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The Final Insane Chapter


Steve Erickson

I’ve never met a buzz I couldn’t kill. Fave and perennial question: Is anyone still paying attention? Though, in fairness, lately it’s been hard to know what to pay attention to. Is what I write here now a few afterthoughts of this terrible year or pre-notes on one final insane chapter?

In his desperation to hold onto the only thing keeping him out of jail and shielding him from further exposure while also providing him a living and housing — the presidency of the United States — Trump calls for supporters to converge on Washington next Wednesday for nothing less than the blunt purpose of overthrowing a constitutionally held national election as it’s being certified by Congress.

In the meantime strange conflicts brew at the Pentagon born of strange divisions between the military and storm troopers placed there by the president in the last month — turning pop-culture mythology on its head, it’s the military rather than the civilians who are the good guys, if there are good guys.

And between now and then two Senate runoffs will be held in Georgia where there’s great Democratic enthusiasm about the massive surge of voters already showing up, including nearly 100,000 voters who didn’t vote two months ago. But doesn’t it make just as much sense that these 100,000 are Republicans who sat out Trump’s reelection but now are ignited by a Biden presidency to keep the Senate in Republican control?

Everyone got very excited by the record turnout in November — and let me be as clear as possible: voters voting is always a good thing in democracy, whomever they vote for — only for the result to be Biden winning by four points instead of eight, and Republicans holding the Senate and nearly taking back the House.

Two things remain incontrovertibly true: It’s clearer than ever that nothing was particularly settled as to who and what this country is, notwithstanding Trump’s defeat, the main order of business to be sure.

And it’s African-Americans and black women in particular in whom lies the fate of the American Idea. In other words, those most betrayed by America for 400 years will rescue and redeem, if anyone does, that Idea that’s always been so much bigger than the country itself.

The American civil war goes on. Don’t yet lay down your arms.

Steve Erickson is the author of ten novels and a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Riverside. He also writes about media and the arts for Los Angeles magazine.

The Proud Boys are coming to Washington. Incognito. Read The Washingtonian.

This Ain’t America ::: Melvin Van Peebles

Georgia Black Bottom Blues ::: The Georgia Crackers

There Is A War ::: Leonard Cohen

New Year’s Eve In A Haunted House ::: Raymond Scott

Happy New Year To You ::: Sun Ra

New Year’s Resolutions ::: Otis Redding & Carla Thomas

Hello Mr New Year ::: The Coolbreezers

John Lee Hooker For President ::: Ry Cooder