In the late 1960s during the Vietnam War era, there was one of many protest songs that became embedded in my brain, never to depart. It was called War, by Edwin Starr.
“War, war, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.”
That’s how the current Trump war against the 2020 election feels. When politics fails to accomplish an objective, small men who have no room in the kit for compromise turn to the bullets fired in legal and media wars.
The top dog on Pennsylvania Avenue is declining in political power. That happens when your opponent is outscoring you in the electoral college.
And so, Donald Trump is fighting a legal and public relations war. When he’s not suing a state, demanding that it stop counting votes, he’s demanding that news networks put their projections on pause until other states continue to count their votes. And when there are no votes left to count, the declining demagogue demands recounts.
Some observers who are too exhausted to shoot straight call this a strategy. Of course, it is anything but. It’s simply the uncomfortably ugly evidence of a presidency that is death rattling before our tired eyes.
Desperate men do desperate things. And the most desperate act of all is going to war against reality.
“War, war, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” Edwin Starr knew something back in 1969.
Since this commentary is meant mostly for Canadian eyes, it’s entirely proper for me to ask the question: how close would this election have been in Canada had the person at the centre of the daily hailstorm been of the same low character?
If a prime minister in this country had been found to deliberately keep hundreds and hundreds of kids in cages, how close would the election have been?
If a prime minister was presiding over a pandemic, mocking doctors who implore people to wear masks and adhere to physical distancing, how close would this election have been?
If a prime minister was trying to bribe a foreign power by suspending military aid until that power turned its guns on the prime minister’s political opponent, how close would a Canadian election have been?
When Edwin Starr was belting out the words, “War, war, what is it good for?” I was in high school being given English assignments, like doing a paper comparing Americans to Canadians. The teenage version of me wrote that Americans are just like us.
If I said that today, my listeners would say, “That is so high school.”
In 2020, knowing that the declining demagogue received close to 70 million votes, it’s time for Canadians to graduate from high school. Our neighbours are just like us — physiologically. But their political ethics are very different. Their standards are different. What many of them will tolerate and even encourage is different.
In 2020, this is something we are going to force ourselves to accept. I am looking forward to reopening the borders when they become safe from COVID-19. I want to sell Americans lots of what we grow, mine, manufacture and service. I want them to continue to employ our best writers and artists to create some of the world’s best entertainment.
But this Canadian is asking us to no longer pretend that there isn’t a thick wall between U.S. and Canadian culture when it comes to our politics.
A war on reality, as we have observed in the last four years, is good for absolutely nothing.
Charles Adler hosts Charles Adler Tonight on Global News Radio stations.