Like all mariner tales, the story slips in like a schooner on a foggy, becalmed day. Rats, the story goes, might leap off the lines that held a boat fast to the dock if they knew the next voyage was doomed. And rats, as creatures of the bilge, always knew. When you see them on the lines do not sign on to that ship for she is bound for Davy Jones’ locker.
People today are rarely as superstitious as ancient sailors. But when you have far too many hours adrift at sea with no winds, like this Congress, the mind does wander. A change of leadership isn’t always up to the voters, as it were, but up to the crew and their desire to not miss the message of the rats.
The response came as you might expect in a flurry of angry tweets, but it included a cynically combative ray of hope. “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”
The Trump campaign has been compared many times in the past to a kind of fire – a dumpster fire, a tire fire, perhaps even a landfill fire. But with this great “stab in the back” by Republican leaders desperate to save their own skins there is little doubt the fire will indeed spread. Call it a funeral pyre, if you want, but eventually we can see it will ignite the highly flammable Republican panoply of Gods and Heroes alike.
We’ve seen such an epic blaze before – first in the stagecraft of Wagner and later made real through Hitler. Yes, we’ll go there. It’s all going there, all going ablaze.
If you’re paying attention to things like the Arizona primary, you probably wonder what could possibly go wrong next. This cluster-eff of an event featured 60 polling places where 200 were normal, creating miles-long lines and many hours of wait just to vote.
Of course, if you’re a cynic, you might say that the attempts at voter intimidation worked perfectly.
But that’s the strange miracle of an election cycle that has been so incredibly surprising that nothing, absolutely nothing has gone by the script. The systems we have are being strained to the point where we have to ask why we have them in the first place. The cynics? As always, it’s easy to point out places where our Democratic-Republic was deliberately designed to be less than open. Systems, as we know them, are hardly designed for today’s world – that much is true.
But today we have light shone on nearly everything in ways we never have before. The main reason that every gear in the machine of democracy seems more broken than ever is at least in part because we never knew how ugly it was before. And that’s reason enough to get ourselves to the point where the system is fixed.