Depression to Astonishment

I don’t like modern video games.  Despite the fact I grew up playing them, I don’t play any current titles at all.  I’ve tried, but I always have one problem.  They’re too easy.  I can’t get invested in any moment in a game when I have a save point less than a minute prior.  I did make an exception, once.  On the day of the 2016 election I bought a game console and some games.  I played them all day.  I thought that maybe if I could distract myself with some lighthearted fun I wouldn’t feel so bad.  Oh god was I wrong.

The depression I felt immediately after the election was almost clinical.  I wasn’t alone.  At work we received emails offering counseling, which I felt was a little over the top.  But in the last 4 months that depression has given way to an unexpected feeling, astonishment.  I wanted to write something about the most significant piece of news from the last two weeks, and I realized that was impossible.  There is so much of significance I can’t even come close to identifying the most important.  Is it a former FBI director investigating the campaign?  A former politician potentially running the FBI?  An absurdly ambitious foreign trip?  A foreign trip where Trump will deliver a speech to Muslisms, written by the guy who kept pushing for the Muslim ban?  Maybe the constant leaks.  Maybe the crimes the constant leaks are referencing.  I quickly realized that the news is coming so hard and so fast that it is pointless to try and discuss any single story at all.  All I can do is watch it all happen and try to soak it in, constantly surprised and amazed by every new development.

There is no aspect of human culture Trump isn’t affecting.  Obviously the US government.  And from there, the US economy.  Also all the international relationships the US maintains.  Also popular culture.  In some ways his presidency feels like a long overdue and monstrously large forest fire ripping through an old-growth forest.  We’re powerless to stop it.  We can barely keep tiny parts of it contained.  The smartest people have protected their stuff as best as possible and then fled to safety.  What kind of world will we live in when the flames finally subside?  A dead, blackened world that gives no protection, but one where suddenly the ground has been fertilized for a period of growth rarely seen before.

I don’t know how the Trump presidency ends.  Will he end his term like a normal president, get fired, quit, or die?  Maybe declare himself dictator for life.  Will the world be a used up husk, or will we have started colonies on Mars?  I’m not willing to put even a dollar on any of those outcomes.  But when it ends, we will be in a new world.  All the old norms and standards we’ve relied on for centuries will be shown to be the weak facade that they are.  The bedrock of humans and human relationships will be exposed.  It’s a scary, exciting thought.  And I for one am starting to get very optimistic.

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