Trying to sleep through two hours of the loudest, most persistent thunder I’ve ever heard in well over half a century on this earth mingled eerily with the images of bombs over Syria that sent me off to bed. Storms eventually pass through, even the one last night… but so much of what we do, as individuals and corporately, takes us down paths that we can never retrace.
We Americans are supposed to teach bad guys a lesson, it seems—but why Bashar al-Assad, and why Syria? What about the bad guys in the People’s Republic of China, whose citizen critics are “invited for a cup of tea” at the police station and are never heard from again? We have more or less created that diseased state with an insensate, lowest-bottom-line kind of capitalism… and now we scream bloody murder at those among us who wish to see a domestic steel industry sustained (just in case we might… oh, I don’t know: get involved in a war unapproved by the Chinese?). We haven’t invaded Venezuela yet to right wrongs and rescue Lady Justice; and, more often than not, we may be caught making pretty at Raul Castro’s despotism only a few miles off our coastline.
Meanwhile, a special prosecutor investigating a non-crime is having doors kicked in with the encouragement of hip-pocket judges as he seeks to add to his long list of people railroaded into prison because they won’t commit perjury or because they ring up big political points when put in stripes; and a Supreme Court Justice who died under patently suspicious circumstances was never autopsied and will never be exhumed. And this, then, is the nation that rides about the world on a white charger righting wrongs? It’s legal to murder unborn babies here… but we must punish the use of a technology whose heyday was World War I?
I know I’m not doing a good job of zeroing in on a specific issue. In fact, my intent is precisely to evade the specific: I mean to suggest here that we Americans are now a nation in name only. Serendipitously, I was only an hour ago reading Alexis de Toqueville’s warning that large republics increase the allurement of tyrannical power without increasing the commitment of their democratic base. We grow more and more unalike in our essential values as our nation’s power becomes more and more concentrated in an oligarchic elite. The citizens of San Francisco don’t seem to care that their places of business are literally scented with the human fecal matter strewn along the sidewalks. The citizens of some small burg in Alabama, on the other hand, may want to have the Ten Commandments on display in their courthouse… but a single protester backed with money from an international financier can tie up the initiative for years in the national court system.
This is why I tweeted last week that the US will be a loose alliance of four or five republics within twenty years. To be exact, I prophesied this outcome if the will of our presidential plebiscite were reversed by sleazy special interests and a renegade Justice Department; but even without a successful impeachment, I think a lot of people already share my view that the jig is up. The Deep State has now gnawed all the way through the Ship of State’s keel. I say this as someone who never supported Donald Trump for president and didn’t vote for him (exactly because I expected incoherent, impulsive hipshots like the Syrian bombing to be the result). Trump was misidentified as a spokesman for the Vast Disenfranchised. In my view, he isn’t and never was… but it’s also my view that nobody could be. Not now. The garbage I heard from “friends” during the primaries about why Ted Cruz was unsuitable only underscores my conclusion that we’ve lost sufficient common ground to survive as a tight-knit nation.
A loose federation would actually be a great benefit to everyone. Imagine. West Coast States, you can throw open your borders and let unvetted immigrants fertilize your boulevards all the livelong day. The Southeastern States, meanwhile, will enforce not only their Mexican border, but also their New Mexican line—and immigrants from LA to Austin will not immediately be eligible to vote in local elections. The Rocky Mountain States can exploit their mineral resources—or not—as they please. New England can outlaw all forms of firearm and sugar. Dearborn, Michigan, can post Koranic verses throughout its courthouses, or the whole region can opt for the practice of Sharia law.
As for military adventures abroad, if a couple of our republics want to put on the cape and amend injustices in Botswana, they may certainly do so as long as it’s on their own dime. We’ll share a currency and trade freely among ourselves (without tariffs); but as for tax moneys, what’s Peter’s will no longer be accessible to Paul.
Now there would be something to hope for! Hallelujah—hasten the day!