It’s going to be a long four years. On the one hand we have to endure the daily barrage of terrible news from the White House; on the other, we have to fight fiercely, to stay alert and informed. Michael Moore says we should call our representatives in Washington every day. But for our own well-being over the long haul, I think we could all use a day without Trump, every week: one day on which we don’t read about him, watch him on TV, listen to him on the radio, or talk about him with friends; one day on which we don’t even think about that man.
It’s not going to be easy, because he knows how to get us to pay attention to him every day. At times, it’s even cathartic to talk about Trump among friends: “Can you believe what he’s done now?” “Good grief!”
It’s hard also because he has a way of infiltrating all of our lives—some more directly than others. If you’re an undocumented immigrant, you may be on the lookout for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that has been let off its already pretty long leash. If you’re a trans kid, you may no longer be able to use the bathroom of your gender identity. If you’re someone who can get pregnant, Trump is threatening to defund the largest provider of reproductive-health services in the country.
Even for someone like me, an old white man in Los Angeles, Trump is casting a shadow over my days. I had an argument with my wife; she said I was “talking like Trump.” I was listening to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, and somebody remarked, “That’s the perfect antidote to Trump.” I asked a friend how his golf game was going; he answered, “Better than Trump’s presidency.”
What to do on the Day Without Trump? It could be R&R—make chicken soup, play the piano, go bird-watching, read a novel; take the dog for a long walk, or take somebody else’s dog for a long walk; do the crossword puzzle; watch a baseball game. The Dodgers have never been so important.
The Nation’s Richard Kim goes further: He suggests that, if you spend your time-out from Trump “sleeping too much or eating too much or drinking too much or binge watching TV,” that’s okay. Hell, how about “going for a manicure and facial”? If that’s what you need on your Day Without Trump, I’m not going to judge.
Of course, you could also spend the day reading about and talking about our other problems, of which there are plenty: the shrinking Arctic ice cap, or the Syrian refugee crisis. But of course these topics are vulnerable to infiltration by you-know-who: he will increase the rate at which the arctic ice cap is shrinking. He’s banned Syrian refugees from entering the United States.
The big question is, which day should be your Day Without Trump? It has to be a weekend day, I think, and if you like to spend Sunday morning reading the paper, then Saturday has to be the Day. But what if something happens on Saturday? Trump always does something on Saturday—last Saturday he said Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower. What will happen is simple: You will read about it on Sunday morning.
The bigger problem: If you make Saturday your Day Without Trump, does that mean you can’t watch Saturday Night Live? Some say laughter is the best medicine, better than ignoring him. A friend argues that you can watch SNL live—if you declare that the Day Without Trump on Saturday ends at 11:30 pm. That, however, is a slippery slope. Better to watch it all on Sunday morning on the Internet.
The other tough thing about Saturday is dinner with friends on Saturday night. Inevitably, one of them will arrive in an excited state, saying “Did you see what Trump did today?” Your answer should always be the same: “I don’t talk about Trump on Saturday. Saturday is my Day Without Trump.”
Farhad Manjoo at The New York Times tried to go for a week without Trump—a heroic effort, but one that failed. He did read “other” news—and discovered that Trump was “inescapable.” The president, he found, “doesn’t simply dominate national and political news.… He is no longer just the message. In many cases, he has become the medium, the ether through which all other stories flow.” Manjoo suggests that a Day Without Trump will have to be a day without news entirely.
Let’s remember: The point of a Day Without Trump is not to pull back from politics; it’s to come back stronger, every week. He’s been president for six weeks. That means we have 202 to go—202 weeks, and each one should have a Day Without Trump. After that, I hope to go the rest of my life without another day with Trump.