Interregnum: a period when normal government is suspended, especially between successive reigns or regimes.
I wake every morning thinking, “Is it over yet?”
But no. The period of illegitimate rule—the reign of King Donald—has not even begun. How depressing: to think that every morning for the next four years we’ll all awake to find that we live in that parallel reality of “The Donald Years” or perhaps “Celebrity Apprentice”.
Same world, different universe, as someone said.
There’s no communication between parallel universes, is there?
But—and maybe this is the truly awful thing—we should be getting used to our state of incommunicado. We’ve been in it for the past eight years of President Obama’s reign. We shouted. He stuck his fingers in his ears.
And with Charles Shumer leading the Democrats in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi continuing her reign over the Dems in the House, there’s little chance a quick phone call to either Dem will get through the leadership switchboard. Even less chance that a note discreetly slipped into the hand of a staffer will survive a similar journey.
Didn’t the two parties hear the voters screaming, “You’re not listening to us!”
There’s a sinkhole of creeping dimensions right beneath our feet. Sooner rather than later, maybe, it will devour all of us. Right and Left will cease to have reference points in this morass: even less, meaning. Dishearteningly, we’ll go down, not without a fight but, fighting each other.
I hear my great-grandchildren asking, Is this the world you promised us?
“Is this tomorrow, or just the end of time?” Well you might ask, Jimi.
A significant minority of people think Trump and His Trumpettes have sounded the knell for the Beginning of the End, the Apocalypse, the Second Coming. Possible.
In that earlier Interregnum, between the two world wars, W.B. Yeats wrote:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Those final lines about “the best” and “the worst” accurately describe our political leadership, which had lost whatever legitimacy it once had . . . long before the 2016 elections.
But the young—we are constantly reminded of this—the young are strong. They are different from us. So we hope and pray. They will need to be.
For an interregnum cannot hold. It must give rise to . . . something else.
In W.B.Yeats’ time, that “something else” was World War II, that “rough beast . . . / Slouch[ing] towards Bethlehem to be born”.
Is that the present we give our grandchildren and great-grandchildren: war?
. . . . . .
Oh, to be a Tralfamadorian! One of those scary-cute aliens created by Kurt Vonnegut in his novel Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death. You see, Tralfamadorians exist in all times simultaneously. To them, death is a transitory state, a passing phenomenon. Grit your teeth, squeeze your eyes shut: something better will come along.
Perhaps that is what Vonnegut said to himself when, as a German POW, he survived the firebombing of Dresden, a city once known for its fine china. “So it goes” became a metaphor and a literary device for the writer, used to extract his narrator from one scene, one reality, and safely deposit him in another—as a Tralfamadorian might transition between past and future.
In his novel’s first chapter, Vonnegut’s narrator apologizes for his “jumble” of a novel, explaining that “there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre”.
So it is with Donald Trump and His Trumpettes: “there is nothing intelligent to say about” the mess that is Donald and Crew.
“This, too, shall pass.”
Just not soon enough. And only if we’re really lucky.