Every day it’s the same thing. I begin my breakfast of shredded wheat, peanut butter and sardines, open the newspaper, and read the latest about the LIC (Liar-in-Chief) who as of mid-October according to “The “Washington Post” has made 14,345 “false or misleading claims” since taking office. I become anxious and depressed. If I listen to morning talk shows on NPR largely focused on the LIC, I stay anxious and depressed. In the afternoon, I take the sleep cure which allows me to eat dinner. Yes, I have LIC Disease and its excruciating symptoms, a combination of anxiety and depression.
In the evening my LIC-induced anxiety and depression are resurrected as I switch back and forth between CNN & MSNBC reporting on the latest lies from the Liar-in-Chief. (I can’t watch Fox for more than a few seconds—too much lying.) I do have to keep changing channels as the political commentary gets more and more frequently interrupted by ads for pharmaceuticals whose chief benefits are a long list of side-effects ranging from constipation to weight gain to death. (Not one of those drugs promises to cure LIC Disease.) Finally, I drag myself off to bed hoping that I’ll wake up and discover that the LIC nightmare was merely a nightmare and not a nightmarish reality.
So how is one to find relief from this most pernicious disease? Perhaps I could curl up with a good book? (I’ve seen caterpillars do it, but did you ever see anyone actually curl up, much less with a good book?) I could read a few neglected novels about a dystopian America turned into a fascist state like Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here,” Jack London’s “The Iron Heel” or Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America.”
Or I could just give up and read for the hundredth time Orwell’s “1984,” which is so frighteningly echoed in every reality-denying word of the Liar-in-Chief, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength,” or more precisely: Truth is Falsehood. Falsehood is Truth.
Alas, reading these books is clearly no cure. Is there, however, a silver lining inside this obese cloud? Consider how much humor, cleverness and general creativity have been inspired by the LIC’s omnipresence namely a gargantuan supply of comic material for late-night hosts, stand-up acts and Saturday Night Live.
And there are all those wonderful explosions of musical mockery ranging from Streisand singing “Who is that Clown?” to Randy Rainbow’s encyclopedia of brilliant and biting song parodies (what will happen to Mr. Rainbow when the devil finally throws the LIC over his back and hauls him away?) to Andy Borowitz’s hourly satirical news announcements.
And there’s even me with my timeless YouTube classics, “Jail to the Chief.” and “The Ballad of You-Know-Who” with its catchy refrain, “He’s not just a Bald-faced liar / He’s Bald!” (Apologies for shamelessly plugging my own genius.)
I do get some hope from Mark Twain’s line, “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
While not providing much comfort for me, the LIC has provided persistent opportunities for forgotten pundits to rise from the past. Consider the once boyish, now grizzled, John Dean and Carl Bernstein and the other surviving members of the Watergate cast.
Another source of comfort is that the LIC is always available as a topic when conversation palls at awkward social gatherings. Someone can always be counted on to deliver a grave pronouncement laden with self-important expertise on the LIC’s latest outrage. On the other hand, how many friendships, live or digital, are abruptly terminated when seemingly sane individuals reveal that they are LIC supporters. I can put up with the online postings oozing over kittens and puppies more easily than postings praising the LIC, and I don’t like kittens or puppies at all.
Which brings me to a final bit of self-medication in face of The Big Question: “When will it all end?” The bulk of my waking hours are spent speculating about the final chapter for the Liar-in-Chief:
1. LIC is impeached by the House, convicted by the Senate and a relatively normal person assumes the presidency.
2. LIC is not only convicted but jailed. (A great favorite)
3. LIC loses the election and, after some time, civilization is restored.
4. LIC wins the election, becomes president-for-life, sets up a police state and jails anyone who made fun of his orange-ness, baldness and girth.
5. LIC is struck down by divine intervention in the form of a massive cardiac event following a lifetime of burgers and fries
Ultimately, the anxiety and depression engendered by LIC Disease is slightly offset by the fact that the Liar-in-Chief’s reign has created a remarkably fertile environment for literary and artistic expression—just like Russia under the Tsars or the Soviet Union under Stalin.
Robin Schore lives in Hopewell Borough.