If there are wise or appropriate words to say when innocent Americans are gunned down in cold blood by a mysteriously demented madman with a warehouse of assault rifles at his disposal ― well, excuse me, I can’t seem to find them.
Yesterday was the kind of nightmare from which one mercifully awakens and immediately says a prayer of thanks that it was only a bad dream. The reality of what took place yesterday is far too harsh to allow it to fully sink in. Tragically, we have all needed to find ways to go on with our lives, knowing that such madness now exists in our society. Mine is shutting down. Completely. I’m sure you all have your “Techniques for Surviving the American Asylum” as well.
We have had to somehow find strategies that make it possible to move on with the full knowledge and awareness that this mayhem in our country will not cease. We have to learn how to live side-by-side with domestic terrorism, even while keeping one eye open at all times for the other kind of terrorism. And, somehow, we have to do all this while still trying to find a way to have a chuckle, care for those we love, and find meaning in our lives. Consciously or unconsciously, most of us now have our ways.
But see. Here’s the problem.
In the past, when tragedies have occurred, we were able to do something. We were able to unite. We were able to draw strength from people in leadership positions who provided us with a moral compass in the darkest of times, whose words gave us a small measure of comfort in the harshest of nights, whose wisdom soothed our frazzled nerves. It wasn’t always perfect, but there used to be something to look up to, ideals to aspire to. There used to be a message, a moment of coming together, a shared instant of healing unity.
As the horror of the massacre in Las Vegas unfolded across our television screens yesterday, it was clear that there would be none of that from this president. There would be no words of wisdom, no assuagement of our shared grief, no small measure of relief from the horror.
In the space these facilities used to be, there exists now a cardboard cutout of a human being, an unwieldy, petulant puppet of a man in whom no true or honest feelings find residence. Soothing fireside chats and the powerful auspices of the presidential podium have given way before the specter of a churlish, disagreeable, ape-like humanoid whose weak attempts at parroting sincere emotion leave us bleak and colder than before. His faint and feeble imitations of empathy can no more alleviate our pangs of grief than a fire can cool a victim of burns.
Now our national dialogue has been rerouted, like the arteries around a heart that has suffered a coronary. We tune out the shallow, grating, disingenuous voice of this ersatz president in favor of new pathways of communication. We open our hearts and minds to our friends, family and even internet strangers, hoping to find common ideals and to draw strength from one another. We stop counting on the traditional role of “leader” because we know from the depths of our instinctual wisdom that this man barely qualifies as a person, much less a president. We find other ways to cope.
There is no such thing as a Comforter-in-Chief anymore. In its stead, we have been left with this yawning void of an angry, impotent presidency. When horror strikes, his voice exacerbates, rather than relieves, our aching.
We have enough sadness in our souls and heaviness in our hearts than to have to deal with Donald Trump’s bitterly unconvincing attempts at evincing compassion. Listening to him adds only further insult to our already overtaxed spirits.
Wherever we may turn for comfort in these troubled times, the majority of Americans now understand that turning to this president for guidance is like scraping sandpaper into our open sores or pouring salt into already infested, weeping wounds.
No, thank you.
As we find new pathways to pump life back into our shattered psyches, Donald Trump would do well to leave his wan, emaciated protestations of condolence out of our national dialogue.
Go back to the golf course, Mr. President.
We’ve got enough problems.