Notes from Surreal Land

So much that is abnormal has become normal that we have to be especially alert to keep from sinking into relativism, exhaustion, fatalism, and despair. Are we really living in a world where a former president who tried to stage a coup has been indicted in New York and is the subject of multiple criminal investigations, one or more of which will likely lead to additional indictments, is the leading Republican candidate for the next presidential election? If that’s not surreal enough for you, consider that (i) Trump has several prominent probable opponents in the race for the Republican presidential nomination; (ii) a few days ago, a New York jury found him liable for sexual assault and defamation; and (iii) none of his probable opponents took that as an occasion to criticize him. That’s not because they don’t despise him. It’s because they are terrified of alienating people in the Trump cult — the large segment of Republican voters who are so demented, deluded, or morally degraded that they are unshakably loyal to an individual whose sociopathic characteristics are writ large for all to see.