I spent last week in Madison as “writer-in-residence” at the University of Wisconsin. While it was hardly an off-the-grid experience, it did take me out of the daily news cycle for the first time in a while. Diving back in kind of reminds me of Charlton Heston waking from his space travel to discover that he’s on a planet run by orangutans. Except instead of orangutans*, we have the Republican Party.And he then catches up on last week's controversies in the article entitled "Trump-era politics is a surreal nightmare and we can't wake up". Sounds accurate.
I liked these paragraphs in particular:
The article also contains one of the more amusing corrections I have ever read:To be fair to Trump and to the surreal nightmare he’s made American politics, the other thing that happens if you step away from the news cycle is you see that things are basically fine. During the election, I saw two possible scenarios for a Trump administration. Down one road lay cataclysm, whereas down another road Trump would pleasantly surprise us with his job performance.Reality has confounded both expectations, with Trump displaying no hidden depths whatsoever, even as life continues to be basically fine for most people. America has its share of problems to be sure: sky-high child poverty rate, unsustainable greenhouse gas emissions, infrastructure woes, childcare woes, prescription drug affordability woes, you name it.But these are basically longstanding issues that our political system writ large has failed to address. They don’t hold a particularly close relationship to the fact that the president is a racist buffoon who is possibly being blackmailed by the FSB over some sex tapes.
Correction: An earlier version of this article implied that chimpanzees ran the government depicted in 1968’s Planet of the Apes and its sequels when in fact political authority was vested in orangutans and chimpanzees served as a kind of scientist and intellectual caste.