Reading Isabel Allende’s The Long Petal of the Sea last night, trying to fall asleep. The doctor hero says to his mother, “There will never be fratricidal conflict here. The government and people will prevent it.” But then the store shelves empty out. A patient with connections brings him rolls of toilet paper, more precious than gold, and warns him that a coup is coming. And I laid awake until dawn.
I was born a year too late to have to register for the draft. But I have lived to see the fall of America. It will be so obvious to history what is happening, when they see the videos of that demented asshole at the podium, babbling about the best tests, the most incredible recovery, the amazing job he is doing. When they read about the seizure and rerouting of medical supplies from blue states to red. When they see the pictures of the voters standing in the rain in Milwaukee, at the five polling places out of almost 200 that were allowed to open.
I read a novel about World War II once, in which a character laments, “We thought he was a comic opera figure. We called him the Little Dictator, after Chaplin. We didn’t know.” We should have known.
One day soon there will be tanks in the streets.