I've never been absolutely certain, as a writer, if I'm doing something useful or wasting mine and everybody else's time. Two big questions of our age, Donald Trump and Billy Brexit, have brought it into diamantine focus. I suppose I could boil it down, personally, to comedy or assassination.
The best thing Bertolt Brecht could come up with about one piece of appalling behaviour by the government of East Germany he was pledged to support, was to remark dryly that it might be a good idea if they dissolved the people and elected another one. He recognised that assassination is not easy, whereas elections, rigged or otherwise are maybe not so hard.
|We've seen the future. It's orange|
Like most people reading this blog, I imagine, it was beyond my wildest nightmares that Trump would win. I’d half guessed the Brexit vote might happen, because the level of ‘debate’ was horrifying, and the level of downright dishonesty was worse. But Trump? Oh no, no no, no no.
There's a piece in last Saturday's Guardian (February 11, the day after Bert Brecht’s birthday as it happens) that argues that we haven't yet realised just how bad it's going to be. Here's a little extract. Thank you, Joseph O’Neill.
”To make matters worse, Trump rejects any kind of institutional control. He has shrunk the executive branch of government into a private dictatorial clique. He has excluded from his decision-making process the cabinet secretaries, civil servants and members of Congress who would ordinarily be consulted. The intelligence agencies have been marginalised, and the White House record-keeping rules ignored. Trump has ridiculed journalists, judges, protesters, senators, ethicists, spies, diplomats, chief executives, Oscar winners and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He daily undermines the very idea of objective truth. If the Richter magnitude scale were applicable to the terajoules of dictatorial seismicity, Trump would register as a six.”
Less succinctly, though, I had my own intimations of disaster. On the morning of the result I sketched out a short story, just because it's the sort of thing one does over breakfast. It was about how to get rid of the lunatic before it was too late. It happens at his inauguration, before anyone had worked out a coherent plot to kill him. Here’s the note:
Kill the Donald.
The only people who could get close enough to do it would be top government officials. Everyone else would be body searched to infinity.
So someone shoots him at the inauguration. One of the Democrat (big wigs) has terminal cancer? When he is told (of his condition), he is sad – then delighted. And decides to do his bit for humanity.
|Out on Brecht's birthday. Three in one|
But does someone else get there before him? Maybe the best of the new young secret service guard? The cream of Ammurican manhood? Newly promoted, newly lionized?
He has been detailed, as it happens, to shadow the cancer man, who has already been suspected of being flakey on the patriotism front. The secret services are very good: We are not stupid. We can work it out. We are one jump ahead. Always.
But the young guard shoots Trump himself.
And the Democratic cancer man shoots the guard, before he can do any more damage. Because he is a patriot; he could never have killed Trump in reality. It was a sentimental fantasy.
But why, he asks the dying guard, did you do it? Surely secret agents are chosen for being right wing to the point of infinity?
Indeed, the young guard intimates, with his dying breath. It is because the new POTUS was too left wing. He was a pinko. He marries Yoorupean women. God bless America.
I didn't bother writing it – I had more important things to do – and it probably wouldn't have brought the Donald down. Anyway, I feel sorry for him, deep down. There doesn't seem much chance that he is a normal man, or that he can survive for long.
I just hope he doesn't take the rest of us with him when he goes.
The real problem with my story outline, I think, is that it's not funny enough. When push comes to shove comedy is far better than assassination, and more likely to succeed. The best thing in the Guardian piece, for me, was the placement of the words ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger.’ Just loved it.
Anybody want to use my story outline, btw, just don’t credit me. Who knows how good the US secret service is?