You can’t enter a new year without undoing all the mistakes you made in the previous one. Forthwith my apologies for the missteps of 2018.
1. I still blamed Hillary Clinton for running a poor campaign. She didn’t. She ran the campaign that got her enough votes to win—minus Russian interference, a complicit social media, and gerrymandering and voter suppression on a massive scale.
2. I felt a modicum of regret at having labeled Trump’s basket of deplorables a basket of deplorables. I apologize to them for (as the previous Republican president would say) misunderestimating their deplorability. Supporting gun rights after Parkland, defending the wall after the caravan fiasco, cheering the recent Obamacare ruling which will allow them to get sick and die sooner….“deplorable” works for me. Maybe basket is too genteel. Maybe dumpster.
3. Several times I believed Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, or some combination of the three would save us—that they would choose decency over party, country over tribe. Then came the Supreme Court hearings and their credibility vanished as fast as a case of beer from Brett Kavanaugh’s fridge. I regret not being a little more savvy regarding their cravenness and hypocrisy. It does appear, however, that last November the voters learned the lesson.
4. I wish I had laughed at Trump more. Most days I was angry, disgusted, or flabbergasted. I should have been amused. Donald Trump is the funniest president we’ve ever had—incompetent to a fault, derelict of almost every duty, and with not even the remotest concept of his own absurdity. And, most important, he has no sense of humor and hates to be ridiculed—always a problem for the ridiculous. I plan to laugh at him more in 2019 and I encourage everyone to do likewise in the hope that “laughing someone off the stage” really works.
5. I wish I hadn’t laughed at Trump so much, especially since, just beneath the surface, terrible things were happening to this country. More methane, more mercury, more hydrofluorocarbons (they’re no longer illegal in cooling units—take that, stupid ozone layer!), more coal, more fracking on Indian and federal land, fewer restrictions on hunting, and less protection for endangered species. Chlorpyrifos is back (thank you, Dow Chemical) as is lead and coal dust. And the best news of all: plastic water bottles can once again be purchased in our national parks, even after a report proved their restriction had reduced litter. For a full, depressing accounting of the misery foisted on this nation by the Trump administration, read this sorry account from the New York Times.
6. Finally, I apologize for retracting apology #4 so quickly. Again I’m angry, disgusted, and flabbergasted. I shouldn’t have read #5.