Way back in February, 2017, which given these long, ear-bleeding days of Trump feels like it might as well have been 1852 , I reached out to Abraham Lincoln for some much-needed wisdom. I was brutally sad at the time, but somehow still optimistic all this would turn out OK. Getting the council of one of history’s greatest leaders seemed a necessary, if wildly improbable, whim. So riding a journalist’s hunch, I started hoisting questions to the darkening sky and somehow was rewarded when the great man’s well-deep voice filled my ears with a polite, sagacious rumble.
At the time, we were one month into the Trump presidency and being introduced to Conway’s alternative facts. Trump himself was surrounded on four sides by the Pence-Priebus-Flynn-Bannon thick, impenetrable box, while Spicer threw a nuclear-powered tantrum about crowd size. A travel ban was implemented with the grace of a Three Stooges wallpapering scene, and the president was onto his 247th lie, doing everything he could with his ill-gotten power to sell plenty of newspapers by making them great again.
By now it was painfully apparent it was all going to be far worse than we thought, but, hell, if this Russian stuff was at all true — and one newspaper after another reporting the hell out of it told us it was — it would be a short presidency. You could do some pretty awful things as a white man in America and get away with it, but traitors had never, ever fared well.
And, of course, there were always the moderate Republicans who could be counted on to step in as sideboards and curb the president’s irrational, piggish, warped anti-American tendencies. After all, they had spent the past 50 years or so reminding us how much they loved this country.
… All of which we have now learned was complete, unmitigated, 100-percent, Grade-A bullshit. We now know definitively you can trust a Republican only as far you can throw him with both arms lashed behind your back and stuck inside some cage.
So, I needed to hear from Lincoln again in the worst way. The first time ’round he schooled us on everything from heaven (no such thing) to animals, “The animals were always far and away the best beings among us,” he told us. “Why shouldn’t they get their day in the after-life? We were not and are not good to the animals on earth. This makes no sense given they’ve got the extra sense! So they rule here, and are darn good at it.”
He also had faith we would make it through all this, hard as it seemed. It is to this last point where I decided to drill first …
Enoughalreadynow.com: Thanks a million for giving us some more of your time, Abe. I can call you Abe, right? I feel like I am losing my mind.
Abraham Lincoln: Of course you can call me Abe, my dear boy. And as the lions are fond of saying up here, just never call me late for dinner. <deep laugh> I know, I know, a worn joke, but one they can’t seem to hear enough. And who’s to take issue with a hungry lion?! <deep laugh> And so you know … most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
EA: Sorry, but that last bit comes off as kind of high-minded given what we have been through here with Trump.
AL: Ah. What YOU have you’ve been through, eh …? <deep laugh> Ah, yes YOU! Certainly what YOU have been through is worse than the African American who picked cotton under a blazing sun and the teeth of a whip until his fingers bled … Certainly what YOU have been through is worse than the Native American who was burned out of her home … Certainly what YOU have been through is worse than the poor woman who had no say whatsoever in her governance … Certainly what YOU …
EA: OK, OK, OK! I get it! I get it! Maybe this was a rotten idea.
AL: Nonsense! Buck up, my boy! It is still my dream that America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.
EA: So you are feeling my pain! At least a little.
AL: Yes, sadly, I suppose I am. I hesitate to admit it is worse than I thought it would be at this point. The Counsel of Animals have been speaking in whispered tones up here, which is never a good sign. There is talk of eating us, but Mandela, Nightingale and Gandhi convinced them for now this will not yet be as bad as the Industrial Revolution from which they have never recovered.
EA: Yes, I always think of Hitler being the worst thing, but I suppose if you are an animal, what we called ‘progress’ was devastating for them.
AL: Quite correct. Our life expectancy went up and theirs down. Our population increased and theirs declined. We polluted their land, air and water while these sickened beasts wandered furiously toward the last vestiges of high ground seeking hope and shelter from our raging storm of evil, selfishness and stupidity.
EA: It makes me ill.
AL: It should. And yet so many humans take no ownership of this tragedy. It is only after they arrive here that the Department of Elephants, Polar Bears and Dolphins drills this home to them in no uncertain terms. And believe me, dear boy, a polar bear can make quite an impression. Mussolini still crawls around here without an arm or a leg.
EA: It all feels like a metaphor for what we are dealing with now.
AL: Harrumph! Beware the man with short arms and aptitude who overreaches to make the point.
EA: Fair enough. Sorry. I was stretching there, wasn’t I.
AL: No apologies, my friend. I ask only perspective. And don’t get me wrong, there is no love for Hitler here, but the animals keep him alive and upside down in a cage for the sole purpose of reminding everybody just how bad we humans can be.
AL: If it makes you feel any better, they have the humans building an adjoining cage as we speak — say they are constructing it with somebody particular in mind. Of course, we are sure it is for Trump, but not even the hyenas are giving it away.
EA: Awesome! Do they expect him to arrive soon I hope!
AL: Now, now, lad, even in the darkest of times, patience has its virtue.
EA: I dunno. I suppose.
EA: Have to say, I am somehow even more depressed than I was when I called, Abe. We humans are pretty awful. Always have been, I guess. No wonder we have Trump.
AL: Yes, perspective can sharpen even the dullest blade.
EA: Guess I had that coming.
AL: We all have it coming, my good man. We all have it coming …
AL: Well, I’m afraid I must be off now. The Owls meet on Saturdays and I try to never miss a meeting. You know, I was credited for saying and doing many a wise thing when I was on earth in prominent positions. But have you ever huddled with an owl?! <deep laugh> The owls can’t conceive of giving so much thought and credence to a dullard like Trump. They would tell you to never listen to a single word he says, my boy. After all, it is literally the only thing he wants. Why give it to him …?
AL: Look, things will get better. And if you really want to do some good, you will do no better than helping an animal.