I have a confession to make.
I am tired of Donald Trump.
At this point, November can’t come fast enough. If we could cancel September and October, I’d do so in a heartbeat.
In this, I’m hardly alone. Other pundits have said as much. Even comedians, for whom Trump is the functional equivalent of time off with pay, seem weary of him. As Larry Wilmore of the late, lamented “Nightly Show” recently put it, “Donald Trump has stopped being funny. He’s stopped being outrageous. He’s stopped being politically incorrect. He’s just downright dangerous.”
For an opinion writer, no less than for a comedian, Trump has been the gift that keeps on giving. He is Sarah Palin on steroids, Ben Carson in IMAX. He is an extra-large platter of George W. Bush washed down with a tall glass of Ted Cruz.
Stuck for something to write about? Editor on your back? That’s not a problem in the Trump era. Just Google his name and take your pick of the fresh offerings of Longhorn waste that dribble from his lips – and his Twitter feed – on an hourly basis.
He makes my job easier. But I am tired of Donald Trump.
The weird thing is that my Trump fatigue lives side by side with a certain Trump fascination that compels me to keep abreast of all his absurdities. You might liken it to the proverbial wreck on the highway that you can’t help staring at, but the analogy is inexact. Here’s a better one:
You know how it is when you’ve eaten the all-you-can-eat buffet into bankruptcy and you’re sitting in agony with your pants unbuckled so your gut can breathe, and the food wasn’t even that good … but you still go back for one more helping of coconut shrimp?
That’s kind of how it is with me and Trump right now, a cycle of repulsion and attraction. He’s the bad buffet you can’t resist. He’s the cheating girlfriend you keep taking back.
I am tired of Donald Trump. But I am fascinated by Donald Trump. But I am tired of Donald Trump.
A couple weeks ago, I got an email from a friend of mine, a former journalist who attended a Trump rally in Jacksonville, Florida. He wrote that at one point, Trump insinuated Hillary Clinton is having an affair with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
“I’m surprised,” wrote my friend, “such a repugnant comment wasn’t picked up on by the national media. A major candidate implying that his opponent is sleeping with another man? How awful is this guy that even a comment like that gets lost in the mix?”
The short answer? Very.
My friend urged me to write about it, but I demurred. I’ve been thinking about that ever since.
I have passed on writing about so much of what Trump and his surrogates have said and done – there is simply not enough space or time. But it strikes me that there is a danger here subtler and more insidious than that posed by the candidate himself. By which I mean, the idea that we might learn to shrug off his epic coarseness, brazen mendacity, appalling ignorance, enormous narcissism and utter incompetence.
I don’t know that we can afford that luxury.
Granted, no one can maintain a state of perpetual outrage. And yet, accommodating yourself to Trumpism – getting used to it – feels too much like surrender, like giving up on reasoned discourse, civil dissent, coherent logic, and other theoretical north stars of political debate.
I don’t know what the answer is.
All I know is that I am sick and tired of Donald Trump.
Yet, here I am, still writing about Donald Trump.
And November is a hundred years away.
Write to Leonard Pitts at firstname.lastname@example.org.