I need a break from the president — time off from the coverage, the conversation and the anxieties.
Everyone, stop retweeting and swear off cable news. Don’t even mention his name. Reporters, the president is boycotting the White House correspondents’ dinner. Couldn’t you boycott the briefing room for just a week?
For the last few months, I’ve been waking up every day braced for reports of democratic outrages, international embarrassments and just plain bizarre pronouncements. Opening the newspaper or turning on the computer that first Trump-free morning might feel disorienting. Imagine reading, watching and discussing … well, anything else. It’s a big world out there, at least it used to be. Surely someone somewhere is still doing un-Trump things worth telling us about.
We’d switch on the car radio and there’d be utter Trumplessness all the way to work. The talk show hosts who’ve been all Trump all the time would probably be thrilled to change the subject. At work we wouldn’t have to snarl at that gloating colleague who loves to say, “He won fair and square. Now get over it, snowflake.” He’ll say something else annoying, but still.
On Facebook there’d be no toxic shares or policy updates to panic us about the future of civilization. No calls to action to make us feel inadequate and personally responsible for letting the world crumble. Instead of plodding through posts that inspire paralyzing dread, we’d scroll happily through baby-animal memes and celebrity gossip. Those filter-enhanced selfies and humble brags from old college roommates that got on our nerves in the pre-Trump days would suddenly seem dear and innocent.
At least briefly, we could avoid someone’s terror over a sister’s precarious medical coverage or a brother’s tragic deportation. There would still be hideous tragedies, but for a blessed few days we wouldn’t be subjected to knowing exactly how our president caused them, condoned them, responded inappropriately to them or ignored them completely.
Once we weren’t grappling with the fact that all compassion is being eliminated from our public institutions we’d be much more productive. With no fresh threat to all that we consider sacred, we would be capable once again of creative thought.
Trump’s face wouldn’t leer out from the tabloids in the supermarket line. We could temporarily stop apologizing to the hijab-wearing cashier for a president we didn’t vote for but still feel guilty about. Helping our kids with their current-events homework wouldn’t necessarily make us cry.
Perhaps we’d even crave fewer carbs at lunch. And maybe we wouldn’t wonder if the driver stuck in traffic beside us was armed and emboldened.
At first we might struggle to remember how to talk about anything other than whatever loony thing Trump had said or done that day. But it would come back to us and we’d laugh. Remember laughter? Not sardonic, bitter, hopeless, gallows laughter, but the ha-ha-ha, tee-hee kind?
And perhaps by the fourth or fifth day, we would actually sleep through the night. We might start to feel so good we could cut back on our meds.
Were we blissfully happy before Trump? No. But in the same way we’d enjoy just one more day in possession of a firm butt, endless stamina and thick hair now that we’ve experienced life without such things, a chance to live again in the pre-Trump world we once took for granted would seem especially sweet.
Never mind the crushing dread at the week’s end. Our consolation would come from knowing how crazy it would make the narcissist in chief if no one paid attention to him for a whole week.