“Down by the docks
Live all the silent sea-ships
Crates are stored on blocks
Where now only the rats live.” — Colin Hay
Our political leaders tend to reflect our values and we tend to reflect the values of our political leaders. It was reported last week that Mark Meadows admitted that Donald Trump had tested positive for COVID several days before the White House admitted it to the nation. He tested positive before the first debate with Joe Biden. He tested positive before meeting with Gold Star families and others on numerous campaign stops and with guests at the White House.
Additionally, as we know, he and his entourage arrived late to the debate. They arrived too late to get tested and so the debate organizers relied on their honor. It was a hilarious statement even then. Knowing what we know now, it was a galactically stupid statement as well.
Of course, Meadows suggests that Trump wanted to infect Biden with the virus. Of course he did. Trump belongs in his own category of depravity. It has somehow become possible to be simultaneously shocked by the depths of his depravity and yet see that depravity as right on brand. We’ve come to expect the absolutely horrible. We’ve somehow normalized it. We just shake our heads and move on.
Even back then there were a number of people speculating on whether the president really had COVID during the debate. Meadows’ revelation can’t be all that shocking. Chris Christie now says that Trump is the one that gave him COVID. Let’s remember that he was hospitalized. Trump’s only response at the time was to make sure Christie wasn’t going to point the finger at him.
We know all of this and yet we are surprised. What is interesting is how this impacts everyone else. I don’t know if we just ignored the narcissism in our midst or whether it has blown up like a balloon over night. We encounter numerous horrible people throughout our day. I suppose the most likely explanation is that we ignored them before. They are becoming harder and harder to ignore now.
There was the lady yesterday who apparently felt she could personally lick an open parking spot and block our path into it until someone else arrives. She saw us waiting for the spot and said nothing. It was the entitlement of it all that was staggering.
Then there was the woman on People’s Court who brought a $15 dollar lawsuit against a store because they would not give her a refund on earrings she bought. She really only paid seven dollars for them, but she lied to the clerk about the amount she paid because she could not file a suit for under $15. She openly admitted to this in court without even showing any shame or being cognizant that she had done something wrong.
It should have registered when she told the story. She was on her way to a funeral and decided to pop into the store and do some quick impulse shopping. None of this landed with the woman. She seemed completely unaffected by the whole experience. The judge yelled at her for wasting the court’s time and the defendant’s mind, but she simply didn’t care.
These are just two examples of horrible horrible people. We encounter them every day and usually forget about them once the day is done. They are the ones buying 58 dollars worth of lottery tickets in front of you at the gas station. They are the ones that cut in line at the post office. I’m not sure if this is a growing thing or if we are just noticing more after the last five years.
The natural instinct for those with an ounce of humanity is to nervously do a self-inventory to make sure we still have that humanity left. We nervously catalog our day to make sure we haven’t become any of those jackasses. Meanwhile, a seemingly growing number of soulless drones walk the streets and do as they please.
What this has to do with the ex-president I’m not quite sure yet. He could be a reflection of our growing depravity. He could be an inspiration for our growing depravity. Maybe he was inspired to run for president by our growing depravity. Maybe none of that is true. Maybe we have always been this way. Your guess is as good as mine.