I was talking with a friend the other day about the latest antics of the Mango Mussolini and what to expect on November 3 when Americans go to the polls.
She's convinced that Trump is going down - badly. His base, she said, is now pared down to the core of what had been Trump's base. Why, the endless lies, the incompetence, the failures? Nope. She figures that Trump is just too exhausting. He's like a kid with a bad case of ADD, frantic and a constant drain on his supporters' (in fact everyone's) energy. It's non-stop and it's exhausting.
It can seem that a state of exhaustion has become our new normal. Whether it's Covid or climate change, a looming and potentially deep recession, soaring inequality or any of the many other social, economic, environmental and political ills, there's only so much people can bear.
August was the hottest August ever. September was the hottest September ever. The past five years have been the hottest ever. The repetition can seem promiscuous. It begs the question "now what?" but there's never an answer. We fall into a gutter of creeping normalcy. Every month is just a continuation of a new normal and a growing sense of inevitability and helplessness. The telling of it becomes more offensive than the fact of it. Climate exhaustion is setting in.
Covid appears to be back, with a vengeance. We seem to be entering the second wave that is standard to respiratory viruses in pandemics past. It's the second wave that's the killer, especially when it arrives in the autumn as we begin gathering indoors and celebrate our main family gatherings.
There are those reluctant to return to a regime of face masks, social-distancing and repeated handwashing. There's a reluctance to accept measures that impede our ability to do as we please, where we please, when we please - a reluctance that morphs into resentment. "Yes, yes, sure, sure, the public, always the public, but what about me, what about what I want, what about my rights?" Covid exhaustion is setting in.
And in the States and beyond, Trump exhaustion is setting in. It was a genuine freak show for a while. "Look what the silly bugger has done now." Only there's nothing novel to it anymore. We're now forced to look on the madness of a terminally narcissistic president, no longer capable of steering the ship of state. He is exhausting.
Maybe exhaustion is our new normal as our discontent yields to resignation. I hope not.