Friday, July 3
Independent journalist I.F. Stone called them “the Haunted Fifties.” True enough, the decade at the middle of the 20th century was haunted by the bruising previous eras of The Great Depression and World War II. The 1950s, of course, were a time when Americans longed for calm, for prosperity, and to get back to something like “normalcy.” By public acclamation, then, the ‘50s were desired to be a transitional time.
Stone saw little to be calm about. To him, the specter of nuclear annihilation loomed over everything. “How free are men who can be blown off the map at any moment without their permission?” he asked.
Ours is surely another transitional time. Call it, then, the Haunted 2020s.
If the presidential polls are to be believed, a considerable majority of Americans want to get back to calmer times—free of Trumpian name-calling and vacuity, released from the threat of death by pandemic or by police brutality. A CNN poll shows Biden leading trump by 55% to 41%.
If Trump called out to “Make America Great Again,” surely Biden’s appeal is merely to “Make America Calm Again.”
New York Times writer Thomas Friedman recently suggested that Biden’s bumper sticker should be: “Respect science, respect nature, respect each other.”
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—with a bit of Teddy Roosevelt-like nature worship and Jonas Salk-like respecting of science. If that’s not true conservatism, I don’t know what it is.
Unfortunately, neither science nor nature is likely to allow us to go backwards. We face a future of more coronaviruses, rising ethnic strife, and an unwillingness by police to loosen their grip on local budgets and/or brute power.
The haunting of the 2020s may lead to a haunting of the remainder of the 21st century.
I believe that Trump would lose an election—so therefore he’s unlikely to allow one to happen. He may at last recognize the existence of the pandemic…when it can benefit him. The Department of Homeland security is likely to say that, under the current infectious conditions, no election can take place. Besides, mail-in ballots or electronic voting only lead to election fraud. We had better put off any kind of balloting.
Meanwhile, Bill Barr might announce that his department has found the Democrats in general and Joe Biden in particular are engaged in a monstrous, dark conspiracy to rig the voting. Biden will be indicted. A show trial will proceed, followed by large-scale incarceration.
Who would stop it? The beleaguered and generally pissed-off police? Why would they? Trump is on their side.
Dinner: eggplant with tomato sauce and parmesan, potato salad, and a lettuce and avocado salad.
Entertainment: Episodes from season three of Broadchurch.