I am gobsmacked by Donald Trump

This article appears in the Transition to Trump feature series. View the full series.

I am gobsmacked by Donald Trump. Now that's a word I've never used before, but it has the right sound to it. And so I distract myself from enumerating the grim terrors that might lie ahead by engaging in etymology.

I've lost a good bit of sleep. Trying not to imagine the use of tactical nuclear weapons or the Department of Justice refusing to enforce existing consent decrees is like trying not to entertain impure thoughts, only more so.

As a result of the gobsmackedness, I haven't written much, for NCR or elsewhere. I do not want to spend the next four years in an unceasing angry protest, but there is fear in my heart.

I appreciate the Senate Democrats' declaration that they will work with President-elect Trump wherever they can. But as many are saying, we risk being caught in a process of normalization. We risk letting talk from bullies wash over us. We risk accepting false equivalencies: that it's OK for us to torture because they are terrorists; that it is OK to cut Medicaid because a few applicants lie (or make errors) on the forms they fill out; that it's OK to grant big tax cuts because this is what Republicans do, and elections have consequences. This is the unwanted stuff that comes into my mind at 2 a.m., waking me up.

On the other hand, we already shrug our shoulders at reported deportations and the placement of Haitian refugees in prisons. Nobody questioned the candidates in the debates on exactly what they mean by military upgrades. Nobody questioned them on climate change. We didn't object loudly enough to get these questions asked.

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I've been in two meetings, one about prison reforms and the other about the military budget, where someone raised the question of how the Trump presidency would impact these big issues. The answer was: not much. Prison cruelty has been increasing for 30 years and it was Eisenhower who railed against the military-industrial complex.

Maybe Trump will outrage us enough that we finally take some action.

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