I don't know her, she knows nothing about me—other than, we're educated northerners. Yet she excuses her lack of correspondence on a business venture we're trying to discuss by writing, "I'm too consumed with the country falling apart under this administration to notice anything else these days!"
Try to think of another era since WWII when a stranger could pretty much rely on another stranger to nod knowingly (and bond tribally) at a statement that full of drama. It's a kind of cultural unity I've never experienced in my lifetime.
As badly as some of us believe President Trump is hurting the country, Trump has been psychologically good for some people—actually, lots of people, and in some ways you and me—to the point that I'm afraid Trump's constituency might be quietly growing, to include:
Narcissists, and other assholes. Do you think they want to go back to the bad old days of a year ago, when their employees and customers and daughters called them phony liars? (The National Institutes of Health estimates narcissists to make up 6.2% of the population.)
Dummies, who must feel smarter than before, and suddenly equipped to weigh in with gravitas on world affairs.
Frenemies, who can be friends again, because the issues they used to argue about now pale in comparison.
Borderline racists, who now look like Martin Luther King. And non-racists, who now look like Malcolm X. Whatever your racial point of view this side of white supremacists, Trump makes you look better by comparison.
Republicans who don't like Trump, and who are now revered as pillars of intellectual integrity by their Democrat friends who used to loathe them. That must feel good.
Democrats who used to complain a lot to other Democrats that Obama wasn't doing enough, or that he was doing too many drone strikes. These folks are enjoying four years of giving Mister Mouth a rest. (Okay, no they're not; but they must be reenergized to have an enemy they can really sink their teeth into.)
Promoters of communication conferences, who know it's good for business to promise that their event will seek clarity in a moment of disorientation.
And so many people who think they are above making small talk but who don't actually want to talk about anything personal or intellectually taxing. They've gotten used to the faux-serious conversation-starter, "Didja see Trump's tweet today?"
And bloggers stuck for a Tuesday post and looking for one subject he knows everyone is contemplating.
As awful as Trump is—and as fun as it is to imagine him leaving the scene, ignominiously and immediately—it's also hard to imagine a world without him insanely blurting out "Pocahontas" while honoring a group of Native American Code Talkers.
And if you think this mass psycho-social habit is recent enough that we can quit any day now: The headline for this article is stolen from a Vital Speeches website article that appeared on May 4, 2016.
We're in trouble, people. And very likely, in more trouble than we know—politically, culturally and psychologically.