It can happen here

Impressionist, que no? I shot it through the window. Hey, it's raining out there. You want I should get a camera wet for free?

Impressionistical, que no? I shot it through the window. Hey, it’s raining out there. You want I should get a camera wet for free?

We’ve finally gotten a little rain after the second warmest October on record, and maybe one of the driest, too; more than a quarter inch of precip’ below normal.

As with most things, this is both good and bad.

The good? When things are wet, they often fail to catch fire. Also, water is nice for drinking, bathing and growing things to look at and/or eat.

The bad? Sitting as it does at the bottom of a cul-de-sac at the western edge of a mountain range, El Rancho Pendejo is already a little on the dark side, as is my outlook most days. And when the sun goes away for a spell, things in these parts can get blacker than a sleeping MacBook’s display.

So with each fresh poll the equivalent of a cherry bomb in a chicken coop I’m getting a mild case of The Fear as the 2016 election staggers to a close.

Anybody who tells you s/he knows that all will be well in the end is full of shit to the sideburns. Americans are already pretty la-di-da about exercising their franchise, our least-difficult path toward effecting change, armed insurrection being slightly more onerous (or so I’m told). And the GOP has been busily scratching that oh-hell-why-bother itch by turning what should be the simple act of casting a ballot into the sort of customer-service experience we already enjoy in the private sector.

Here’s Charles P. Pierce on the voter-suppression battles being waged from coast to coast.

Here’s Ari Berman of The Nation on the reduction in polling places following the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s The Guardian reporting on the upshot of Insane Clown Pussy’s call for his shock troops to monitor what he’s said will be a “rigged” election.

Can't it? We'll see.

Can’t it? We’ll see.

And so on. Look around, you’ll find more examples.

The Republic has weathered a lot of storms, and this may be nothing more than an especially nasty stretch of rough weather before the sun pops out again.

But I keep thinking back to the old Red Lewis novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” which I read ages ago, and which the Berkeley Repertory Theatre turned into a play, which wraps tomorrow.

If you haven’t read the book, do so. The language is a little dated, and it can seem wildly over the top at times. But so can this election, and yet there it is, happening right before your eyes.

“It Can’t Happen Here” certainly opened the eyes belonging to writer-director Tony Taccone, who called the parallels between the fictional struggle and Election 2016 “shocking; they’re honestly shocking.”

“What it says, what it really puts out there is, if you become complacent or lazy or you think that the issues that are being discussed in Washington, the politics doesn’t have an effect on your lives, you’re wrong. You’re wrong. The decisions that are being made — by the Congress, by the Supreme Court, by the local legislature, by your city council — affect your life,” Taccone said.

“And it is in your interest to understand as best you can what those issues are, to try to find a voice and agency inside of those issues, to find a community and help them to build a dialogue,” he added. “And my God, if that isn’t the lesson of the last nine months, what is?”

So you think it can’t happen here? Read the book, take a good look around, and get back to me.

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11 Responses to “It can happen here”

  1. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Two things come to mind – 1) When GW Bush got in I said, “Oh well, he’ll be a one-term wonder like Daddy, how much can he screw up in 4 years?” 2) BREXIT. I thought the Brits would not all lose their minds at the same time. Wrong on both counts!
    So I’m hoping 3) won’t be, “Holy s__t! Did the greasy orange turd really win this election or is this a horrible, horrible nightmare?”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      One of my favorite Jim Harrison lines is from “Warlock.”

      “Dad used to say that one half the population was always peeing in the pool that the other half had to swim in.”

      Sounds about right.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

  3. Hurben Says:

    Aargh Patrick,

    As a son of the auld sod, you’d be pleased with the Irish wiping out the All Blacks in Chicago.

    Good on them I say.

    I’m not much of a rugby fan, but my wife is & she’s walking around with a face like thunder

    Apocalypse Now, happened in the middle of my 3 combat tours, made a huge impression, I have the Redux version.

    With regard to your upcoming election, I stand by my comment to some coworkers, “you could not make this shit up”

    I do have a spare bedroom.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “A face like thunder.” O, I know that one. Y’don’t need to be a rugby fan to recognize that puss.

      We have the “Redux” and the original. So many jaw-droppers in both.

      You need to Airbnb that spare room if things go south on Tuesday. I bet you could make a mint.

      Probably have to chase the customers off at gunpoint after their stays expire, though. “No, please, don’t make us go back!”

  4. Peter W. Polack Says:

    Patrick-I read “It Can’t Happen Here” based on your mention oh, at least a couple years ago. Thanks.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    One more day. Can we make it? Nixed the camping for a variety of reasons. Will spend the day hanging around Bisbee. Finish it off with a brick oven pizza and draft New Belgium Blue Paddle pilsner at the Screaming Banshee.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    I’m stocking up on bourbon just in case

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