Trumpism is a drug

No spoilers please, but my wife and I are about eight episodes in to the current season of Orange is the New Black. (So, okay, spoiler alert, if you’re not that far along.)

Nicki and Red just had a touching moment in the shower. Not THAT kind of touching moment, you pervert. Nicki is all sorts of strung out on drugs. Red doesn’t know what to do.

Nicki blearily says something along the lines of, “Bring it on. Blame me. I was always a lost cause. Nothin’ you could do. It was always going to end this way. Tell me how awful I am. Tell me how much I’ve disappointed you. Whatever.”

Red breaks down in tears. She’s got nothing left. Nothing she can say to make Nicki see what a self-destructive, awful path she’s heading down. Red just cries, anguished moans of despair escaping her as she tries to blame herself. She failed Nicki, just like she failed another drug dependent inmate who ended up in an early grave.

That’s how I feel about my conservative friends who, despite all evidence, are backing a mad man for president. They know how bad it is for them, and for us. They know they’re on a self-destructive path they can’t break from. But they can’t stop. And every word I say only feels like its pushing them further into the arms of this despotic madman.

And I want to break down in tears.

I like these friends.

I respect their intellect (except where it’s been blinded by the fear Trump so competently packages and sells). They are compassionate, feeling people, numbed by the drug of hate administered by Donald Trump.

I know they are better than that.

But I know they seem lost. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can do or say to get them back on track. Even trying may push them further onto the path of destruction. It is like dealing with a person in the grips of addiction, but instead of addiction to drugs or alcohol, they are addicted to fear: Fear of the brown hordes (that really aren’t) flooding across our southern border. Fear of the radical Islamic refugees swarming from Syria (even though it’s a trickle of well-vetted refugees escaping the Islamic radicals). Fear of the cop-killers (even though far fewer cops have been killed in the line of duty this year than last; and far more innocent civilians have been killed by cops than innocent cops killed by civilians).

So, yes, I want to break down like Red did. And I want to reach them, the way that display of emotion appears to have reached Nicki, who promises Red at the end of the episode that she’s going to get clean.

But (no spoilers!) I kind of doubt that story has a happy ending. I hope it does; but I doubt it.

I’ve got much more faith in Donald Trump losing than I do in Nicki making it to the end of this current season. And his defeat will be a good thing. But it won’t be an ending. Just as Orange Is The New Black will be back next year, so will Trumpism, though it may take a different form, most likely in a different guise.

But America is best when it doesn’t give in to hate and fear. When we concentrate on the things that unite us rather than those that divide us.

That is the spirit Barack Obama called to eight years ago when he took office. And that is the spirit I pray will prevail this year, and every year after in these United States.

Trump is a drug. Trumpism is a drug. But it’s a habit I know America can break. We are better than that.

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