Friday, June 30, 2017

Face Bleeding

My wife and I were eating breakfast this morning when Leslie found herself caught in a quagmire.  Called Facebook.

The liberal vanguard of my family was raging about the latest Presidential controversy.  (This doesn't have to be a date-specific post, since mayhem seems to be a daily occurrence.  But in this case, I'm talking about "face-bleeding.")  The conversation's hope of hopes was that this would be the final insult that would lead to impeachment, or something.  Which would be a great victory for their tribe and maybe the nation too.  Or at least I assume that was the heart of the messages.  Leslie was trying to ignore the beeping phone, and I was reading the Times on my phone.

You know, people really do love their stories.  Which is why we get ourselves into so much trouble, and more importantly, why we can never quite get out of our messes.  Trump is a villain to many, yes, and an embarrassment to the nation, and a threat to the future of humanity.  No doubt about any of that in my mind.  But he's a villain with millions who believe his story.  And he's also obvious and ineffectual and surprisingly weak-willed.  Meanwhile impeachment will be a very slow business.  When this chapter ends--and I hope it can end without catastrophic suffering--someone else will conquer the Oval Office.  Pence?  An ideologue who might not survive the Russian intrigues or having dinner with women other than his wife.  Paul Ryan?  No man woman or computer software with a boner for Ayn Rand should be allowed near the highest office.  After that?  Orrin Hatch, I believe.  Which says something.  I mean, when in my life have I ever imagined that President Orrin Hatch would be good news?

My advice is not to waste much hope for an early end to President Trump's clumsy reign.  In part because I am a writer, and there will be more chapters, and there's no end to the shit that can happen.  There are legions of people and well-funded causes that still stand behind the man.  But more to the point, they never stop telling the same few stories to themselves.  Maybe they're standing a few steps farther back now, sure.  But still, their outrage is like cruise missile attacks.  This is wrong, he shouldn't have done that.  The man is learning as he goes, and so on.

There's another Trump somewhere, shrewder and far more capable.

And standing against him?  A political party that cannot seem to make three good decisions in a row.  That spends millions getting beaten in the wrong campaigns, and that still, despite evidence of a growing mandate, can't find the voice or vigor to support far more progressive ideals.

The next Trump will be very much like our Trump:  The elected leader of the Confederate States of America.  But there isn't going to be an old-style civil war.  If violence erupts, it won't be pretty like it was in the 1860s.  No uniforms.  No neat borders.  No Battle Hymn of the Republic.  The military leaders on both sides will not have gone to school together, and there won't be an ending written in the noble language of treaties and exhaustion.

No, our next civil war will belong to Facebook, chaotic and full of beeps while you're trying to eat your Raisin Bran.

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