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We're still waiting for heroes to fix things. They aren't coming.

Think of all the heroes we have crowned since 2017—all those men and women who were going to see to it that Donald J. Trump faced impeachment, lost the presidency, went to jail, underwent bankruptcy, and faced the wrath of the American voter writ large as he slowly disappeared into ignominy.

Want a very incomplete list?

Stormy Daniels

Michael Cohen

Liz Cheney

Robert Mueller

Chris Christie

Jack Smith

The J-6 Committee

Alvin Bragg

Brad Raffensperger

Some good people in there provided little flickers of hope over the past seven years that the blatant lying, glaring dishonesty, and shameless incompetence of Donald Trump would finally lose its grip on the American psyche—that mounting proof would cement his position in the list of American pariahs, somewhere between Benedict Arnold and Alger Hiss, perhaps our own Vidkun Quisling.

Many of us look at that list now and see failure or express disappointment. I get it. I have spent the past seven years hoping for more–for the coup de grâce. Instead, we now face a presidential campaign in full swing, headed by a candidate who, despite facing federal charges, has vowed to run his campaign from jail if he needs to and govern from that same cell. Not even the upside of that eventuality—that he will no longer disgrace the White House—will balance out the horrors of another Trump presidency.

All those heroes and so few results.

We can blame Mueller, Cohen, and extend our disgust to McConnell and Bannon, and even throw in the far-right-befuddled blunderers patrolling Congress. But the blame lies closer to home—with us. Seven years ago we sent an unqualified grifter to the White House.

Did we expect different?

It's on us. For years we heard Americans proclaim that politicians were all the same—that there was no difference between the parties. Some of us showed our disdain by issuing a protest vote for an Independent. (Welcome to the White House, "W.") We declared that politics was undignified, beneath us, and not deserving of our attention. And so we didn't care who served us in Congress; eventually, we didn't care who sat in the White House either. We complained about Congressional gridlock, but instead of electing people who might avert it, we accepted the status quo and turned the legislative branch over to the Supreme Court, tasking those nine people with making our laws.

And so: Citizens United. Dobbs. Recent anti-LGBTQ decisions. Goodbye affirmative action. Later, student loan relief.

Did we expect different?

Learning comes slowly. Six years of Trumpism and the illiterati sent Tommy Tubberville to Washington. He may be the poster child for incompetents in high offices, but he does not wobble alone. And rather than standing on the shoulders of giants, he merely steps on the toes of his peers: Boebert, Greene, Gosar, Gaetz–all of whom we granted entry because all politicians are crooks, and it doesn't matter who gets our vote. Now we spend our time rummaging for our next hero.

I, and many of my readers, will not live long enough to see a return to normality. This process of stacking the government with religious zealots and avowed racists began sixty years ago, and we woke to it only in the last decade. Many involved in creating the new Christian conservative America died before it ever reached fruition but felt no less committed to the process.

Now we who oppose this insurrection and wish to defend the basic democratic tenets (separation of church and state, equal rights for all, and more) must make the same commitment. Many of us won't be around for the next great awakening, but we can be part of its beginnings. We can (to use bygone parlance) vote the bums out of office. And they're easy to recognize: they're the ones who are making it more difficult to vote.

We live in the age of movie superheroes and CGI that renders them almost real. It's good escapist entertainment, but on this side of the screen, we have to play that role without computer enhancement and stunt doubles. Our tasks are less technical but equally demanding: pay attention and vote. It will seem more heroic fifty years from now.

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