What an amazing production that was for a self-promoting author. Note to self: May your book jacket include “Numerous personal disclosures” on the dust jacket.
Patriotism was low. Abortion was high. And yes, I had been sick. While writing this book, I had a massive post-operation liver flareup. My colon in good order, which meant a mostly full stomach (well, except for some gelatin). So I was prodigiously lucky to have my abdominal gag reflex working. In retrospect, it also probably made for a real good essay. And we are talking about an essay series in which a writer constantly reminds us of his mortality.
Giggles set in.
So the storyline unfolded: Me, you, Nancy, Jesus … well, in those words of Stephen Colbert’s monologue, everything we have spent the past 40 years in America have been about an ocean of people who are expendable. And for once, the people who are expendable come from within the president’s family and surrounded by people who are expendable themselves.
Which is why, I said, it is so excellent that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary who has become infamous, on her day off, was similarly stocked by my less-known friends in the family. Who are to become fixtures at the Supreme Court and at all the Cabinet meetings. But for once I understand why we’ve all become sucked in.
This is the first great and difficult question the book solves. What do we do with all of the people who represent that great majority of the people who are not or never are expendable? Oh right: We move them into a different category. They are expendable to our much despised president.
This is the most important purpose of the book. Most people, like me, cannot actually live in the White House or run for the Oval Office or even imagine doing those things. But the problem is that people we love have been saddled with these responsibilities.
Trump has surrounded himself with a political, administrative and legal team that is famously made up of political operatives and criminal attorneys. Consider it the Make America Great Again, All the Way Coalition. “It is not possible for everyone to make our government work if you are not on the inside,” the billionaire who owns the country, Ross Perot, once famously said. “If you cannot be a part of it, if you do not understand what is happening here in Washington, then it will not work.”
Americans can’t think about the bureaucracy or the courts or military when our issues come before them. What they expect is a look. This is why they are so eager to meet us. But how to look? How to see? That’s what we do in these essays. We look at it through our eyes.
Those who can’t possibly relate to us shouldn’t. We are not wanting and asking for sympathy. We are not desperate to elicit pity. Most of us, including so-called red states who really don’t give a shit about their congressmen anymore, would laugh at anyone who claimed to be suffering from migraines, Mexican stereotypes or self-blame for failure to turn out the vote. We, however, all have our secrets, our pain, our failures and our requirements to life’s balance beam. And it is deeply unfair to treat some people — most, if you can believe it — as expendable.
The book seeks to reunite us in the common experience of the people who cast votes.