ON THE 1st DAY OF FALL, ON TRUMP’S 975TH DAY:
WONDERING WHEN, HOW & IF THE TERROR ENDS
I couldn’t blame him.
It’s been a wickedly delicious September here in Newport, R.I. – at least so far, since hurricane season’s not over. Days drenched in sunlight; comforting breezes direct-delivered from the Atlantic; lawns still lush. Cat’s been spending every waking moment sleeping on the back deck, moving only to follow the shifting sunshine.
As for me, I’ve (successfully) been hectoring The Grouchy One for multiple walks every day. This morning, we did the Newport Harbor - South tour. Tons of money tied up there in supersized yachts, sleek cabin cruisers, sport-fishing boats, runabouts, sunset-sail schooners. Harbor’s still full, even with official start of Autumn, which just happens to be? Today!
“Can you believe it?” I said to Cat, who didn’t move a whisker or claw.
“It’s Fall!” I said.
Still nothing from Cat, eyes slammed closed tightly as if they were hurricane shutters.
“By the way,” I said to him, “the Question the Day is NOT ‘When’s Autumn?’ "
“Well,’ you ask, ‘What is the Question?’ “ I said, keeping both ends of the conversation going as if I was moored at both sides of a chess board.
“The Question of the Day is (drum roll) ‘Will Donald Trump finally get what’s coming to him, what with news he’s suspected of trying to bully the Ukrainian president into digging up dirt on Joe Biden, Trump’s potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 presidential race?’ “
“The Answer of the Day, you idiot, is: NO!”
I nearly jumped out of my silk-smooth, blindingly beautiful white fur coat, with my soft-as-angel-wings ears practically standing straight up when I heard that. Not because of the “No,” part. But because of where it came from. Cat had joined the conversation.
“It’s been ‘No’ during the campaign; it was ‘No’ on Nov. 8, 2016 when he won the election; it was ‘No’ on Jan. 20, 2017 when he was sworn in; and it’s been ‘No’ ever since. ‘No.’ ‘No.’ ‘No,’ “ Cat said, as he crawled under a deck chair to get a break from the Autumn sun.
“Do you want the political science technical answer; the cosmic answer; or the common sense answer?” Cat replied.
“Whatever you think is best, Cat,” I said, still amazed that he was actually “engaging,” as a Trump-Therapy group psychologist might put it.
“The poly-sci answer is that the Senate is controlled by a criminal enterprise known as the Republican Party,” Cat said. “Further, the Supreme Court’s toady/justice equation is 5 to 4, in Trump’s favor. So, the idea that three co-equal branches of government can keep each in check like the Founding Geniuses predicted isn’t working out. As far as the Constitution is concerned, Trump is pretty much a free range president.”
“What is this, a TED Talk?” I said.
“In the Second Term,” Cat said, “those will be known TrumpED Talks, part of the Great Renaming.”
“As for the cosmic, only-God-knows, answer, it’s pretty much going the way Trump predicted when he said what would happen if he shot somebody standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue: nothing. Nobody can explain it. It’s like he’s endowed with sort of some evil immunity, impervious to the laws of man, science and nature.”
“Now, the common sense answer: Nobody cares,” Cat said, winding up his lecture and about to head back to the deck.
“True enough, Phoebe,” Cat said. “But here’s the problem: For all the angst that, let’s say, even half of the voters are experiencing, nothing actually matters, day-to-day.”
“But we DO care,” I said.
“Actually, Phoebe,” Cat said in his best TED Talkers Know Best Tone, “it comes down to the difference between ‘caring’ and ‘mattering.’ Like, when was the last time you picketed the White House, wrote to your Senator, lay down in the middle of an Interstate highway, held an intervention to deprogram a neighborhood Trumpist, organized a national strike, flooded the front desk at Trump hotels with phony reservations, demanded your state legislature outlaw the game of golf for The Duration, or pounded the kitchen table?”
“But…,” I began.
“And you know why?” Cat said.
“I’m all ears – angel-wing-soft ears,” I said.
“Trump is kind of like Climate Change,” the TED Talking Tabby said. “The end of the planet is coming. But not yet. Not today. Not on the first day of Fall, 2019. Democracy is falling apart; just imagine what’s a Second Term going to be like? The horror. But not today.”
“For most us, nothing’s really changed. Most of us aren’t in detention camps on the border or holed up in Mexico, or being murdered by gangsters back ‘home.’ Most of us aren’t homeless in Los Angeles and being classified by Trump as an environmental hazard. Most of us aren’t an endangered bird or a kid gulping down lead-poisoned municipal water.”
“We worry about all of those things,” Cat said. “But the sun comes up. And it’s another beautiful day. Fall is forever. We eat. Shop. Work (most of us, Phoebe and I are mere house pets). Sometimes we get sick. We text. We walk around the harbor. Pay bills. Watch Netflix. Sack out in the sun. Surf.”
“It’s awful to think about, sure,” Cat said. “But it’s not awful enough, not yet, not for most of us. In fact, for enough of us, life in America is like it was when we had a president we liked and admired and didn’t have to think about all day. It’s still a great country, not for all of us, but enough of us.”
Now, I sensed the Power Point software was shutting down and the laptop being packed up.
“Maybe you get up in the morning, turn on the TV, read the Post or the Times on the tablet and rage and storm around the kitchen. But when the dishes are done, it’s another wonderful September day. In fact it’s the first day of Fall, and it’s just as it should be. Injustice rules the day, but hundreds of miles away in Washington; Trump escapes the latest controversy. But our lives, your life, my life? Still pretty good.”
And with that, Cat sauntered onto the back deck, and quickly located the largest pool of warm sunlight, and closed his eyes tight as hurricane shutters and slept through the rest of the first day of Autumn and the 975th day of Donald J. Trump’s first term.