I wrote about pilgrimages in “A European Odyssey”. I wrote how liberating they could feel, like when I drove along the precarious passages in Romania called the Transalpina and Tranfaragasan. It was disorienting because they often don’t have railings, and quite often you don’t see another car for miles. Eventually it felt liberating because I did, in fact, have a destination. I reached it, safely for which I am grateful. Mentally, however, it was a challenge.
Top Gear visited these passages in Ferrari’s and could only go so fast, giggling much of the time because the journey is surreal. During my drive I witnessed a Frenchman stop his car, get out, and simply turn around.
I think it must be like this for many in the Republican Party. The entire world feels at a crossroads but nowhere is it more specifically illustrated for Americans, even expats like me, than watching the train wreck that is Trumpism. The Republicans have not won an election by a majority for decades so they’ve had to rely on clever messaging created by evil geniuses and amoral characters like Lee Atwater for Bush Sr., Karl Rove for Jr., and Steve Bannon for Trump.
At least we don’t see have to see him golfing anymore. I remember the joke that golf was the sport for middle management. But it was a place to network, a sea of green to make you feel that you too could arrive and be rich. Or at least play a game of golf among them. But now Trump’s base is full of crazy people, a cult, and they don’t really like Republicans, they just love Trump. They don’t care if they can’t afford to belong to a club, they’ve created their own. And it would appear many Republicans are playing a dangerous game at the expense of the rest of America.
Congress is electing QAnon fanatics, Cruise and Hawley are doubling down. It feels as if the center can no longer hold. Truth by consensus is a charming idea that appears to have gone with the wind. Growing up in America, like many countries, we had movements, some extreme, but we always swung back to the center. It no longer feels that is possible. As Gary Lachman said regarding our post truth world, “…everything is plausible and nothing is definite.”
Unfortunately, our current journey doesn’t feel liberating or cleansing, instead, it feels rather disorienting. For everyone.