So, news flash: the USA is sick.
Due to some interesting "quirks" in our electoral system, we've somehow managed to elect a narcissistic, deluded toddler to be our chief executive. That's the good news. Even though almost 3 million more people voted for his opponent. Democracy! Hooray.
I'm not going to attempt to make a list of the jaw-droppingly stupid, corrupt, and inappropriate things President Trump has already done in his first 30 days in office, both because it would make me really sad, and also because by the time I'm done writing it, there would already be more things to add to the end of the list. Open any news site, with the possible exception of Fox, point to a random part of the page, and chances are you'll find something to be furious about.
So, yeah, the symptoms are bad. But I think I may have changed my mind about the diagnosis.
Back when the election was still fresh in my mind, there were times when I was pretty sure this was cancer of the republic. I was the guy poring over WebMD, clicking on every disorder and reading about it in growing horror, certain that I had whatever the worst version of the worst disease was. The United States had cancer, and I wasn't sure it was operable. In my darkest moments, I wondered if the experiment that started in 1789 had just run its course.
But we are a month in now, and although things are undeniably terrible, I think they might not be fatal. Maybe what we're looking at here is not cancer, but a really, really nasty virus.
What I'm about to write may end up looking as foolish in hindsight as my optimism on election day does now, but it looks and feels right now like the nation's immune system is starting to stir into life. Huge numbers of citizens are marching in the streets. The news networks and newspapers are calling out lies instead of playing nice. People are calling their representatives and attending town halls and getting organized. Each newly motivated person, each call, each vote is an antibody, doing its small part to fight back and throw out the foreign body that's infected our nation.
Of course, the thing about fighting off a virus like this is that it means we're going to be sick for a while. This isn't going to be a quick cough that we power through with some Dayquil. We are in for a fight, and it's probably going to be a while before we feel like ourselves again.
But right now, it's looking to me like this is something we can fight off. And if it takes us a while to recover and feel strong again, that's a whole lot better than looking at a terminal diagnosis.