Listen, I completely understand why everyone is furious with me. You don’t think that I know there are disgusting, reprehensible, dangerous things coming out of my mouth at all times? That my vile, indefensible words seek only to shelter the nation’s newly installed administration from the slightest shred of accountability? And that I’ve done it all with a self-righteous arrogance that suggests outright contempt for the truth and our nation’s founding principles? Of course I do. I have behaved in ways that defy not only logic and common sense, but also basic human decency. And, deservedly, I have been shamed and criticized and insulted for these actions.
But answer me truthfully: Who among you wouldn’t do the same exact thing if an evil 400-year-old witch had trapped your father’s eternal soul inside a cursed iron lantern, flickering faintly each time his agonized moans escaped the murky, otherworldly ether that is his prison?
Look me in the eye and tell me that you would not heed the crone’s disgusting instruction to divert attention away from Donald Trump’s glaring conflicts of interest, nor undermine the nation’s entire intelligence apparatus to salve your boss’s ego, nor categorically deny objective reality time and time again if so doing released your father’s tortured spirit from the in-between realm and at last let him be at peace.
Do you actually think I enjoy appearing on television on behalf of a petty and profoundly unstable narcissist to defend his taped admissions of sexual assault? And as a woman, do you think I like attacking the victims of such horrible abuse as the mouthpiece for that conscienceless degenerate? Do you think it’s my idea of a good time to slay the fearsome Beast of Obar Chiardair with an opal blade and return to the witch its bloody horns, or to pretend I can stand being anywhere near Eric Trump?
Rest assured, I do not. But I have no choice. I must do these foul deeds to free Papa, thinking only of his pained, spectral face slowly disappearing and reappearing behind that accursed, clouded lantern glass while I again take to CNN and lie about where funding for the border wall is going to come from.
When I go home at night, please know that I do three things. I sit and I weep at the positions I have taken. I retch in horror at the potential consequences my words will have on civility, reason, and the safety of citizens in our country. And I stare with sunken eyes at the glow of Papa’s soul in the lantern, shining brighter only when I’ve successfully advocated the unconscionable position that Betsy DeVos is a qualified candidate for Secretary of Education, or growing dimmer when I haven’t adequately shouted down members of the press by claiming that their fact-checking efforts are a sign of the media’s unforgivable bias against this administration.
Know that when I work up the courage to look myself in the eye, I see the ghoul I have become.
Please understand, it makes me blanch and tremble to even think about what I’ve already done, and what I yet still must do. But I don’t have a choice, and neither would you. Had you yourself tried to kill the witch and smash the lantern for the hundredth time and seen your own mother transformed into a millipede for your efforts—finally coming to terms with the fact that the crone’s magic is simply too strong—you too would find yourself standing up for Trump’s attack on a celebrated black U.S. congressman and Civil Rights icon. Do not claim that you wouldn’t.
Could I have avoided this fate? Certainly. Though I warned my father time after time of the dangers of stealing mandrake root from the mystical garden of a powerful hag so that he could once again briefly feel the strength of his youth—oh, your vanity, Papa!—clearly I could have and should have done more. But I can’t dwell on the past now; I simply don’t have time. I’ve completed seven of the 12 tasks and now must shore up Trump’s acceptance of anti-vaccination theories and steal a newborn foal’s first breath before the witch draws the moon down from the sky and sets in motion the Final Degradation.
I am so sorry—sorry for what I’ve done, and even more sorry for what is to come. Forgive me.
I love you, Papa.