“They sentenced me to 20 years of boredom, of trying to change the system from within. I’m coming now, I’m coming to reward them. First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.”
So sang the late great American lyric poet Leonard Cohen in 1988.
Vladimir Putin must be among Cohen’s fans, notwithstanding that he was both a Buddhist and a Jew.
Putin took Manhattan on Nov. 8 and is already working to knock off German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.
The anti-democracy events of 2016 underscore one timeless truth: Ignore your artists at your peril.
H.L. Mencken, the greatest columnist of the 20th Century, predicted Donald Trump’s victory a century ago: “As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.” (Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920)
His most famous statement has often been paraphrased as “nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Amen.
Back during the neo-Red Scare years of the Reagan administration, a passel of films were made theorizing what would happen if the Soviet Union took over the USA. The worst was a 1987 mini-series entitled “Amerika.”
The script never informed viewers exactly how the Reds conquered this huge country populated with more firearms than people. Perhaps the latter-day KGB’s computer hacks, which the Russians have been perfecting against smaller adversaries for years, finally answered that question.
Where are red-baiting Sens. Tailgunner Joe McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, and Boss Patrick McCarran, D-Nev., when the republic really needs them? The height of irony suffuses the upper ethers of the Trump Tower: McCarthy’s toxic attorney, Roy Cohn, was a mentor of the younger president-elect.
Triple Pulitzer laureate Thomas Friedman called Russia’s intrusions “an act of war.” Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell termed them “another 9/11.”
“Did Putin seek to mar the brand of American democracy to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the CIA concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump? In fact, the Russian scheme accomplished all three goals.” (New York Times, 14 December 2016).
At least more Americans have been taking to the streets than did so during the stolen election of 2000. How docile we remain is the burning question at the Red Dawn of the Donaldian years.
To quote Ronald Reagan’s most iconic 1984 re-election commercial, “it’s morning in Amerika.”
Red morning, sailor take warning.
Happy High Holly Days anyway.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 48-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.