Nicholson: America reunited
I don’t spend much time on Facebook anymore. I fought my part of the election war there. Friends of mine who dropped out early asked why would I wade onto a battlefield so vicious? Why didn’t I unfriend those who spouted insults and epithets rather than argue with reason, reposted stories founded on the flimsiest so-called evidence and which I regularly and firmly disarmed with facts from a broad variety of international and domestic news and fact-checking sources?
We won back the presidency and lost one of our local congressional seats to a right-wing restaurant owner dodging due process and gushing conspiracy theories, perhaps perfectly summing up what we accomplished: an end to the political aspirations of one of the most toxic politicians ever to strut upon the national stage even as a small host of conspiracists leaked into the national Congress. I guess now we’re all set up to finally find out if there really are aliens not of this Earth among us.
As this singular year hurtles toward its ignominious conclusion, I reflect on how we got here and what it all means. We all, I think, start off trying to create life in our own image and find along the way the limits of our power to do so. We meet an early fork in the road where those who ignore those limits, people such as our soon-to-be ex-president, go down the path of singular affliction. The rest choose the path that leads toward community. Both are probably necessary for the progress of the human species. And both are worth studying.
Mr. Trump did some good things in New York. The old Commodore Hotel moldering next to Grand Central Station and his resurrection of it into a Grand Hyatt was his overture that signaled an imaginative and audacious career in real estate that anyone who hails from New York knows is one of that city’s foundational pillars (no puns intended).
Sure, he failed in Atlantic City and at a lot of other things. Haven’t we all? But, his Trump Tower helped revitalize Fifth Avenue and other residential towers that bore his magical name helped ignite New York’s condo prices to their stratospheric levels. All but his bankers and the celebrities he hung with ignored his reputation as a self-promoting loudmouth who failed more often than he succeeded.
When he stepped onto the national political stage our jaws dropped. What caused that wasn’t him per se. It was our collective belief (and by ‘our’ I am referring to that loose collection of self-critical citizens across the political spectrum who know “alternative facts” and lies mean the same thing), that as a nation we just weren’t that gullible.
Now, watching the rats divide between the deniers and those scurrying to distance themselves from the dysfunction he brought, I for one, take little solace in what the harsh light of politics uncovered of which I won’t go into details here as much ink has already been spilled on the topic.
What I am waiting for with eager and curious anticipation is this: What turn will the Republican Party now take? Will it be a cult party, a collection of conspiracists, of hypocrites, of racists and bully boys and those about to hide behind congressional immunity, the Second Amendment and Republican Jesus? Will it return to those traditional conservative values people like Jeff Flake and Mitt Romney talk about? One way or another, there’s no going back. America is changing. And you know what they say about change …
Gus Nicholson is a resident of Denver and Avon.
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