Hey, I survived the shame of telling my Donald Trump fantasy to a friend today, Jim, during our usual Sunday get-together at the Urban Grange coffeehouse in West Salem.
So I might as well share that not-so-secret aspect of my political self with the much vaster audience who read this Salem Political Snark blog. (I have a liberal interpretation of much vaster.)
I was describing to Jim the current status of my long-running depression about being a progressive Democrat in a time when everything seems to be going wrong for my side of the political spectrum.
Inflation is skyrocketing. Biden's approval rating is plummeting. Joe Manchin is tanking climate change legislation, along with voting rights, women's rights, and any other right that isn't favored by West Virginia voters. Republicans are poised to take control of the House and Senate. Oregon might end up with either an independent or Republican governor. The Supreme Court is acting like an arm of the Republican Party and has more important cases to rule on that will make conservatives ecstatic.
I told Jim that I was thinking of writing a blog post today about all the things that bother me about being a progressive in a country where liberal successes are few and far between.
But then I realized that my malaise could be described in a simpler fashion: I'm not feeling any positive energy from Democrats. The energy that permeated progressive hearts and minds in 2020 when Biden defeated Trump is gone. And it was more a joy that Biden wasn't Trump than any real excitement about Biden.
The last time I was truly enthused about a Democratic national leader was when Obama ran for president in 2008. Then it really did seem that so much progress was possible.
When Clinton ran against Trump in 2016, again it was the fact that Hillary wasn't Donald which was most appealing. And, that she could make history by becoming the nation's first female president. Didn't happen, of course, thanks to her damn email server and some stupid campaign mistakes.
So what I miss is the feeling of being part of a wave of political change that Republicans are surfing on right now.
I want to imbibe the positive energy that comes with having leaders of your political tribe who are enthusiastic about a vision for the future that actually seems possible to achieve with enough work and determination.
Which gets me to my no-longer-secret shame about my Donald Trump fantasy. Understand: it's just a fantasy. Plus, when I allow the fantasy to enter my mind, it only lingers there for a few seconds. I try it on for size to see how it feels, then I discard it, because I don't like the feeling.
Well, more accurately I enjoy the emotional tone of the fantasy, but not its content. Here it is.
I imagine myself becoming a Trump devotee. I imagine myself embracing Republican positions on abortion, gun control, immigration, taxes, global warming -- the whole agenda that is tilting in the direction of conservatives these days. I no longer drive a Subaru Crosstrek. I drive a giant loud pickup belching diesel fumes with two big American flags whipping in the breeze as I terrorize electric cars.
In short, I imagine the energy and enthusiasm I'd feel if I traded in my progressive values, which are in a bear market currently, for the rising tide of conservatism that has had way more political victories recently, with more successes on the horizon.
Like I said, I enjoy the feeling of being part of a political movement that has the wind at its back with leaders who know how to energize members of that movement. But it only takes a few moments for me to realize that I could never jump ship and become a Republican.
So I'm stuck with the Democratic Party. Which makes me feel listless at the moment. Hopefully my mood will improve when, as I strongly suspect will happen, some new younger leaders come forward with a lot more energy and vitality than Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, and Co. are able to muster.