Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Trumpty Dance

Is there anything to be learned from catastrophic events? What would the world be like without Antietam, Pearl Harbor, the siege of Leningrad or most recently 9/11? Let’s say that the sound was turned down just enough for Hitler, Stalin and Osama bin Laden to have stayed in business. You can institutionalize repression and even murder, if there are trade-offs and a certain tampering down of the initial insults to humanity. That’s precisely what Trump did in his equivocal response towards the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by MBS. Luckily most tyrants have a built-in self-destruct mechanism. Just the other day Trump evidenced such behavior by taking his campaign one step too far and inciting a riot in congress. Joseph McCarthy met his match when he challenged the army, Hitler when he neglected the lesson of Napoleon’s defeat described in War and Peace by attacking Russia in the middle of winter. A violent attack on Congress is an unthinkable nightmare, but let’s imagine what would happen if Trump and his allies were a bit smarter. In
 Man in the High Castle and The Plot Against America both Philip K. Dick and Philip Roth imagine alternate universes where the allies weren’t successful in rising up against the axis powers. Let’s say you had a Republican controlled House of Representatives along with the present Republican controlled senate. Let’s say there was no attack on congress. The unimaginable might very well have occurred. The majority of Americans could have voted for Biden. The electors could have presented their ballots and Congress could have failed to confirm the election of a new president. No one wants apocalypse, but it’s like green gases. You can keep letting them build up, but one day they’re going to take their revenge. Would you rather be poisoned to death slowly or get really sick and have the chance to nip the infection in the bud?

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