“I’ve had it with Trump”; and Nancy Reagan: a funeral review

Woman watching TV (vintage)
(Photo by George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Anne Lamott tells this story of a friend who reads a magazine feature about Adolf Hitler and his troubled childhood, tosses the magazine aside, and declares, “I’ve had it with Hitler.”

I’ve had it with Trump. Not because he is like Hitler or had a troubled childhood. I don’t know that either of those is true. Or untrue. Frankly, I don’t even care. I’ve had it with Trump because he draws me to the TV screen and to my tablet, Day And Night. He consumes my prime-time, TV-viewing hours. He has moved in and occupied way too much room in that part of my brain where celebrities reside, and it’s about time I reclaim my brain space and fill it with smarter, more worthwhile residents. Like Jason Bateman.

So, Amy, why don’t you simply turn off the town hall meetings? The nightly news? The Twitter feed?

Sure, that’s easy for you to say. I’m like the little blonde girl in Poltergeist, drawn like a magnet to the flickering screen and nonsense words. The only difference is the kitchen chairs aren’t rearranging themselves, and JoBeth Williams is nowhere to be found to save me from this crazy train.

Simply put, I can’t stop listening to, watching, and following Trump. He’s like a bad drug. Not unlike this narcotic cough medicine I was prescribed last month and am now rationing in half-doses so that I can continue to enjoy these really, really restful nights for just a little while longer, despite the occasional interruption of nightmares that typically star Trump, playing “Bride Bingo” at my kitchen table or vomiting glitter glue.

I know he is bad for my psyche and—this is purely conjecture—bad for the country, but I can’t just ignore him. He won’t let me. His ubiquitous presence in my life is gradually taking over my brain. I feel like Mildred Montag under the spell of those blasted TV walls in Fahrenheit 451.

Yet there have been brief reprieves from town halls, debates, and interviews. At times, I seek them out to counter the obsession and insanity. As my friend Rebecca recently pointed out, “TV is so GOOD right now!” There really is so much to blot out Trump’s image that is burned onto the screen or to quiet his “terrifics” and “I am the most (whatever) you will ever meet” rants. I regularly remind myself that CNN is not the only station and that I can find great delight in sitcoms and singing competitions. However, the best program I have viewed in recent months—and the one true antidote to my Trump fixation—is Nancy Reagan’s funeral. (Thanks, Nancy!)

Three Fridays ago, I cut short an English 102 class because, I told students, “I have a funeral to watch.” All the 19-year-olds heard was “We’re getting out early.” I drove home, heated leftovers, and sat cross-legged on the coffee table in front of the TV for more than three hours. If there were such a thing as Funeral Reviews, as there are book reviews, movie reviews, and so forth, I would have much to say about Nancy Reagan’s funeral. And it would be largely glowing and beautiful and true. In fact, let’s give it a try, shall we?

I would be bold enough to write that a good state funeral has the capacity to remind us of what patriotism looks like and how honor and integrity still have a place in this world, and I don’t care what you have to say about Reaganomics or Nancy’s advisory role because none of it matters right now. I would observe that even presidential families aren’t perfect, but in the end, long after they have left office, we readily accept their imperfections, as if to say, “Oh, what the hell. None of us are perfect either.” I would write that Patti Davis resumed her place in the literary world with a eulogy that was more confession and poetry than it was a tribute, beautifully written and beautifully read. I would point out that Hillary is always in charge, even at a Reagan funeral, shuffling the former First Ladies around and (literally) putting Caroline Kennedy in her place. I would write that while I’ve always thought that Ron Reagan and I would have made good friends, he sort of scared me with his talk of his mother’s ghost prowling about the Reagan Presidential Library. I would observe that Nancy Reagan was just the sort of person to arrange for both Mr. T and Tom Selleck to attend her funeral, which was clearly an ’80s Who’s Who. I would question the choice in having Diane Sawyer speak, as Tom Brokaw clearly upstaged her as Journalist Friend to the First Lady. I would acknowledge that we should all have a buddy as genuine as James Baker. I would write that Michelle’s expression, at times, suggested, “Mercy, I sure hope my service is as cool as this one.”

So what does this have to do with Donald Trump? Absolutely, completely, blissfully, refreshingly nothing.