It happened during the middle ages—mine, not Europe’s. I had developed a very distressed gallbladder. I realize my discomfort level was nowhere near the agony of childbirth, but for me the hours of the level ten pain were bad enough. There was nothing I could take that would relieve the discomfort, no posture I could assume, no way out of the agony. I just had to wait it out, and then, five or six hours after the onslaught had begun, the pain would ease and I would again become a full human being. While I cannot now relive the level of discomfort I experienced, I can remember how marvelous it felt it when finally the spasms that had immobilized me faded. “Oh” what blessed relief!
These days not an hour goes by when I do not hear from friends, colleagues or even complete strangers how painful these last months have been. Political campaigns usually have been exciting tension-filled times, but this one has been different. It was more than the sheer nastiness of the charges and counter-charges, but an overriding sense that something had poisoned the American dream.
Donald Trump had introduced a virus into the American psyche. Never have we had to witness such a display of bitterness and invective. Not only had he fouled his own political nest, but he had also poisoned the dreams of millions of disillusioned citizens who believe that Hillary is so deeply flawed she cannot be trusted, but who decided to vote for her anyhow. I never fell for that line and do not believe it even now. But that suspicion has drained the nectar out of the fruit of electoral politics and left us with a dry bitter pulp.
This campaign has gone on far too long. There ought to have been a way to responsibly limit the months of invective we have lived through. The pain has been terrible, but now we realize that in less than a week blessed relief will be on the way.
Even though the crisis will soon pass, the seed planted in the body politic by the emergence of the tea party remains in the background. This seed has been fertilized and watered by the right wing of the Republican Party through the idiocy of Donald Trump, not realizing that neither he nor the Party could survive the poisonous results. America has been left with the Republicans in shambles, a cloud over the Presidency and the nation’s future uncertain.
For now we will try to focus on how Hillary puts her administration together as America plans for the celebration that accompanies the inauguration of a president. At this writing, while the Senate may be friendly, the House may still be controlled by enough angry antagonists that the nation may have a difficult time as a new leadership seeks to move us ahead.
But the pain is easing off, even if the debilities it produced remain. ISIS thrives in the wake of a series of Middle East wars we never should have fought, the economy staggers along, racism has again reared its ugly head, the devastating results of climate change grow more ominous every year, a major political party has been disassembled, and I grow older without becoming wiser.