My Trump Tipping Point
There is always a tipping point—that moment in time when something happens and you just know deep down inside that the trajectory has changed, and what once seemed a sure thing is not.
Remember Howard Dean? Remember when he unexpectedly lost the Iowa caucus, and subsequently went on television and screamed into the cameras? Dogs and cats went scurrying under couches, and Americans thought, “No way, Jose, is that guy going to get my vote. He’s not stable.” That was the end of Howard Dean. It was a split second in time, but it cost him the election. It wasn’t long before people called it “The Scream That Doomed Howard Dean.”
Then there was that moment in September 2008, when the markets were crashing and the impending mortgage crisis doom-and-gloom hit the stage. John McCain pulled a Howard Dean moment himself. He went in front of the cameras and, in a breathless panic, said he was canceling his presence at the debate a few days later and temporarily suspending his campaign to immediately return to D.C. to deal with the financial crisis. Then cool, calm, and collected Obama said that he, too, was going to D.C. to work on the fiscal situation—but that he could do more than one thing at a time, and would attend the debate and continue his campaign. “There are times for politics and there are times to rise above politics and do what’s right,” he said. “This is exactly the time when people need to hear from the candidates.” In my mind, that was the tipping point of that election.
Then, in 2015, Donald Trump came into our lives. After he rode down that escalator (shouldn’t he have at least walked down it, to show that he was ready to get busy being a leader?), he unveiled his horrendous vision of America, defined by an invasion of evil immigrants and a corrupt Washington, D.C. That first speech was a tipping point, though not everyone saw it that way. In the first poll taken after Trump announced his campaign, two-thirds of Republican primary voters said they couldn’t see themselves supporting him. But the press loved it, and all of a sudden people were coming out of the closet saying they agreed with him. The pundits said he could not win. I knew he could. I said it from the moment those polls came out at the very beginning of his campaign and he started to rise and 80% (or that is what it felt like) of the press was covering him him. Tipping point.
Since then, however, there have been plenty of things I thought should have been game-ending tipping points with this maniac. For years I have thought so. Grabbing women. Charlottesville. Risking his secret service agents so he could ride down a street waving at supporters while in a full blown Covid illness. Sending Ivana to world events as a leader and other world leaders turning away from her in disgust. Gassing people in the street to hold a bible upside down surrounded by his military. January 6th. Refusing to attend Biden’s swearing in. Stolen top secret documents lying in bathrooms—papers in bathrooms whose contents put patriots at risk in other countries and exposed our allies to danger. But nothing has made his supporters turn away. So, somewhere along the line, I stopped believing there would be a tipping point for DT.
I guess I gave up.
Leaving him aside for a moment, there are other issues that should have been game changers, too. We’ve seen atrocious abortion rulings that represent a quantum leap backward for people of my gender exercising control over our own bodies. We’ve seen a Supreme Court Justice—let me say it again, a Supreme Court Justice—revealed to be in the pocket of one of the far right’s billionaires. What did he sell out for? Vacations. And still no tipping point. For any of it.
The pain I’ve experienced as I’ve watched my country’s fall from grace has led to the loss of my love of our flag. I have spent the last few years saddened whenever I have seen my own flag, the American flag. I have felt no pride of late when I’ve come across it. I have even felt shame, or embarrassment—I’m not sure which. This has been a first for me, in all my years of being a citizen of a country I already thought was great.
I stopped reading about elections and the country’s crazy, out-of-control trajectory. Since 2020, I have spent very little time reading or watching anything about our politics. And I am someone who, in the past, has held paid positions on political campaigns. I was that devoted once. Now I’ve dropped out.
Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was looking at my phone, and saw a four-minute clip of Rachel Maddow and Hillary Clinton speaking about all the #TrumpTrash of late, with Hillary describing this moment in our history as one that truly threatens our future. The future of our children.
I was in a rage later in the morning when I went out for my coffee. While I was out, I came across our flag—it’s on my route, it’s always been there, but I’ve avoided looking at it of late. But seeing it today, I had a realization.
I realized that I had been looking for the #TrumpTrash tipping point in all the wrong places. I always believed that the humans who celebrate him would be the ones to reach the tipping point, after which they would come back to sanity. Whoops. My bad. It was never about them. It’s about me. It’s about ‘we’ the people. I was the one who needed to reach the tipping point. We are in need of a tipping point to take action. Today, it happened. Rachel and Hillary got to me.
Click on the picture below to watch this extraordinary message.
It seems that my tipping point was Hillary and Rachel’s message. My tipping point was learning that DT attacked the women’s soccer team competing in the World Cup in New Zealand last week. The courageous women’s team, who did nothing other than play their hearts out for love of country, with my beloved daughter cheering them on, representing the best of America on the world stage. In the video, Hillary says something about men fearing strong, courageous women. I know she is right. Ask yourself about the men in power, the men who have been in power for centuries, and what they stand to lose if we take over.
I love to write. I do. I write every day. A lot. I have a novel coming out in January. My first. But this blog, my personal memoir, is my therapy. My soul-searching. My start to the day. I will not post my political thoughts here. I am setting up another Substack account where I will do that. One a day until the election; with a to do at the end of each one for each of us to start cleaning up this mess from our own homes and through our own agency. We are not powerless. And I will ask some of my fabulous friends to add to it. I also plan to do one thing a day until the election to get rid of the #TrumpTrash that is littering our country. Because it’s not just him. It’s so many others.
What is needed in this moment? What does our country need? The #TrumpTrash that is scattered around each of us needs to be picked up by each of us. One piece of trash at a time. We the people are the answer to fixing this mess.
So, I’m off to the races. Hope to see you there.