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That Old Sinking Feeling and a Recurring Nightmare

I have one of those sinking feelings that wash over me at times.

It’s more pronounced than the one I suffered after Barack Obama became the first black president amid the hope and change I was all for at the time, but which quickly metamorphosed into a sucker-punch to the gut.

I can remember being goddamned happy that the phony “maverick” John McCain and his chosen idiot Sarah Palin were run off the scene in 2008, but things quickly soured.

In no time—or in a flash of time as it played out—Obama made a mess of an historical opportunity. Just as suddenly as he came to power, he caved. He gathered around him the usual assortment of Washington power players and holdover Bush plutocrats and made a mockery of everything, including the Nobel Peace Prize (War is Peace!).

In short order, he led a new wave of violence in Afghanistan. He spoke fleetingly of his Gitmo promises and then let them slide without conversation. He dosed the public with further bromides regarding U.S. exceptionalism. He played a lot of basketball–something new!–and golf.

He pulled out the new tech in the spirit of drone assassinations and other forms of sanitized death. He swore off the word “terror” but unleashed the American variety.

He revealed himself to be long on talk and short on substance—except as it pertains to protecting neoliberalism’s stranglehold on the economy. (Wealthy types ought to be calling that value added, which many do of course—they now own Clinton.)

He nodded to his racist fellow “public servants” when they callously obstructed his every move. Rather than fight back when a little struggle could have moved the day, he played it safe.

He had a mandate, which he squandered, not so much because he could have changed anything, but because he could have moved his trembling lips and fought back—he was positioned to shred the fuckers, but didn’t.

He lost his nerve, if he ever had any.

So nay, this year’s sinking feeling is different, more pronounced and obvious, as translucent as a Hillary Clinton diamond. No waiting for the ax to fall. No expectations that she’ll make a mess; she is the mess. There was no learning curve this time, no discovery, no illusions about the future.

I wasn’t sucker-punched this time.

I am however prone to nightmares now.

I see—brace yourself—Hillary and Bill frolicking in the White House; old, wrinkled sex in America’s illicit porn shop—with separate bedrooms, of course.

One thing we can legitimately hope for as our summer turns to dark autumn and this oblivious season culminates. Trump should pay Lewinsky a couple of million to discuss that blowjob.

Unless she doesn’t appear on the network pundits’ programs to talk about it—the more often the better—somebody in TV land will have failed as far as choice programming is concerned— good solid American programming with nurturing American family values.

Fittingly, Madam herself is about to redefine the meaning of giving “head.”

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Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books in Portland, Oregon.  This story is excerpted from his memoir of growing up in Oregon, A Marvelous Paranoia.

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