GTFUP – Redux: The Perpetual Ghastly Premise

It likely won’t come as a surprise to the legions of loyal GTFUP readers who were desperately clamoring for a fresh post, but it sure as hell was for me: when I finally posted a half-baked diatribe last week about how the real villains here are the cowardly sumbitches who could reign F.A.T. in, but won’t, it had been 178 days since my last post.

I could go on for hours about the various reasons for this – the multitude of ways that our national tragedy leaves me constantly flummoxed and occasionally downright paralyzed – but let’s be clear, my eagerness to “go on for hours” is a challenge in and of itself.  So headed into a new year, one where our nightmare is only likely to get worse, I’m going to make it a priority to try to be quicker, more agile – to embrace the whole brevity thing – by setting strict time limits for myself: an hour in the evening to write a post, a half hour the following evening to hone, edit and post.

And I’m going to do my damndest to try to diversify my subject matter.  I used to be interested in books and movies, in history and philosophy and cultural phenomena.  Hell, this blog was conceived at a time when I saw our sad, stupid politics as merely an initial entry point for a broader discussion about the ways we need to collectively grow the fuck up.  It’s the reverse now – our art, culture and history are now just a way to make sense of this nightmare – but my goal, even as the darkness inevitably deepens, is to explore those connections, to try to find some meaning and chart some semblance of a way forward, no matter what might come.

And I’m going to try in the coming months to diversify the basic utility of this blog.  My goal is to develop regular, recurring posts, each with a specific theme: a once-weekly post aimed at expanding our capacity to imagine the worst of what might come, for example, or maybe some kind of fun alliterative post like “Talking Points Tuesday,” or a favorite recipe for the Resistance every Sunday night.

But the biggest challenge I’ve had in writing this blog, the reason it’s been 178 days and countless atrocities between posts, is that the atrocities are daily, incessant, and getting worse.  More than that though, when I have sat down in the past 178 days to write about the deluge of shit this President is so proud to unleash, I’ve found myself cowed by the colossal cumulation of this shitstorm: it’s not just that horrific, unprecedentedly un-American things are happening daily, it’s that when you endeavor to tally them up, when you account for all of the outrages we’ve already let slip from our consciousness, the immensity of the horrors to come begins to look insurmountable.

And that – that cumulation of the shitstorm – more than anything, leaves me crippled.

Even as I plug away on this stupid “redux” post, State News is accusing the FBI and Robert Mueller of engaging in a “coup,” the type of language authoritarian regimes use to sweep up dissenters.  F.A.T.’s lawyers have accused Mueller of bullshit “improprieties” that have no basis in law, or fact, or logic, but State News and the loyal rubes who gobble it up, could care less.

And all the while – as Mueller’s investigation reveals itself to be more potent, the likelihood of crimes by many active members of this Administration more likely – Republicans in Congress are showing themselves less willing to do their job, less willing to stand up to an historically and obviously disastrous president, and protect the basic rule of law.

The rumblings out of Washington in the past week have led many to suspect that President Trump is, in fact, plotting to terminate Robert Mueller and to shut down his investigation over the Christmas holiday.  That would be, plainly, very bad: either (i) a Constitutional crisis (if Republicans suddenly develop a sense of basic patriotism, plus cajones), or (ii) even worse, assuming Republicans maintain their pitiable lapdog course, the very type of coup – a flagrant, broad daylight, subversion of the rule of law – that State News is hyperventilating about.

But take a breath and consider the cumulation of the madness of the Trump presidency: recall the lawlessness we’ve already seen from the DHS and the DOJ, recall the open looting we’ve seen from virtually every other agency, recall the countless times F.A.T. has revealed himself without any decency, shame, self-restraint or respect for American values or rule of law, and recall how, as the President’s conduct has gotten worse, Republicans in Congress have gotten more cowardly and feckless.

When you take it all into account, every ghastly day of the past year, we shouldn’t just be worried about Mueller being fired, we should be worried about him being arrested.  We should be worried about a full on purge of lifelong FBI and CIA professionals, and about the overwhelming power of the United States being turned against the President’s political opponents, not to mention the various groups of citizens he so openly disdains.

We should be worried that F.A.T. will follow through on his promise to “lock her up,” and anyone who says that would be a bridge too far needs to grow the fuck up, and start paying attention.

But you, my legions of eager and engaged readers, already understand all of that.  And my last action item, aimed at posting more often than once every 178 days, is to remind myself of that fact.

So moving forward, my goal is to presume that we – or at least those aforementioned legions – are not losing sight of the big picture here, that the cumulative weight of this catastrophe is truly self-evident to most, although unfortunately still, not all.

To help my brain in that regard, I’m adding a new definition to the GTFUP Glossary, what I’m calling, in a bit of gallows whimsy, the Perpetual Ghastly Premise:

  • This is very, very bad, worse than anyone can adequately articulate.
  • We can’t conceive of the damage already done.
  • We can’t conceive of how bad it might get.
  • It will, without any question, get much, much worse.
  • We’re not guaranteed, or entitled to, a happy ending.

If you’re reading, you understand the Perpetual Ghastly Premise, you feel it, live it, every single day.  Secure in that knowledge, my hope – although I’m sure I’ll be referencing the Perpetual Ghastly Premise about as often, if not more, as I refer to “F.A.T.” – is that this will free me to explore other premises, other ideas, to even occasionally stray to other topics altogether.

The Perpetual Ghastly Premise looms over everything, perpetually, and it would be delusional and wrong, given these dark times, to think I might be writing carefree movie reviews any time soon.  But a conversation that repeats itself is not a conversation at all, and I need to grow the fuck up and start advancing the ball.

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