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I’m getting weary. But “keep hope alive!”

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I get emotionally exhausted sometimes, keeping up with all this Trump nonsense and the impending election.

I should probably not get so wrapped up in politics. It’s not good for my health. But that’s who I am: it’s how I was raised, to be passionate about politics, which after all is a blood sport. (It was the British Labor Party politician Aneurin Bevan, a member of the House of Commons during World War II, and a man Churchill loathed, who invented that metaphor.) But I can’t help myself; I waver between optimism (that there will be a Blue Wave this November) and fear (that there won’t, and Trump will be re-elected).

Sometimes I change my mind 40 times a day. Currently, I’m in one of the fear modes: he will be re-elected, and the reason why is this anti-cop and anti-monument phenomenon that’s sweeping the country. As committed as I am to doing everything in my power to defeat Trump (and all Republicans), I have to admit to increasing trepidation about what the Left is doing, and how they’re going about it.

The thing to remember is that most Americans like and respect cops. They know that the “thin blue line” is all that separates them from “the bad guys.” (Who ya gonna call when you’re accosted, a social worker?) They also know—now more than ever—that there are indeed some bad apples in the barrel, maybe a lot of bad apples, and that these rogue players need to be weeded out. They know that hiring practices have to be reformed. They know that the “code of silence” ultimately does not work to the benefit of cops, and they know that police unions all too often are roadblocks to reform.

At the same time, most Americans are in no mood to “defund the police.” Indeed, the phrase itself is offensive. If it doesn’t mean, literally, taking 100% of police department budgets away (and its backers insist that’s not what they mean), then the phrase is stupid. It ought to be discarded and replaced with something else: “reform police budgets” or something. The truth is, a massive number of Americans is repelled by all this talk of defunding, of ACAB (all cops are bastards), “kill the police,” and so on. That’s hate speech, as surely as using the n-word or calling a gay person a faggot. We’re seeing pro-cop demonstrations around the country, as citizens—not all of whom, I might remind you, are racists—rally to the cause of their local police departments. We’re also seeing–and I hate to say it–a growing fascism on the part of the Left, where people aren’t allowed to say how they really feel, out of fear of being picketed or attacked.

These same Americans are similarly concerned about the riots and looting that continue to plague American cities in the wake of the George Floyd murder. They don’t like seeing their shopping districts boarded up or, even worse, burned down. They don’t like seeing their CVS stores and Ace Hardwares and 7-Elevens looted. They don’t understand how robbing a food market has anything to do with civil rights, and when they hear that the same people who are demanding the removal of statues of Confederate generals just tore down a statue of Frederick Douglass, a Black man of immense historic importance in America, they’re positively baffled. It makes the protesters seem, not like patriotic idealists but more like insane children.

These are the emotions Trump is playing to, and when I’m in fearful moods like I am now, I have a sense that he might somehow get re-elected. I had the same sense in September and October of 2016, when all the polls said Hillary was going to be elected. A nagging voice inside me worried that something was happening in America, or certain parts of America—something that wasn’t being discerned by the pollsters. I worried so much that I was rushed to the hospital the day before election day: two stents were put into my chest. I awoke, in my hospital bed, to news of Trump’s victory, and wept silently into my pillow.

That same nagging voice is whispering to me now. Oh, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. How I wish I had the power to wave my hand and make Trump go away, make his felonious family go away, make McConnell and Nunes and Cruz and Graham and Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan and the rest of the cult disappear into the ash heap of history. How I wish I could make Biden win in a landslide, have the Democrats increase their majority in the House and take over the Senate with a veto-proof 60 seats! And how I wish that next year will be the start of payback, with trials and hearings and prison sentences for the worst of the Republicans, including Trump himself.

But I don’t have that power, and that’s what gnaws at me. Hopefully, my fears are just passing clouds, presaging sunnier days. Tomorrow, I might feel much better. But, like I said, this see-sawing is getting tiresome. Binge watching “Sex and the City” gets my mind temporarily off it, but I know that’s escapism. We have real problems in America, and sticking our heads in the sand so we don’t see them solves nothing. All I can do is persuade myself to be optimistic.

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