January 19, 2020

The prostate presidency

In her Clinton wardrobe and hair, accompanying herself on the piano, Kate McKinnon’s “>said “we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.” Really? Who are we supposed to be uniting with? Where does Trump want to lead us?

Well, look where he’s led us so far. He’s already pissed on the presidency (vulgar words, I know, but what else is birtherism?); he’s already normalized hate (what else does his political incorrectness amount to?); he’s already sanctioned evil (what else is climate change denial, or torture?). With congressional cowards abdicating checks and balances, with a Fourth Estate little more inclined to challenge authoritarianism than an “>sermon, our rabbi passed a microphone for people to say what they were feeling. I heard fear, I heard hope, I heard calls to action.

At the very end of the service, our cantor surprised us. She asked us to please turn to page 300-something and join in singing America the Beautiful. I didn’t even know it was in the prayer book. Nor, I suspect, did anyone else.

United in song, we staked our claim to patriotism. We took our country back. We sang to one another, in essence, I’m not giving up, and neither should you.  By the time we got to “Thine alabaster cities gleam / Undimmed by human tears,” my eyes were welling up. When we reached “From sea to shining sea,” I almost lost it. 

But looking around me, I saw I wasn’t alone. And neither are you.

Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Reach him at martyk@jewishjournal.com.