The real national emergency is the triviality of our politics

In the meantime, problems that should engage our energy are forced to the back of the queue of public attention. The normal constitutional approaches to governing — bills passed through committees, compromises reached in conferences involving both parties and both houses of Congress — are no longer respected.

And no matter how much journalists investigate and expose Trump’s misconduct (we should be grateful for this), his I’m-The-Only-One-Who-Matters approach to politics fits well with the needs of modern media, both social and traditional. Clicks, page views and ratings encourage everyone to dwell on individuals more than issues.

This aggravates a profound preexisting cynicism about the possibilities of political action. And defeatism is especially damaging when it comes to guns.