Adam, meet Eve

A civil war begins, as I understand it, when there are two competing nexus (yes, that’s the plural) of governmental authority; two countries sharing the same space, if thou wilt. Since this is physically impossible, the space is soon divided between the warring factions. This can happen in any sort of commonwealth; it doesn’t have to be not a democracy.

Let me note, in a neighbouring country, the emergence of what appear to be two massive criminal investigations, both of which could be constitutionally legitimate, though only one has been made so. One is impeachment proceedings against a certain President Trump. This is being done in an entirely partisan spirit, by the majority party in the nation’s lower house. The other party has been shut out of the proceedings, which are being held in secret. There has been no formal legislative vote for this impeachment, and no criminal charges (“high crimes and misdemeanors”) have been legally substantiated. Nonetheless, subpoenas are being attempted, or in the jargon of our times, “tried on.”

Under normal circumstances, fanciful charges are either dropped, or themselves tried and, where appropriate, punished. But this kangaroo court is supported by a large section of the public, according to highly unreliable polls; and by almost all of the national media, which have gotten into the habit of publishing wild speculations as if they were proven facts.

On the other side, there are now formal criminal investigations into the characters who are the ultimate source of those rumours (search “Durham”), which began circulating even before that Trump gentleman took office. The media will try to ignore those proceedings, but will soon discover they can’t. They will then try to demonize the investigators, and declare their efforts illegitimate, “because shut up.”

Having myself worked inside newspapers and the like, I know how to make safe predictions about them. They implicitly accept the old Marxist dictum that nothing is true, except insofar as it advances the interest of The Party.

What began as a perpetual electoral contest between two political parties, is quickly degenerating into something else. I noticed one poll in which 70 percent of respondents from both parties anticipated some kind of civil war.  I should think that, unless the next presidential election is a landslide, their prediction will be tested.

“Mommy, daddy, please don’t fight,” as some little girl once pleaded. She didn’t care who was in the right. She only wanted a return to what Warren G. Harding called “normalcy.” As I understand, normalcy involves accepting decisions, when they have been legitimately made (in an impartially-conducted election, for instance). It becomes impossible when neither side accepts the legitimacy of the other.

Humour me. Accept my right to the opinion that the Trumpistas have the weight of legitimacy overwhelmingly on their side. It does not follow that they will win the battle. It never does on this planet, once passions are engaged.

In my increasingly Catholic view of the matter, we cannot know the future (although in retrospect it will seem to have been dead obvious). We can only know some aspects of the past. In the present circumstances, the best we can hope is that this “ongoing past” will be properly recorded, but given who is recording the first draught of this history, I doubt that can be assured. Both parties now have a motive for toying with it.

But why should we want security? Insecurity seems to breed more Saints.