Insanity doesn’t have to be a private matter. Sometimes entire countries go crazy.
Twice I thought I was in a country that was going crazy. Both were false alarms. At a student conference in Rio de Janeiro everybody started singing and dancing in the streets. Turns out it was the Carnaval do Brasil (Brazil’s Mardi Gras). And one late afternoon in Moscow there seemed to be disorder in Moscow’s Red Square. As I scurried to find out what the ruckus was all about, a gang of Russian soldiers was rather rudely clearing people out of the way. When a Soviet soldier yelled “Obratno, Tovarish!” (“Get back there, Comrade!”) it felt like a coup was in progress. Turns out it was just a rough ritual, something like the “Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace” around the Lenin-Stalin mausoleum, alongside the Kremlin.
The only real time I was in a country that went crazy was in January 1959, when Fidel Castro entered Havana. The public jubilation made the liberation of Paris look like one or two loudmouths at a company picnic.
The best example of what I’m driving at was in Yugoslavia. After World War II, Italy and Yugoslavia both laid claim to Trieste, at the top of the Adriatic Sea. It almost led to World War III, as these two nations squared off in total ethnic, religious, political and historical hatred. My friend Srechko told me he was in a movie theater in Zagreb when suddenly the screen went dark and the lights went on. The latest news was innocuous, something like the Italians having proposed a resumption of the talks on Monday. That somehow got transmogrified in the mind of the man who jumped up on the stage with a microphone and yelled, “The Zhabi are marching into Trieste!” “Zhabi” is a terrible ethnic slur for “Italians.” He was yelling, “The Italians are marching into Trieste!”
Srechko said all those enraged Croatians ran out of the movie house and looked for anything Italian they could bash or burn – cars, pizzerias, shop windows with Italian clothes and travel posters etc. I asked, “Was the violence as bad in Belgrade, Yugoslavia’s capital?” “Oh, it was much worse there,” said Srechko. “Those Serbs are very emotional!”
When the Soviet Red Army was surging westward through Poland Hitler denied his military priority in transportation facilities. That went to the Jews. Priority went to moving the Jews in concentration camps farther west so they couldn’t be liberated by the advancing Russians. That’s courtroom proof that Hitler hated Jews more than he loved Germans.
And what’s going on in America today likewise proves some Americans hate Trump more than they love America. Be a psychiatrist for a minute. What’s your diagnosis of a country where the ex-president brazenly sets up shop in a Washington “castle” and starts with $60 million and a nationwide organization with the motive and mission to destabilize the sitting president’s administration? That 60 million pretends to be a book advance. It smells more like a down payment for the destruction of a duly elected president. That’s dangerous, and if you think that’s sane, you’re dangerous, too!
The mask is off. Trump’s enemies don’t even pretend there’s any real problem with Sessions, Russians, Senate testimony or anything. “Get Trump!” is their sole genuine destination.
In politics it’s not what is, it’s what your enemies can make out of what is. Herb London of the energetic and dynamic London Center laments the decline of American politics into bloodsport. Churchill would have said something like, “Never before has so much been made of so little with zero proof of anything.” The Democrats, bereft of any discernible message, simply scoop up whatever they can find at the bottom of the cage and throw it at Trump.
The Democrats are understandably deranged by their liquification by Donald Trump and the Republicans. They’ve now tried recounts, asking the Electoral College to vote for Hillary no matter how their state voted, insisting the popular vote replace the electoral vote retroactively, and shouting, “The Russians did it!” Their battle cries aim to urge Americans to dis-recognize Donald Trump as the legitimately elected president. The only thing they haven’t tried is accepting their defeat and working together with Trump and the Republicans to rescue and regenerate America.
Democrats who feel not just sane, but girt with righteousness in their destruction derby should read and memorize the story of Suzie Brightface of the Six O’Clock News, who dashed out to the airport to cover the crash landing of a plane whose starboard engine had exploded but all aboard had “landed alive and well in the protective foam.” Suzie approached a dazed passenger still sitting in the foam, stuck her microphone to his lips and asked, “Sir, were you afraid when the engine exploded?” “No, I wasn’t,” replied he. Suzie, certain he’d misunderstood the question, told her cameraman to do take-two. “Sir,” asked Suzie, “Were you afraid when the engine of your plane exploded?” “No, I was not,” insisted he. After one more go-round like that, Suzie changed her question to, “Why weren’t you afraid when the engine exploded?”
“Because,” answered the gentleman, “I was on the other side of the plane!”
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