The constant, unremitting flow of news during the past three years about and from a president shameless in his divisive self-promotion and cavalier leadership style has caused some to turn off the spigot of daily media reports. For self-preservation.
The Trump nightmare takes no rest. One can’t wake up and pretend that the sleep-disturbing dreams are just that.
Prospect of a presidency marked by common sense and earnest decency is a fantasy in the world of Donald Trump. Expectation of dignified behavior, unifying language and selfless actions is unrealistic.
Statesmanlike behavior is a bar too high in the White House. I suspect it isn’t even an objective in the Oval Office. Me-first shuts out citizens-first. Loyalty is a relative term in the morally challenged Trumpian world. Honor and truth are foreign concepts.
So, what do we do to retain sanity? How do we block out discordant, childish noise that now seems normal, spewing forth from an unfit, irresponsible U.S. president?
My wife and I have learned. We no longer watch TV news. We have escaped, happily so.
Mind you, we still follow the news in the old-fashioned print way and online. By no means are we oblivious to the poisonous dysfunction in our nation’s capital
Now, every night we watch on Netflix the long-running drama, “Blue Bloods.” We have become addicted to a show about the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Reagan family, which dominates the 35,000-person force through the police commissioner, a detective and a street cop, as well as an assistant district attorney.
Violence is rampant in this riveting drama. So is exceptional police work, on-the-job injuries, political interference and family loyalty and love. Periodically, there’s a sprinkling of compassion.
We bury ourselves in fiction. We follow sometimes confusing plot lines. We wonder about the real life of crime in New York City. We commend the courage we witness on the small screen. We flinch from scenes of human depravity.
We enjoy the safety and security of our home. The world of Donald Trump is distant and unbothersome for a few hours. Life is serene for the moment.
And, then recently we enjoyed the “Downton Abbey” movie as former devotees of the TV series on the Public Broadcasting System. We renewed our attachment to the portrayal of British aristocracy in the late 1920s. It was delightful, an artistic journey into a time in history long obsolescent. The life of a British earl, his family and the servants who served them provided another welcomed escape hatch for two hours.
Even in 1927, the Downton Abbey lifestyle was becoming frayed. Life of splendid parties, hunting excursions and 24/7 pampering by dutiful servants, was gradually coming to an end, though still conspicuously prevalent.
Financial pressures were beginning to surface. Change was hovering over Downton Abbey, a magnificent family home (actually Highclere Castle). World War I had wrought some lifestyle adjustments. Living in the past was becoming out of fashion.
My escapism into a movie, as well as a TV series, is obvious. I’m unapologetic. At the risk of seeming dramatic, my emotional state needs a make-believe boost. Reality looms just on the other side of the screen.
We all have our coping mechanisms in today’s America governed by an unstable, incompetent White House occupant. Most are reasonable and constructive.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.