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So there I was, avoiding the State of the Union address, the viewing of which I figured I couldn’t possibly survive, when I made the mistake of flipping over to MSNBC to see if it was over. I figured I’d know in a second, right? If Donald was still yapping, I wouldn’t have to linger even long enough to hear a whole mangled Trumpian sentence. I could return to the channel I just left with a flick of the thumb, and exposure would be minimal. So I took the plunge, ill-advisedly, and what I saw was neither Trump bloviating nor pundits discussing whatever assaholic things he’d just said, but something far worse and wholly unexpected, something that had me sitting there in immobilized disbelief, my digit frozen over the channel change button: Melania was hanging the Presidential Medal of Freedom under the double chin of that corpulent, sack of shit right wing radio shock jock Rush Limbaugh. The Presidential Medal of Freedom. For the misogynist. The racist. The Birther. The same honour awarded to the likes of Chuck Yeager, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Jonas Salk, Maya Angelou, Omar Bradley, George Kennan and Nelson Mandela.

Given Limbaugh’s true lifetime contribution to the fabric of American liberty, it was rather like watching a malignant tumour win the Nobel for medicine. But then, why not? Why should there be anything Donald doesn’t sully?

I don’t know what else happened during Trump’s undoubtedly ridiculous speech. I’ve no idea what he said, and I’m not going to bother to find out.*

As I write this, the ascendant emperor’s Senate “trial” hasn’t yet concluded, and Mitch’s invertebrate ball polishers haven’t yet voted to acquit the even bigger malignant tumour whose impeachment was always a foregone conclusion, but once that’s over, all we have left is November. The last bulwark. Watching the Dems flailing around in the wake of the botched Iowa Caucasus, while GOP strategists already have their bibs on hoping to make a meal out of Bernie Sanders (oh, how they hope it’s Bernie), I’m not liking our chances. Trump’s approval ratings are actually at an all time high in the aftermath of his impeachment, and as long as the economy stays relatively buoyant on paper – which seems to be enough to please a huge swath of the electorate, even though ordinary folk have gained little out of the Trump economy, with most of them having no stake in the stock market, and those in agriculture and manufacturing actually getting slammed by Trump’s stupid trade wars – I just don’t know how this breaks our way. Nine months is forever in politics, and a lot can change, but I don’t know.

Maybe this time next near it’ll be David Duke, or Alex Jones, getting the freedom medal. We have to steel ourselves to that, now. We have to get our minds right with it. It’s also worth thinking about whether, when Donald is re-elected, we can or even should bear the agony of paying any further attention to the ongoing disaster. A ship taking on water reaches the point when you know she’s going under. There’s a point when it’s inevitable. What earthly good can there be in watching until the stern finally vanishes and there’s nothing left but boiling froth and flotsam bobbing to the surface?

*Oh, who am I kidding? Sure I will.

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