Weird Scenes #121: This Is America Burning

“Five to one, baby, one in five. Nobody here gets out alive, now. You get yours, baby,
I’ll get mine.” – Five To One, written by The Doors, 1968.

For a century, the United States’ foreign policy was built around the concept that, to paraphrase Field of Dreams, “if you build them democracy, they will come.” It was the cornerstone of our actions in Iraq, by way of example, during our 2003 invasion. Shock, and awe, and then democracy. We quickly discovered that “democracy” is a concept that many people did not understand, believe, and/or trust. A whole lot of brainy Americans on all points of the political spectrum had a very hard time understanding what, to them, was simply a matter of logic.

Well, logic is overrated; more so than our worst fantasies might divine. A whole lot of Americans do not understand democracy, believe in it, and/or trust it. Approximately 37% feel that way if you look at the percentage of Trump supporters over the past four years. We — those of us who equate democracy with patriotism — saw that number and said “37% is a ridiculously low number; in a democracy, 37% means they lose.”

Yeah. But the ghost of Santayana rattles very heavy chains. According to many historians, only about one-third of the colonists in what is now the United States of America supported the American Revolution. If that had been a democracy, we’d have Queen Elizabeth’s face on our one-pound notes.

I don’t think logic wins battles, although I didn’t realize it scares so many people out of their wits. I remained optimistic about the human race until sometime late in the pre-Covid era. I thought we were inherently good. Sure, we have our faults and some of them, as evidenced by Hitler, Mao, Trump, Manson, and McVeigh, are mindlessly horrible. But by and large, I felt that, as a species, we were pretty okay.

Wait a minute, you might be asking. Did you just conflate Donald Trump with Charles Manson? Yes, I did. Both were dictators who controlled their stupid, shallow, and mindless followers into committing heinous acts of destruction. And both could have been stopped — but not by the forces of good. They could have been stopped by NBC.

Had Charles Manson been cast in the television series The Monkees, for which he had auditioned, then Roman Polanski might be making Hollywood movies to this day. Similarly, had NBC kept Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice for another season, he wouldn’t have been so eager for a different day job. The threads of circumstance are indeed that ephemeral.

No, what is going on in America today has nothing to do with Trump’s continued existence. Indeed, right now he would likely be doing “his” movement more good as a martyr, a job for which the Orange Skull is quite experienced.

Note this bit of insanity, as reported Sunday on USA Today’s website:

“The feud between the Arizona Senate and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors over lawmakers’ insistence that the county perform another hand count of 2020 general election results has escalated in the past few weeks…

“The Senate, controlled by Republicans, has threatened to hold the supervisors, nearly all Republicans, in contempt for not responding to subpoenas asking for copies of all the county’s mail-in ballots and access to voting machines. The Senate wants to perform its own audit.

“Some senators have even threatened to arrest the supervisors over the matter, and the body could vote on the contempt resolution as early as Monday.”

Did the Unga Bunga Boys dump a few metric tons of LSD into the Arizona state water supply, or is something truly insane going on here?

Those of us who read newspapers and get our information from a variety of reliable sources know it’s not the LSD. It’s those stupid, shallow, and mindless barbarians at the gate. Would they only be wielding pitchforks and torches. A couple of weeks ago we learned they’ve got much more effective toys. They’ve got quivers full of the Big Lies, and they launch them at the speed of the internet.

I was optimistic throughout the Trump years. Evidently, there was more of that “peace, love and understanding” stuff left in me than I had thought. It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and there is no doubt in my mind that if we want to keep our little democracy going, we’re going to have to fight for it.