Before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, before his chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon instructed the press to "keep its mouth shut and listen," reporter Monica Hesse of The Washington Post was trying to do just that.
Well, we're talking about the "listen" part, at least.
In one off-the-mainline feature, Hesse hung out with a middle-class family from Corbin, Kentucky, known to many as the place where Colonel Harlan Sanders came up with Kentucky Fried Chicken.
But it was politics, and not poultry, the Post was interested in: "This is the first in an occasional series of stories dropping in on families in the first year of a new presidency, and at a time of societal change," an editor's note atop the story read. In introducing the Razmuse family, we see the complexities from the get-go:
They were an American family, at the beginning of a presidential term in which the biggest clarifying lesson was that there were many different kinds of American families trying to share the elbow-space of one country.
There were the ones who hated Donald Trump from the beginning and made it clear. There were the ones who loved him from the beginning and made that clear, too. And then there were lots of ones like the Razmuses, for whom moments of clarity were centered on subjects that were considerably less divisive.
What Suzie Razmus was sure of: how she loved her husband and their three sons. How she was devoted to her faith and her community. How Shane, 13, really needed to eat more breakfast. How that inane “Pen-PineappleApple-Pen” song got stuck in her head every time Henry, 17, sang it. How the low, green mountains surrounding Corbin, Ky., could be breathtaking to newcomers but banal to lifelong residents, which is why, every morning when she drove to the movie theater her family owned and operated, she worked hard not to take the view for granted.
Lots and lots of human details there. Keep reading. You just know where this is going to end up, sooner rather than later.