So the drama keeps on keeping on. The narcissist-in-chief refuses to give up that title as he vainly attempts to influence state legislatures to do something totally outside of their powers – mainly, to overcome the will of their state’s electorates and declare the narcissist as the winner in the Presidential election. Many of the narcissist’s followers have latched onto this quixotic quest and have begun a new pasttime of harassing state electoral officials. Doesn’t matter whether they are democrats or republicans, these officials have run afoul of the narcissist’s need for official affirmation.
I had hoped by this time in the election cycle, we could diverge from the path of the last five years, and begin to discuss the issues we face as a nation. Unfortunately, the most recent election will not recede into the past. We are given the images of the narcissist’s lawyer conducting press conferences in a gritty north Philadelphia neighborhood, accompanied by images of a porn shop and a crematorium adjacent to the Vivaldi concerto (The Four Seasons). We were treated to the unforgettable image of the narcissistian bimbo addressing the Michigan state senators with a performance seldom seen before this year. For once Saturday Night Live didn’t have to exaggerate their impersonation in order to lay bare the total ludicrousity of the testimony of this woman.
Still, this monstrosity of an administration is ending the only way it could – dissolving into an utterly chaotic pool of recriminations flavored with the virus de jour. Now let me say that I don’t know absolutely that a different approach could have engendered less death and misery upon this country. What I do know is that due to the propensity of the narcissist-in-chief to minimize the impact of the virus upon this nation and its economy, we squandered the time we had available to mobilize an effective plan to produce and distribute protective equipment and testing supplies. By relegating all responsibility for virus response to the states, we were treated to the spectacle of states bidding against each other for scarce resources. And of course, the price for these supplies escalated significantly, causing wasteful spending to fall upon the states. We had the image of a republican governor essentially negotiating an international trade deal with Korea, and bringing in testing supplies on a charter flight that was unloaded within the sovereign territory of his state, rather than risk it being seized by Federal forces if it were to fly to the normal international airport of Dulles.
It is seldom that you can see evolution happening in real time, but if the behavior of republicans and democrats were to be perpetuated over several generations, it seems that the human population within the US would tend to be more educated and more likely to support science. Because the population that pooh-pooed science and its response to the virus will be more likely to diminish, since so many of them will die. But their freedom will be maintained.
Once more we see how the US Constitution that we have relied upon for over 200 years as the model for our behavior, is incapable of guiding appropriate responses in our modern world. The need to maintain the common welfare comes into direct conflict with the desires to maintain the freedom to conduct all manner of activities, whether it be to crowd the stage at a narcissist’s rally, or get sloshed at a neighborhood bar, or sing to the Lord a new song in an unmasked sanctuary. At the same time, long-festering wounds within the social structure had their scabs ripped off, and the nation had to address the reality that life has never been equal for those who are in the minority within our states. For many of the narcissist’s followers, since they do not live in cities where the grievances are strongest, those grievances are by definition not real. Any voice raised in support of those who expressed outrage was castigated as being un-American, and traitorous.
If this nation is to remain whole, and not splinter into irreconcilable geographic factions, we must come up with a new social contract. This social contract must define our responsibilities towards each other, recognizing that the shrinking of the globe that has happened over the past few decades must be taken into account. The existing Constitution served us well during the time when there was always a frontier that we could move to if life got too constrained within the cities. Well, now it is the cities that are constrained by the stultification they find outside of their borders. We no longer have the ability to declare unconstrained freedom to pursue our own desires, if in by so doing, we cause damage to the well being of many others. The unfettered ability to use one’s own property as you desire, or pursue unrestrained commercial activity, or exercise religious freedom, has now run up against the limitations that flow from having a much larger population. How do we reconcile these seemingly contradictory human needs?
I’m not sure, but I don’t believe that armed mob intimidation attempts, at state capitols, or at the residences of state officials, is a useful way to resolve these issues. Shouting past each other does not, and will not ever work. What will work? My hope is that efforts like the Problem Solver’s Caucus will turn out to be more successful than such entities as the Freedom Caucus, who seem intent on fanning the flames already turning this nation into a firestorm of hatred and vitriol.