It might seem peevish and callow to bitch about minutiae right now, because, you know, we’re all in this together. (What a foolish goddamned slogan that is; one percenters must have giggle fits when they hear it. Terrified grocery clerks who have to keep working for their lousy salaries because they won’t get any of that lovely federal assistance if they quit are absolutely not in this together with public servants, or professionals working from home, or wealthy Canadians who can retreat to some lake in the Muskokas, taking a few servants and a truckload of luxury supplies – yes, groceries – with them).
Anyway, I’ve tuned out of Justin Trudeau’s daily briefings. I just can’t stand any more of that pious breathiness.
“Stay home (pause, breathe, blink sincerely) and wash your hands.” Right. Understood that the first few hundred times, teacher. Tell you what: how about you just stick to the news at this point, if you have any? I’d rather listen to Doug Ford.
Okay, I can’t believe I just said that, but when Ford called bullshit on the City of Ottawa’s request that people stop “window visits” with elderly, institutionalized loved ones, I thrilled happily for a moment.
Thing is, though, as boring and preachy as our prime minister is, he’s harmless.
And as fucking irritating as the window-visit rule may be, or the jumped-up security guards handing thousand-dollar fines to people trying to entertain their kids in empty parking lots, or the fact that booze and dope stores are open, but not hardware stores or city parks or most banks, or the incomprehensible police roadblocks guarding one half of the national capital from the other, it’s all still just irritating. Really irritating, some of it, but still just an irritation.
In the shit-splattered gladiator arena to our south, on the other hand ….
Okay. I know, we are sealed off from America by border restrictions, and we have different laws and less religious fanaticism and more racial comity, but we’re awfully similar in many ways, too, and close, and I cannot rip my eyes away from the sight of armed yahoos crashing into the Michigan state legislature, baying for the governor’s female Democrat hide, leering down at legislators from the public gallery, dressed like arseholes in tractor caps and quasi-military gear, hefting their assault weapons and demanding their God-given freedom to infect. (Remember, America has nine times the population of Canada, but twenty times the number of coronavirus deaths).
And consider this: those characters in Lansing weren’t locked up for threatening democracy. In Donald Trump’s America, that sort of behavior IS democracy, as long as you’re white, of course. “LIBERATE” yourselves, the American president tweeted at Michiganders, and the freakshow grabbed their guns and headed for the State House.
Dumb, armed and gullible; after Trump speculated about self-injecting with disinfectant as a cure for the novel coronavirus, emergency poison hotlines in multiple states received calls asking how to go about it.
Anyway, here’s a prediction: American democracy itself is infected, to use jargon we’re getting dreadfully accustomed to, and it’s mutating.
Trump, according to reports, has just been shown GOP polling data forecasting a loss to Joe Biden. At this point, that should surprise no one. The freakshow comprises perhaps a quarter of the electorate, and cannot carry Trump to victory again without help from voters in the mushy political middle, who have by this point almost certainly realized they sent a malignant twat to the White House in 2016.
But does anyone seriously think Trump will honor the American tradition of peaceful handover?
That he will accept a loss?
Imagine this, as election day approaches in November (it’s not hard, because he’s said it before):
“Folks, it’s rigged. They’re trying to take your country away from you. They’ve been waiting since our great victory four years ago, and they’re not going to let you win again.
“It’s the deep state, folks. It’s the media. It’s the swamp. They are very evil people, and they want to take control away from you. Something is going on. I know. I get a lot of reports, I hear a lot of things. They want to cancel your votes, and they want to take away your guns, and maybe your right to worship.”
Now imagine this, the day after he loses (again, not hard):
“It was crooked, folks. It was crooked. There was a lot of fraud, a lot of bad things. It wasn’t fair. It was a crime against the people. I am the president today, and I am sworn to protect our constitution, and I cannot let this happen, folks. So I will be staying in office, fully in command, with total authority, until we figure out WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED. Come out into the streets, if you want to take back your country. God Bless you. Do what you have to do.”
And then we shall see what America has become.
None of this is a stretch. Oh, and let’s not forget: Most of us live within an hour of the American border. It’s not a vacuum.