National Commentary

A Happy Ruthlessness

The proto-tyrant is dispatched, a qualified body of elders selects a mindful leader, peace is virtually assured and deployments are undertaken to explore the unknown and restore progressive advancement elsewhere. Ah, America and the world are made safe again!

Whoops, that was the final episode of the eight-year-long Games of Thrones saga that aired Sunday night, and alas, not the state of our unhappily very real nation at this juncture.

From what I can gather, controversies surrounding the final “GOT” episode revolve around whether it was sufficiently violent and dystopian in its result, as the penultimate episode the week before it surely was.

This final one had love, pain, remorse, appeals to mercy (that the proto-tyrant brushed off), redemption and, in the final analysis, hope. Those who would have preferred a descent into a Mad Max world notwithstanding, on postmodernist grounds that such an outcome would be somehow more “realistic,” I’ll take the “happy ending” (as one friend put it).

That’s how I prefer to look at prospects for the Game of the Real World 2019, too, in which we are, for better or worse, far from our final episode. Ironically, it was the very real Abraham Lincoln who invoked one of my favorite sayings, “You are just about as happy as you make up your mind to be.”

Now, that came from a man who had to be incredibly ruthless to hold the union together through the Civil War. It wasn’t until he found Gen. Ulysses Grant that he could exercise the force required to end that horrific conflict, and he got good results from Gen. William Sherman, too, who tore up the Southern infrastructure with his “Sherman’s neckties” (twisting rails into pretzels so they couldn’t be put back in place) in his march from Vicksburg to Savannah and up the Carolinas. Only then, hope for an end to the conflict, and to slavery, appeared.

The great hope at the end of that terrible pro-slavery insurgency, undertaken against the core humanist values of the young American republic, was susequently extended when four pieces of essential Lincolnian peacetime infrastructure development came into force. They were the nation-transforming greenback currency, land grant college, homestead and railroad acts that propelled the U.S. forward to recover from the Civil War and rapidly become the most powerful nation on the planet.

Today we must carry on the spirit of Lincoln’s most successful “happy warriors,” upbeat and optimistic, but forceful and ruthless in taking down the current threat to our democracy. This Trump is perhaps the last gasp of a counterrevolution that was never fully quashed in the aftermath of the American revolution when the British continued their recolonialization efforts with military invasions, economic warfare, psychological warfare (sewing divisions and hatred just like the Russians are doing today), exploiting racism, sexism and fascism.

Trump is a common criminal and his sponsors are willing to rip the nation’s core hopes and dreams to shreds to get their way, same as they always have. Our greatest concern in these times, as Lincoln faced, is a lack of resolve to right the wrongs being perpetrated with the kind of happy ruthlessness called for.

“A Roadmap Into a Thicket of Amorality,” was the headline of the review of the Mueller Report (“The Mueller Report: Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III) by the New York Times’ Dwight Garner. The subhead was “Detailing a Web of Lies That Will Entangle the Nation for Years.”

That says it all, good enough for anyone holding that no citizen is above the law in this land, such as the 800-plus prosecutors who put their names to a petition asserting that were Trump not president, he clearly should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, at least.

As Americans, we need to exercise a happily ruthless diligence that holds to the rule of law and the rule of truth. “Cover up” is too mild a term to describe what Trump is doing now.

It’s good “GOT” is over, so we can, as a nation, redouble our focus on ending the real evil that menaces us today.