Satire is now almost officially dead, because anything one in the satire line might make up in order to paint a little bit purple will be discovered, almost immediately, to be something that was seriously proposed within the last 48 hours by some leading and well-respected pointy-head. I have therefore decided, in an attempt to save some sort of role for satire going forward, to see if the genre can still work by means of understatement. Instead of putting too many eggs in the pudding, suppose I just put egg whites in the pudding, one tablespoon shy. Okay then.
Unlikely Developments Are Normal Now
Just when it seemed to most all of us that the country was going to fall into the clutches of Madame Hillary, and pious Christians everywhere were retreating into their prayer grottoes to try to figure out a way to be brave—the other candidate requiring a different set of prayers, along the lines of that great hymn offered up by St. Patrick, to wit, “I bind unto myself today, the power that makes the tangerine flee,” that kind of thing—where was I?—they were all, almost to a man, wondering to themselves just how the sovereignty of God might deliver us from the terrible pickle we were in. And you know, I’ll bet you that not one of us thought that God might send us . . . Carlos Danger.
O ye of little faith!
Ah, the difference a day makes! One day Trump is grumping about how the system is rigged, rigged, he can tell you that much, and howls of indignant outrage were heard all across the republic. To say such a thing strikes at the vitals of our constitutional . . . Comey did what? “Rigged! This thing is rigged!” One minute the Trumpkins were indignant about how feckless Comey was being, and the Democrats were lauding him as the epitome of civic virtue, and then, just like two football teams when the quarter ends, they all dutifully switched directions and started going the other way. Kind of like Sean Hannity’s view of Wikileaks, only with the timing measured in seconds instead of a decade or so.
This seems to me to be as good a time as any for quoting Joe Sobran.
“The more we learn about our actual rulers, the more comical it seems that they should be presumed uniquely rational . . .” (Subtracting Christianity, p. 99).
Always Remember the Caveat
Given the theme of today’s post, it also seems that I need to reiterate my actual position with regard to the electoral hash we are being asked to choke down. I want them both to lose. I want Hillary to lose more, but I want them both to lose. I can’t make the math work yet, but they both need to lose. Why am I not voting for one or the other? “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do [the lesser of two] evil[s]” (Ex. 23:2).
Heavy Handed Celestial Writing
But with that important caveat out of the way, let us do a quick review of our actual situation.
It sometimes seems to me that God structures our current events in such a way as to indicate that He has secret sympathies with John Bunyan’s predilection for naming characters the way he did—you know, Talkative, Pliable, Worldly Wiseman, and Madame Bubble. I mean, if some no-name screenwriter were pitching a fictional movie about a congressman caught up in a sexting scandal, and the name of said congressman was Weiner, that screenwriter would get his screenplay back with insulting post-it notes all over it. But God just did that to us all, functioning in this narrative sort of like a supremely tacky Bunyan. It is like the parable of the unjust judge. If God does it, then it can’t be tacky . . . but God still did it.
And then we have to get our minds around how Anthony Weiner looks. As Wodehouse once put it about some character or other, nobody could wind up looking like that without it being partly his fault.
But Seriously, Folks
I write now as a novelist, one who has gotten much of the skylarking out of his system. Okay. Three deep breaths.
This set of observations should be taken seriously, but not as an absolute predictor of what might happen, if you catch my drift. I am a novelist, but I also understand why that screenwriter got in trouble with his editors, with the episode being remembered at his house as the night of the rude post-it notes. And there is also the matter of analyzing across genres. I write satire, while God seems to go in for farce.
Nevertheless, as a writer, if I had just finished a chapter that contained the events of the last week or so, I would be faced with the task of making sense out of all of that stuff in the subsequent chapters. Comey announces last summer that Hillary had indeed done a bunch of reckless stuff, and that she had indeed lied her head off, but that the FBI did not believe that these shenanigans rose to the level such that a recommended indictment was necessary. Oh, and also, all the protocols that the FBI follows with investigations of this nature with regular peons were deep-sixed.
Then, a week and a half before the presidential election, Comey throws everything into an industrial-sized dryer, along with a couple of cinder blocks, and announces to Congress that he is reopening the investigation on Hillary. This was because, the official line goes, additional emails that might relate to the investigation had been discovered on a laptop of another individual—the abovementioned Carlos—and so they might, ahem, be relevant. So we will continue our investigation. We promise to be quiet.
Now however modest and unassuming this letter pretends to be, it is actually an earthquake. As The New York Post would have headlined, had they only thought of it, “Bombshellery Bombs Hillary.” This is huge. If Hillary loses, everybody will attribute it to this. If she wins, she will return to the White House in much the same disheartened manner that Grendel returned to his den after he got tired of Hereot.
By the way, while I am on the subject of expectations, I should go on the record as saying that I don’t have a lot of confidence in polls to begin with. Add on top of that the fact that pollsters only know how to measure what ordinary people do in an ordinary election, of which this is not one. This has been a truly bizarre year. How do the pollsters know who to call? In normal elections, they call people based on the patterns of previous elections. So which previous election sets a reasonable template for this one? All this is to say that I have been braced for a Trump victory for a while now. These latest developments have hardly made me reconsider.
But back to our novel scenario. In my judgment, the only reasonable way to account for the events of the last week is by assuming that someone has had a metaphorical .357 Magnum placed on their right temple, or has had one taken away from their left temple, and quite possibly both. Nothing else makes any sense of this.
Unexamined emails are unlikely to be the real reason. Why would they do something that causes such high levels of consternation on the basis of what they might find? That would be truly reckless. The previous emails that the FBI had contained more than enough to recommend indictment, and so why would they go through the same risible charade again when they had already brazened it out once? We had already thrown all the popcorn we were going to throw at that particular melodrama.
So perhaps there is a smoking gun email right on the top of this new pile, one that the FBI already knows about, one that “shows intent” (the imaginary threshold that Comey appealed to in round one), or one that is a huge stinking deal, like Hillary being a spy for the Klingons. Or perhaps, and I think we are getting warmer, the FBI knows the full extent of the Clinton corruptions and has known all along, and consequently Comey is trying to manage a full-scale revolt on the part of his agents.
For my money, Comey has been forced into this position by disgusted agents who threatened to resign en masse, and who threatened to go public with everything they knew, which is no doubt significant. There have already been reliable reports that the previous reports that Clinton computers had been destroyed were false, and that they were not destroyed because FBI agents assigned to the task had refused to do it. Think about this. The general public already knows the vast extent of the Clinton corruptions, rivaling the acreage of a sewage lagoon built to service Calcutta. Think about how this is largely public knowledge, and then ask yourself, “What then must the FBI know about the Clintons?” How many file cabinets do you think they have on them?
Given that, how eager do you think the department would be to work under someone like Hillary? And before we start to chide them, wagging our finger at them, saying that a law enforcement agency should not involve itself in a political campaign like this, ask yourself whether the word whistleblower is a good word or a bad word. Ask yourself if it is possible that Clinton, Inc. is a vast criminal enterprise. Sure, more than possible. Suppose further that this vast criminal enterprise, known to be such to hundreds of FBI agents, was poised to move into the White House. And suppose it looked as though the leadership of the FBI was prepared to lend its connivance. What would be their responsibility in such a scenario?
Here is the beginning of the oath that FBI agents take.
I [name] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . .
The coming week promises to be nothing if not interesting. It has my attention, at any rate.