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On the Brink Again

Once again, dear reader, the various plot lines of doom appear to be converging. November is going to be a very interesting month, in the sense of the alleged Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times.”

In America, we of course have a date certain for the onset of Trouble—Tuesday, November 8, the date of the “midterm” elections. Thanks to diligent reporting by the Washington Post, we have hard figures for the unsurprising but thoroughly alarming facts that hundreds of MAGA-tized Republican candidates for major federal and state elected offices are “election deniers” with regard to Trump’s resounding defeat in 2020, and that many of them refuse to say whether they will accept the results of this election if they don’t win. Heads they win, tails we lose: many of these fascist goons are in “safe” Republican districts, bound to get elected and sworn to abuse their positions to put an end to contested elections in their jurisdictions, i.e., to install patchwork MAGA dictatorships. At the same time, those who do lose will scream that they were cheated and incite political violence. The U.S. Capitol Building is perhaps on alert for a repeat of the January 6 putsch, but are they prepared for the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and various assault rifle-toting thugs, with or without colorful costumes, in Lansing, Harrisburg, and Madison, not to mention every county seat and school board across the land?

Meanwhile, in an astonishing display of self-control, the Very Stable Genius himself has been persuaded to postpone formally announcing that he is running for Destroyer-in-Chief again until the day after the November elections. He will do this just as his legal delay tactics in the various civil and criminal cases are all failing at once. It looks increasingly likely that Attorney General Merrick Garland will indict him in the “alleged” classified document theft, and perhaps for the January 6 putsch. Trump may also face indictment in his “alleged” corrupt scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia, and who knows what else, while his entire criminal business empire is in imminent danger of collapse in New York, and even his social media venture is teetering on the edge of collapse due to his mismanagement. What will he do with his back against the wall, and nothing left to lose? Try to stir up hatred and violence, of course. Just this morning, the world-historic scoundrel is resorting to the last refuge of his sort by trying to incite antisemitism. We live in a land where a 15-year-old boy who is mad about something or other can gun down five random strangers; what will millions of gun-loving fascists do when their Leader is taken down?

The grinding failure of Putin’s war of conquest on Ukraine is also reaching a critical point, now that frantic press gangs are grabbing random warm male bodies off the streets in Russia, to be thrown untrained, unarmed, and without even uniforms or food onto the front lines, where they can do nothing but surrender if they’re smart and lucky and die if not. Can the collapse happen rapidly enough that Putin is overthrown at gunpoint before he ever gets the chance to ask himself if he was indeed bluffing about taking all of us down with him in a hail of nuclear fire?

I will not pretend like all the certified pundits to have any idea what the answer to any of these questions is, because that would require me to issue predictions, which as the immortal Yogi Berra pointed out, is hard, especially about the future. So what do I advise? Remember what’s really important, hold your loved ones close, do a reasonable bit of emergency preparation (stock up on canned food, water, batteries, etc., but please don’t dig up your backyard for a fallout shelter). And cultivate a sense of gallows humor. Hey, it works for me.

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