No. Oprah Winfrey should not run for president, no no no no no. No. Don’t even pretend it’s a good idea. Don’t take it seriously. DO NOT DO THIS, AMERICA.
I want our next president to be a quiet, hard-working, younger-than-me-or-at-least-not-a-lot-older policy nerd. Charismatic, yes, but not goddamn Oprah. We shouldn’t even be talking about it, because talking about it makes it sound possible, and you know how that’s worked out so far.
So let’s stop this silliness right now.
Then you might consider reading this very sad story from Politico, about the widening divide between neighbors in little Pepin County, Wis., which went 58 percent for you-know-who in 2016, bewildering and baffling its many Democratic residents. Both factions have used the results as a pretext to stay angry and divided from the very people they live, work, shop and perhaps even worship next to on a regular basis.
Trump is surely not the only reason for America’s worrisome and worsening partisan strife, with 80 percent of people in recent polling saying they see the country as “mainly or totally divided.” But his election framed that chasm in stark terms, an emotional choice that felt bitterly personal on both sides. And since taking office, the 45th president has only stoked the discord with his comments about “ungrateful” blacks, the criminal propensities of immigrants, his anti-Islam rhetoric and his equivocations on behalf of white supremacists. People here, in this demographically homogeneous, almost entirely white community, have plenty to say about all this—they just have chosen not to say it to each other. If there is a wall that Trump has built, it’s not the “big, beautiful” one on the Mexican border—it’s the figurative wall that has risen in places like Pepin County, Wisconsin.
I sat at a bar in Durand called the Cell Block one afternoon and listened to Bill Ingram, a GOP member of the county board, bluntly describe Republicans as “good” and Democrats as “evil.” I spent another evening in a cabin on a dark hill as deer hunters downed cans of Keystone Light while discussing what they viewed as a Trump-boosted economic surge—and the next night at a cozy, artsy concert venue where aghast liberals drank $4 bottles of craft beer and lamented the “erosion” of democracy. Myklebust characterized Pepin County as a Venn diagram with two circles that no longer touch.
Not surprising, really. I found myself nodding along to much of it.
Sorry for the late update today. Just got jammed up after a bitter-cold weekend when not much happened, other than seeing “I, Tonya,” which we both enjoyed very much. I recommend it.