Norman Lear is 95-years-old. He's a TV writer and longtime political activist, and he was a guest on the Crooked Media podcast Lovett or Leave It this week.
He said something that really resonated with me during a conversation about Donald Trump.
"I don't think there's a vast American public that's proud of this leader. Oh how we'd like to be proud again."
Man. That's how I feel. I want to be proud again.
When I was in DC a few weeks ago visiting some conservative friends, Donald Trump did or said something that was offensive, stupid, damaging, hurtful, inexplicable, etc. I made some comment about it, and one of them responded, half-jokingly, "Don't you ever get tired of being outraged?"
The answer is yes. I am tired of being outraged. I just want to be proud again. I miss having a president who rose to every challenge, who could find the right words in our country's darker moments, who understood and championed American values. I miss the calmness, steadiness, coolness. I miss the optimism.
But I still find myself regularly outraged -- because the President of the United States continues to behave outrageously.
The heads of state of two nuclear powers are literally making existential threats against each other. Trump is mocking an unstable 30-something with a nuclear arsenal. That is 100% outrageous.
When Joe Biden finished his speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, he slammed both hands on the podium, pumped his fist, and said "Come on! We're America!" That's how I feel watching this all happen, watching the dignity and stature of the office of President evaporate. Worse than that, America is shrinking. America as a shining city on a hill, an international leader, a global force for good -- that's who we are, but we're shrinking away from all that now.
It's exasperating and exhausting. It's hard to watch. It's outrageous.
Somehow, I'm still optimistic. There is intense damage being done right now to critical American norms and institutions -- no doubt about that. But I still believe that good will come from this, and that America -- the people of America -- are better than the people in leadership positions. I still believe we'll be proud again.