Happy New Year, and welcome back, everyone! While we were gone last week, editor Jeffrey C. Billman published a column called “Ten Observations on a Year at the Speed of Trump,” which reflected on how the perpetual chaos of the Trump presidency “clouds the memory, pollutes the mind,” and how scandals that would dominate weeks and months in any other administration seem to last but a few hours before a new one arises.  

“I just wanted to say great article,” Dave Mueller writes. “And, oh my god, did you hit the nail on the head with the ‘Biggest Scandal Ever … for twelve hours’ part. Nothing makes me think of that more than the whole Hobby Lobby thing. A freakin’ craft store was involved in smuggling actual artifacts out of the Middle East. That would have been the most insane, bizarre story of the year during pretty much any other year of our country’s existence prior to 2017. But in the Trump era, it wasn’t even the craziest story of the week.”

Kevin Wilson, meanwhile, takes issue with the column’s prediction that things are going to get worse before they get better: “No, things will get worse before they get even worse! As putrid as he is, Trump isn’t the American Hitler everyone fears—he’s way too unhinged. So Trump is just setting up the groundwork for someone even more sinister. Mike Pence is Ted Cruz without the charisma. The next alt-right POTUS—’20 if Trump doesn’t run, ’24 if he does—is the one who I fear, because he’ll be much younger and much less prone to outbursts than the Dumbass in Tweet.”

Larry Strickland thinks things are going just fine, thank you very much: “Your comments are the typical liberal far-left views that I have heard many times before. President Trump has been a great president, and I support him 100 percent.”

“Over 60 percent of the country disagrees with that,” Donovan Verrill replies. “He’s the dumbest, most childish, most narcissistic president we’ve ever had. He’s caused more damage to this country than I thought he would. Hillary was the first Democrat I ever voted for for president, and I despise Hillary. That’s how bad Trump is. I get it, though. You Christians have just been waiting for a foul-mouthed, tax-cheating, porn-star-paying-off, multiple philanderer to be your savior. Jesus must be so proud.”

Austin Richard Lovegrove says Trump is confounding progressives by doing things they should like: “We finally have an anti-imperialist/anti-war president and liberals don’t know what to do.”

Our last issue of 2018 featured an interview with Maya Little, the activist and UNC grad student best known for smearing her own blood (and red paint) on Silent Sam in April. 

Mike Harris believes protesters like Little are in it for the attention: “When I see so many ardent protesters devoting so much time and energy to the fate of an inanimate chunk of metal, as opposed to, say, housing the homeless or feeding the starving or fighting the erosion of our faith in our free press and our electoral process—you know, inconsequential things like that—I cannot help but wonder if they would be so sensitive about a dippy statue if that would not result in a crowd-driven gestalt of an emotional high and get them a place in the spotlight of news cameras. 

“My solution to Confederate monuments would be more monuments—statues and plaques to people such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, along with more education about the times these people lived in. If you remove Confederate monuments, all you accomplish is avoiding history and covering it up. History—especially unjust history—is meant to be owned, not dismissed. Dismissing history is how you enable the same sort of people who claim that the Holocaust never happened.”

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