Civil division is causing Civil War
To the Editor:
In 1942, Lucille Ball was making a movie. During the early days of American involvement in WWII, residents along the Pacific coast of California lived in dread fear of an imminent attack by the Japanese. Lucy recently had temporary lead fillings installed in her teeth, and driving home from MGM, this is what she reported:
“One night I came into the Valley and I heard music. I reached down to turn the radio off, and it wasn’t on. The music kept getting louder and louder, and then I realized it was coming from my mouth. I even recognized the tune. My mouth was humming and thumping with the drumbeat, and I thought I was losing my mind. I thought, ‘What the hell is this?’ Then it started to subside. I got home and went to bed, not sure if I should tell anybody what had happened because they would think I was crazy.”
When she recounted the story to Buster Keaton the next day, he laughingly told her that she was picking up radio broadcasts through her fillings. A week later, Lucy took a different route home from MGM:
“All of a sudden, my mouth started jumping. It wasn’t music this time, dah di dah dit. It was Morse Code. As soon as it started fading, I stopped the car and backed up until it was coming in full strength. I tell you, I got the hell out of there real quick. The next day, I told the MGM Security Office about it, they called the FBI, and sure enough, they found an underground Japanese bunker.”
Lucy, who had been a Communist, Democrat and Republican, caught some spies. Seventy-six years later, we have another kind of war: civil. This one’s not about Japan or slaves. This is about half the victims of an enemy sneak attack being unwilling to believe it. Denying all the evidence of their senses and 17 intelligence agencies, their foreign-owned media outlets blare absolute propaganda, words are starting to seethe with violent subtext, and the world watches and power shifts like thermohaline circulation.
Somehow a genial amount of corruption has been figured into the Trump Presidency. The Trump-Fox News feedback loop is now complete.
In times of strife, Democrats and Republicans always worked together. Now, we see each other in the wild and circle. Lifelong friends, extended families, social groupings — all bonds breaking over this single sticking point. The Justice Department will have to be rename itself the Donald Trump and Co. Private Security Task Force. If Republicans prevail (and they cannot), it is the end of the United States.
Democracy as practiced by Devin Nunes, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump is no democracy at all, but brute, primal, strong-man, three-million-year-old tribalism that will collapse as it always does. This is Civil Division. So far, cold. But Civil War, nonetheless.