As the conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “we are aware of no President, not even such ruthless pragmatists as Richard Nixon or Lyndon Johnson, who would have written a public statement like this without so much as a grace note about America’s abiding values and principles,” and that it was “startling to see a U.S. President brag in a statement about a bloodthirsty murder” that he scored commercial deals with the Saudis.
There have been a thousand little moments like this where we ask what is America and get back an appalling answer. Perhaps it’s better that we pull back the curtain and reveal our true nature and then deal with that. Perhaps we can finally end American Exceptionalism as an excuse for so many things.
I struggle with these answers mostly because I find myself slipping into a dark place. A misanthropy is weighing me down. I have no will for a passing smile to a stranger because my glance conceals my fictional analysis of their morality. I find myself asking how many grandmothers cheer for the imprisonment of children. My estimate is high.
This is my country. I’m not great but I try to be better than the lowest bar we’ve set for our president. I don’t do enough. It’s hard to find the will in these times. I think that’s how evil wins. By grinding down the desire to resist. I am resisting but I’d like to rest.