That’s where we all live now, in one alternate universe or the other. It’s not a new phenomenon. Mankind has lived in alternate universes many times, perhaps always, throughout history.
So, in the current political alternate universes in which we find ourselves, America is fractured along two fault lines. According to those in one universe, (represented among some of the commenters to these essays), the insurrection (or maybe not) that took place on January 6th was “…a false- flag event to make Trump and his followers look bad.” That’s a direct quote.
In that universe, those mobs that stormed the Capitol, causing six deaths, extensive property damage, scores of injuries to Capitol police and staff, some waving Trump flags, and Confederate flags and, in at least one case caught on television, wearing a Camp Auschwitz jersey, were really left-wing, anti-Trump hordes who were engaging in the greatest hoax in the history of hoaxes—even greater than the apparent, incredible and colossal hoax of the recent presidential election perpetrated, according to those in that universe, by the Democrats. This is the universe in which President Trump gave (according to President Trump, himself) a “perfectly appropriate speech” at a rally just prior to the supposed false-flag attack on the Capitol.
In the alternate universe, Joe Biden became President of the United States of America in a fair and free election. His party took control of the United States Senate, and voters in Georgia sent a Black pastor and young Jewish candidate to Washington, and Georgia flipped blue for the first time in decades. President Trump cannot accept these realities. Indeed, emotionally, he can’t stand these realities, nor can millions of his followers.
In one universe, Antifa staged the assault on the Capitol, or at least was liberally represented among the protestors and certainly the ones causing most of the trouble. In the other universe, Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy stood before the House of Representatives, and said, “…some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that, and conservatives should be the first to say so.”
The following Monday, McCarthy still in one universe told President Trump, in an angry telephone call that…“the mob consisted not of Antifa, but of “MAGA supporters”. “I know,” he said. “I was there.” From the other universe, Rudy Giuliani retorted, “He (McCarthy) doesn’t know what he is talking about. He’s part of the swamp …”
And speaking of Giuliani, he, in his universe, insists that his reference to trial by combat in his inflammatory remarks at the Trump rally, was not intended to encourage disorder, let alone combat. He was, he says, simply referring to the use of the phrase from the book and tv series, “Game of Thrones.” Ironically, if not comically, the expression in “Game of Thrones” is used precisely to demand bloody combat to resolve disputes.
And, no, tensions between alternate universes in the course of human events are not new. Centuries of religious wars have been fought with leaders and followers from alternate universes massacring one another with complete abandon. That was common in Europe for centuries until 1648 and the treaty of Westphalia, after which the primacy of nation-states was recognized. Thereafter, nations began massacring one another with complete abandon.
Throughout so much painful history, those embracing one religion’s teachings would find no redeeming value in the reasoning, teaching, or existence of those from an alternate religious universe. The one thread that courses through the centuries of conflict between universes is that it is just about impossible for people from one universe to reason with those from the other universe.
I have often found it impossible to convince people in the universe where I exist that Trump has pursued some worthwhile policies. Yes, I have made those arguments, and I have, on various occasions, made such a case in these columns. Many who find Trump reprehensible will resist acknowledging that anything Trump did, has done, or ever advocated could have any redeeming value. Our alternate universes are locked in political combat in which each opposing universe is energized by its own politically crafted memes.
In one long-eclipsed universe Abraham Lincoln spoke of binding the nation’s wounds. Today, opposing politicians prefer to pick at rather than bind the lesions that torment us.
But here’s the thing. The founding of America was, in fact, the creation of an incredible alternate universe; a universe the world had not previously known; a universe with no precedent; a universe in which people would actually choose their own leaders; a universe in which everyone was free to say or write whatever they chose as long as they took responsibility and were accountable for what they said or wrote; a universe in which anyone could aspire to leadership—anyone! It was a universe in which the simple freedom to choose produced, from nothing, a mighty world power within a century. As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1835, it was like nothing he had ever seen before.
Jaques, in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” teaches us, All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances. And so, The President Biden Show, with new players, begins in four days.
The President Trump Show is, essentially, over. It is time for the cast to exit the stage, say goodbye to the crew, and turn out the lights as they leave.