Jean Paul Sartre, Troubled Sleep, Donald Trump

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

I look forward to moving past the shock, but never the outrage. I am pleased to think that the outrage is just getting started. What I mean by that is something like the feeling expressed by Jean Paul Sartre, in his novel Troubled Sleep, about World War II.

In the novel, Germany invades France, but the French soldiers don’t truly understand that they are at war.

The Germans destroy village after village, but the French soldiers don’t truly understand that they are at war.

With superior tanks and airplanes, the Germans quickly defeat the French, but the French soldiers don’t truly understand that they are at war.

The French are forced to surrender, but the French soldiers don’t truly understand that they are at war.

The French soldiers are taken to a temporary prison camp, but they don’t truly understand they are at war.

A rumor spreads among them that Hitler has decided to send them home to their families. The soldiers are cheered. Some even praise Hitler for his graciousness in victory. They don’t realize they are actually at war.

At the end of the novel, the Germans order the French soldiers onto trains. The trains start moving. It is understood by the soldiers that if the trains go north, to Germany, then they are being sent to slave labor camps, but if the train turns south, then they are being sent home to their families.

In the final scene, the train comes to a fork, where it must go north or south. The soldiers watch anxiously. And then train turns north, toward Germany. And then, finally, the French soldiers realize they are at war.

I feel like this election was a bit like that, for many weak liberals who thought that it was okay to be “centrist.” I feel like they are finally waking up to the fact that this is a war. I’ve had this conversation a dozen times during the last 48 hours — friends of mine who have spent many years defending a moderate approach, and now they have finally realized that a moderate approach won’t work.

This is the only upside that I find in this election.

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