For eight years, I looked forward to writing the column that would have appeared in the Boise Weekly on Nov. 9, 2016. So confident was I about the outcome on Nov. 8, I was willing to take a chance and have it ready for publication well before the election. I knew exactly what I wanted to say because, in November 2008, I knew Barack Obama was going to be a popular president. I knew Hillary Clinton would be running again in 2016. And I knew she would win.
I was right. Obama left office a popular president. Clinton ran again in 2016. And she won.
It was no surprise Republicans would attack Clinton like meth-crazed wife beaters; but she had already withstood two decades of insult from those to whom the most fearful figure in politics is a woman who is smarter than they are. I figured she could weather one more campaign season of baseless nonsense and sludgy minds.
Again—and not to brag, mind you—I was right. A total of 65,844,954 Americans voted for Clinton, 2.9 million more than went for her opponent. I actually anticipated she would win by more than that. I had her at an easy 54 percent. I was also quite sure that she, like Obama before her, would leave office in eight years as an immensely popular figure.
So, on Nov. 9, 2016, the column I waited eight years to publish would have been addressed to conservative voters of an age at and around my own. My lead sentence: How does it feel to realize that it's unlikely you will ever see another Republican president in your lifetime?
Lucky for ol' Bill, on Nov. 9, 2016, I was no longer writing for Boise Weekly.
To be fair, though, how could I have known that an unholy alliance would form between the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the most vicious fascist on the planet, Vladimir Putin? And that the pair, working like a well-oiled pas de deux, would toss just enough monkey wrenches into the works... would twist just enough nipples in a handful of states... would play the Electoral College like a Russian prostitute... in order to hand the presidency to the scummiest human being in the United States.
OK, he may not be THE scummiest human being in the U.S. There is certainly no shortage of contenders for the title—and we know more about them now that he has given them so many positions in his administration.
Still, there's nothing unusual about scummy people banding together to steal power in the U.S. Republicans, going back at least three decades, have been jiggering elections any way they can. Even more disturbing than the decay of a political party into a criminal cartel is that there were at least 62,979,879 Americans for whom scumminess didn't disqualify Donald J. Trump. And there are more who may not have voted for him, but who now insist we give him a chance.
A chance at what? A successful presidency? A chance to accomplish the dismemberment of every transcendent impulse that has arisen in this nation, from public schools to public lands to public broadcasting? A chance to put all of American governance and beneficence on the auction block? But... I've heard it argued... maybe he won't be as bad as feared.
Doesn't matter. Even were he to turn out ideologically to be a secret Bernie Sanders—which he won't—his policies and politics are not what make him unfit to be the leader of this, or any other, country. There is nothing he can do to make it right that he's in that office, and if you haven't already absorbed that reality from your brain to your gut, there is probably no argument to be made that will convince you. The sort of evil represented by Donald Trump depends on people insisting it be given a chance.
Oh, and if you're offended I've resorted to the "e" word to characterize this noxious sleaze, objection noted. It's not a word that should be tossed about. Too often, just using the word like a casual insult turns into its own brand of evil.
But in my world, a man can tell only so many lies, assault only so many women, defraud only so many associates, threaten only so many vulnerable people, enrich himself only so much on the impoverishment of others, before we are left with only one word to describe him. Trump passed that bar long before he ever announced he would run for president.
In light of the catastrophe the election has unleashed upon America, Boise Weekly has asked me to return to these pages on a limited basis. I was happy to say yes. To not be an active participant in the resistance to Mr. Scummy is not an option.
But those of us committed to resisting the evil must understand something: There will be no help from the Republican Party because there are no values, of any sort, left within the Republican Party. All of them—cultural values, ethical values, the value of nature, the value of education, the value of law, the value of decency and yes, family values... every value and every virtue worth defending—is now on our side. It is as clear an imbalance of moral authority as we are apt to experience more than once every few generations.
Sadly, if moral authority is what decided historical outcomes, we wouldn't be having this discussion. I'm afraid it's going to take some muscle, too.