Gentle reader, leading up to the recent elections there may well have been more talk about tides than to have been heard since the times of old King Canute (also spelt Cnut) who lived from circa 994 to 1035. As the reader no doubt knows, he was one of the invading Norse claimants to the throne of England leading up to the final victorious Norman invader, William, The Conqueror.
Canute was a complex character who started out as a bloody tyrant but he changed, as one source says: “At once he laid aside his ruthless temper to become a wise, temperate, devout and law-abiding ruler.” (Chambers Biographical Dictionary, Revised Edition, W & R. Chambers. Ltd, Edinburgh, 1984.) And here is where the tide comes in.
It seems that many of Canute’s courtiers could not believe the change in his personality and continued to treat him as though he was still a tyrant who could and would do anything that he wanted without bounds. So, he got tired of trying to convince them that he was a mere mortal and had changed his ways, so, he decided to prove it. He announced that since they said he was all powerful, he would take command of the sea and dictate its tides, and to prove that he was as powerful as they said he was, he had his seat set up on the shore, sat there beside the seaside and commanded that the sea advance no further, and that the tide not rise. Of course his command had no effect, and the tide rose around his feet. Only then did he rise and point out that his feet were wet and he, like they, had no power to control the tides.
In our case the tide was supposed to be a Red Tide of Republican Triumph at the polls. We were told that all the polls, and the number of polls seem to have been astronomical, all of which predicted a Republican sweep, or a Red Tide. The experts read the polls, but not putting all their eggs in one basket, they searched through the records, and perused the histories, and determined that recent history all indicated that in every off year election wherein the sitting president was viewed less than favourably, his party loses many seats in the Congress; House and Senate.
In short everybody who was anybody, insofar as politics are concerned, agreed that the Red Tide was coming and its waters would wash the hapless Democrats out of office. Some of these prognosticators calculated the number of Democratic losers to be as high as 60 or more.
Of course poor old Joe Biden kept saying that it wasn’t going to happen, and that he had faith in the American people to do the right thing. He even went around making speeches, even though the political experts opined that he would hurt the Democrats by doing so. Poor old Joe, maybe he’s getting senile, thinking he knows more than the GOP experts; and as a New Sentinel headline said on Monday, November 7, “Confident GOP is predicting victories”!
The Confident GOP said they were going to win! Donald Trump said they were going to win! Fox News said they were going to win! Dr. Oz said they were going to win! Kari Lake said they were going to win! So, how could they lose? Old senile Joe Biden told them how they could lose, but they ignored him. They thought that the price of a gallon of gasoline was more important to the majority of American people than the endangerment of their Constitution, or the stealing of American women’s right to control their own bodies, or the promotion to office of lairs and subverters, or overthrowers of the American system of government, or the protection of Social Security and Medicare. They thought that as that old Democrat political advisor once declared, It’s the economy, Stupid! Except when it isn’t. You’ve got to be smart enough to know when it isn’t, and in 2022 it wasn’t. Saving democracy and citizens’ rights was!
And so, unlike old Canute’s unstoppable tide, the Republican Party’s Red Tide never came ashore, and only a little bitty creek of a few congressional seats made it to the beach, and how they are going to manage their little beachhead is still questionable.
Our MAGA friends can now fully appreciate the old Chinese curse of: “May you live in interesting times.”
A few years back, the GOP had a major electoral defeat and the party elders initiated a formal effort to determine why they were defeated. This study they called an “autopsy.” It might be a good idea to do the same this year, but we suspect they won’t because too many of the party’s bigwigs might be found to share the blame for this historic fiasco.
Obviously a major culprit is none other than that self-described certifiable genius, Donald John Trump, but who’s going to “Bell the Cat” and say so? Surely not Florida’s Ron DiSanctimonius.
To digress a moment: I came upon a copy of the memoir of Donald’s niece, Mary L. Trump, at a book sale the other day, and have read a little of it. The book is titled “Too Much and Never Enough” and sub-titled “How my family created the world’s most dangerous man.” (Published by Simon and Schuster, New York, New York, 2020.)
Dr. Trump is a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, and so she can speak with authority on her uncle’s mental condition, and the sources thereof. It is a pitiful story, and a national disaster that the country’s fate has been in the hands of such a mental and emotional invalid. It is a shame that the family could not have resolved this problem within the bounds of the private psychiatric system and saved not only him but this country. The author’s credentials as a clinical psychologist seem to be indisputable.
Maybe in the future, we ought to require a certification of psychiatric soundness from candidates for high public office.
To resume: Obviously all those persons who lost must lick their wounds and then reevaluate their present positions and determine as best they can what the future might hold for them. Some will take their defeat in stride and immediately start planning for next time; others will swear off politics forever, but most will probably just stand on the sidelines and see what the future might bring.
In this group who lost there are some good people who simply got led down the primrose path by the pied piper of politics and under his spell forgot some of the lessons they learned at their mother’s knee. With time it is to be hoped that these folks can be redeemed and return to the fold of the old-line Republican, or possibly convert and join the defenders of democracy in the world’s oldest political party, or go half way into independent status. But it is to be hoped that their experience has shown them that the MAGA mania is not for right-thinking American lovers of our Constitution. This at least we can, and do, hope for.
Finally, we do not know about you, gentle reader, but the results of the 2022 midterm elections have gone a long way towards restoring an old man’s faith in his country’s people, and their inherent tendency to do the right thing, despite the temptations, or compulsions to do otherwise. There are many battles before us, but if we continue along this path, we will fight them and win, and the citizens of this nation can continue to sing of its merits as the land of the free and the home of the brave.