For eight months, I have been a witness to the deconstruction of the United States’ national ethics. It is an implausible change that is taking place which makes me feel like the Trump administration isn’t really happening. It should only be a bad dream.
This is my last week in the USA. Ms Keogh, my cherished companion, and I have booked our flight home, our return to Wales, following an unplanned and mostly undesirable stay of eight months in the USA. It has been an historical time during which I’ve observed my homeland’s tragic withdrawal from its foundation built on Enlightenment principles.
I blame Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes [Chairman of Fox News, now deceased] for this. They instituted a corruption of information, inventing non-existent truths. They exploited a large portion of the citizenry who placed faith before reason, for whom evidence-based realism is ignored in favor of gut feelings and imagined conspiracies. Murdoch and Ailes contaminated the media with misinformation, harnessing the superstitious, the fearful, the believers in absurdities. They showed Putin the way to poison elections.
That infamous election night, Ms Keogh and I got drunk in a Doylestown bar, watching the horror unfold. The bartender commiserated with us in our perplexity, trying to anesthetize us with free rounds of Scotch as we watched Trump win the Electoral College.
I recently wrote to my Senator and Congressman:
I signed, “Respectfully,” and applied my name.
I am departing my homeland after a stay of eight months of witnessing a crime, where selfishness and cruelty have come to power. My homeland is departing its fundamental purpose, ceasing to be a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” as a noble Republican once expressed it. All is not lost. The fourth estate continues to battle the parasites and might yet wake enough minds and hearts to come to the nation’s defense. Vast crowds have been taking to the streets in various protests against the Trump administration.
Ms Keogh sleeps in the bedroom while I am composing this essay in the living room of this interim apartment we cannot afford. This time next week, we will be back in our apartment overlooking the Hayes in Cardiff. It is difficult to convince myself the return to Cardiff is really happening because this apartment at The Franklin in Philadelphia looks so solid. Shouldn’t it be fading? Shouldn’t it be slowly changing by small increments until it has fully metamorphosed into the Cardiff apartment we call home? Instead, it will happen all of a sudden. There is a lack of clues to suggest change is taking place, which makes it feel like it isn’t really happening.
Selected Suburban Soliloquies, the best of Mr Bentzman's earlier series of Snakeskin essays, is available as a book or as an ebook, from Amazon and elsewhere.