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Read On: A list I never thought I’d ever have to write

President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican congressional retreat in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017.

President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican congressional retreat in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017.

(Matt Rourke / AP)

I never thought I’d have to write that I sense fear from my fellow citizens when it comes to speaking out against a presidential administration. But I do.

I never thought I’d have to write that our president is the biggest and most compulsive liar that I’ve ever encountered in American public life. But I must.

I never thought I’d have to write that the leader of the United States has the demeanor of a middle school-aged adolescent, with mature development arrested at age 13. But it’s true.

I never thought I’d have to write that my government has declared literal war against the truth, or that the president’s chief spokesperson would go on television and with a straight face and present the idea of “alternative facts.” But they have.

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I never thought I’d have to write that my president is so insecure and consumed with the size of his support that he would personally phone the acting chief of the National Park Service to produce photographic evidence of a larger turnout at his inauguration. But he did.

I never thought I’d have to write that my president has launched a trade war with Mexico during his first week in office and generate talks of an actual war. But he has.

I never thought I’d have to write that members of President Trump’s senior staff all were using a private Republican National Committee email server after having made Hillary Clinton’s doing so the centerpiece of the general election campaign. But it has.

I never thought I’d have to write that the winner of the presidential campaign is loudly and persistently making dubious claims of voter fraud despite having come out on top. But he does.

I never thought I’d have to write that the proposed solution for making Mexico pay for a wall on America’s southern border would be a 20% tax on all imported goods, essentially sticking American consumers with the bill. But it is.

I never thought I’d have to write that an American president this week stood in front of the hallowed CIA Memorial Wall and made a self-aggrandizing speech about his own greatness and popularity, unable to see past his own narcissistic reflection. But he did.

I never thought I’d have to write that five members of the president’s inner circle, including two of his children, are registered to vote in two states. But they are.

I never thought I’d have to write that Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, has gone so far as to tell the New York Times, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. The media here is the opposition party.” But he did.

I never thought I’d have to write that the leader of the once-free world could consume himself with bad-mouthing movie stars and TV shows in tweets and all but declare war on information itself. But he does.

I never thought I’d have to write that the country could be so fractured and polarized that talk of civil war would be in the air. But it is.

I never thought I’d have to write that a presidential administration has threatened to go to war with California by putting us on notice that federal funding would be withheld from sanctuary cities if they failed to cooperate with immigration agents. But it did.

I never thought I’d have to write that the New York Times now sees fit to use the words “lie” and “lies” in headlines and stories applied to a sitting president of the United States, which it didn’t even do with Richard Nixon. But this past week, it did.

I never thought I’d have to write that waking up in the morning to the news — once an activity embraced with relish — so fills me with dread. But it does.

I never thought I’d have to write that going about the business of my daily life feels utterly empty and foreboding due to what appears to be the purposeful destruction of our hallowed institutions of democracy in real time. But it has.

I never thought I’d have to write that I feel helpless in the face of tyranny and autocratic rule from a man who believes himself at once omnipotent and infallible. But I do.

I never thought I’d have to write that I sense I’m a stranger in my own land. But I do.

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RAY RICHMOND has covered Hollywood and the entertainment business since 1984. He can be reached via email at ray@rayrichco.com and Twitter at @MeGoodWriter.


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