An Emetic for the American People


The summer after we graduated high school, we watched—or at least many of us watched—the unfolding horror of the disappearance and murder of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, near Philadelphia, Mississippi.

It has been 56 years since that day, 56 long and wearisome years for the oppressed.

And still, and still, over at the high school Facebook page, some of my classmates blather on .. and on .. and on, speaking of the glorious Confederate monuments and their glorious Confederate heritage. Others, I am happy to say, push back.

And the Mississippi Legislature decides this would be a fine and opportune time to change its damn flag. And down at Ole Miss, the Confederate monument is going to go.

As I sit here this evening, I am reminded of Washington and Jefferson and that crew. They were Deists, espousing belief in a watchmaker God, a God who did not make it her business to intervene in human history. But their success in the American Revolution seemed so miraculous, so divinely inspired, that they came to question their Deist views—or, at least, one might put it, to hedge their opinions.

I, myself, will not take this occasion to change my theology. I will not declare that it is God who has made us drop the scales from our eyes, and who has make the Mississippi Legislature reconsider its views.

And yet something miraculous is happening. How can we explain it?

My theory is that Donald Trump has so wallowed in narcissism, cruelty, and stupidity that it is as if he has forced 80 percent of the country to force down a powerful emetic.

About 20 percent of us—including my classmates who, like the Bourbon Dynasty, have learned nothing from history and forgotten nothing—enjoy wallowing in the mud along with Trump.

About 80 percent of us feel the need for a nice long trip to the bathroom. A need to stay there until we have vomited the poison from our system.

Cruelty is becoming decidedly unpopular.

Bigotry is losing its good name.

And now, in the fulness of time, at long last, the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.