It’s been a strange year.
While last year’s holiday season was too steeped in the newness of November’s election to have integrated its changes, this year we unpack string lights and dreidels not in fearful anticipation, but in complacent acceptance of the Trump Administration’s accompanying world view.
2017 brought us Donald Trump’s inauguration, a terrorist attack in London, and Charlotesville. 2017 brought us the Las Vegas shooting, the Muslim-majority country Travel Ban, and the Mueller investigation of possible collusion between the Trump Administration and Russia.
2017 brought us the GOP’s support of senate nominee and alleged child molester Roy Moore, Kellyanne Conway’s coinage of the term “alternative facts,” and a ceremony honoring Navajo code talkers in which our president stood before a painting of Trail of Tears engineer Andrew Jackson and used “Pocahontas” as a slur.
2017 brought us, in other words, a new reality.
The other day when driving home with a friend, we perused the neighborhood around my house to look at the Christmas lights. There were cobalt blue strands, and ice blue snowflakes, and strings interchanged with red, green, blue, orange, and magenta bulbs. But there’s one house near my own that keeps their Christmas lights up all year.
Theirs are multicolored strands that form a plaid with the black iron fence in which they are laced. They also have light-up penguins and snowmen, bows made from the lucid red florescent one might see in a bar sign, and white deers, like skeletons, that lean up and down as though to eat from their concrete yard.
Throughout the year this house was an anomaly. Now, however, as the homes around it have become similarly decked in lights, it fails to be either an eyesore or an oddity.
So has happened with the aberrations we’ve come to accept as normal under the Trump Administration.
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” said then Republican candidate Trump at a campaign rally in January 2016. As the holidays arrive this year, and I begin that time of contemplation and reconciliation, I recognize that his prophecy has, alarmingly, proven nothing less than true. From little outrage over his asking African American voters, “What do you have to lose? . . . What the hell do you have to lose?” to the creation of a meme (rather than worried alarm) over Melania Trump’s blatant plagiarism of a 2008 Michelle Obama speech, not normal has become the new normal. The outrageous has become the average, the offensive the mundane.
Like the house on my street outside of December, what before this year’s transition to the Trump Administration would have been deemed outlandish routinely finds itself at home among the lies and affronts that we now live as our status quo.
I’m sorry, as is the La Puma staff, that this is what we think of this holiday season.
I’m sorry that the acceptance of absurdity that we now live with is no less likely to dissipate than is my neighbor’s skeletal deer come January.