One of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs is “Everybody Knows.” On a related note, the best-selling book in America last week was Mary Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. With the publisher citing 900,000 copies sold upon release, it produced numbers that most publishing houses only dream of. I’d preordered it on Amazon but for the first time ever I did not have a copy on the day of release. There were a lot of people ahead of me in this line. That’s even more remarkable than it sounds because we all pretty much know what the book says. We also know that its subtitle is true: we have a very dangerous man (daily rising Covid deaths show this to be true) given free rein by Republican senators. Even adults without high school educations that I talk to know there is something seriously wrong. Indeed, anyone who knows how to fact-check can see it.
A very popular way to deal with inconvenient truths is to posit a conspiracy theory. Evangelicals (now defined as Trump supporters) have long used conspiracies as ways of explaining how facts simply don’t support their views. From the moment “alternative facts” left the lips of the administration in January 2017 I knew we were in deep, deep trouble. Funny thing is, many Evangelicals had to read Orwell in school, like the rest of us. How they could support anyone that had such a long, long track record of criminal cases against him before placing his hand on the Bible and swearing to uphold a constitution he’s been daily dismantling since is anybody’s guess. Daily life, it seems, is now a conspiracy.
One of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs is “Everybody Knows.” The lyrics suggest that whatever it is we want to keep secret everybody, well, knows. That’s what’s so distressing about America’s current decline. Everybody knows that being president is a very difficult position and that it’s only handled adequately by well-trained and smart people who, despite their faults, put country above self. With the election of 2016 it was clear from even before day one that ego was the driving factor behind 45. Americans love their outrageous television personalities and somehow think that appeal on the small screen somehow translates to leadership ability. We’ve learned before that this isn’t true. I haven’t read Mary Trump’s book yet—it just arrived in the mail—but when I do I’m sure I’ll find out what everybody knows.