualified. ("Oh, just name me one who's done any real damage, for God's sake.")

6). Eliminating or gutting the Affordable Care Act. ("We got along just fine without the ACA before and we'll do just fine without the ACA after. Besides, Trump's promised to repeal and replace it, hasn't he?")

7). The continuation of systemic racism. ("It doesn't exist. That whole thing is bullshit political correctness run amok.")

8). The continued affirmation of white supremacists. ("Well, I'm white and I don't know any white supremacists. That's a big myth cooked up by the NAACP, I bet.")

9). The gleeful violation of the emoluments clause in the Constitution. ("He's President! Of course people want to go to his hotels and resorts if they can afford it. Wouldn't you? And anyway, making money is a bonus to being President.")

10). The removal of women's rights to determine what their bodies are going to be used for. ("She should have closed her legs if she didn't want to get pregnant.")

11). The non-payment of taxes. ("This proves how smart he is.")

12). Four more years of the above. ("Hasn't hurt me a bit.")

And on and on. In order to vote for Trump, the voter has to turn a blind eye to every lie he's told, every death he's caused, every indecent act he's engaged in. The voter has to pretend that Donald Trump's Presidency would have been a rip-roaring success if not for the evils of Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Adam Schiff, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Deep State, and a rogues gallery of "Marxist Democrats" whose real intention is to destroy Democracy. The Trump voters have to twist their consciences, their brains, their psyches, and their souls into veritable pretzels to put their stamp of approval upon him. And they will do exactly that. And there is nothing--not a single thing--that the rest of us can do to stop them.

Except. We can vote. As of yesterday 5,000,000 people have voted already. The rest of us can literally storm the polling places on election day. Or we can vote early (like now) where voting is open. Or we can fill out our ballots the very day we get them. We can mail those ballots, or drop them off at collection sites, or take them directly to the county's election office. For the reality at this point is that it's not likely any Trump voter is going to give his or her vote to anyone but the man they see as The Chosen One. To me, that fact--the mindless devotion to a liar, fraudster, tax evader, draft dodger, sexual predator, misogynist, racist, xenophobe --is only part of what has become our national tragedy.

Elizabeth George



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