Shakespeare created many memorable phrases like, “to thine own self be true,” or “it follows as the night the day”– so many that I am hard-pressed to avoid the Bard from time to time. Yet there is one expression I couldn’t do without, particularly during the waning months of Donald Trump’s presidency. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
When I think of these words, like most people, Walt Kelly’s comic strip, Pogo, comes to mind. But, Kelly is not the author of this sentiment which has been refreshed many times, testifying to its versatility. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry authored the first version in 1812, during the Battle of Lake Erie. After defeating six British warships, he wrote to his superior, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” Kelly borrowed the sentence to draw attention to the havoc humans are wreaking on the planet. Today, it could refer to anti-maskers– those who risk death and the death of others under a misguided, if not insane, notion of patriotism.
I know of no antidote for the suicidal behavior of people who, like lemmings, court death against reason, logic, or science. Offered all the money in the world, I doubt Pfizer or Moderna could come up with one. What I do know is that, so far, the Supreme Court has withstood the growing insanity of Trump’s frivolous lawsuits and his incitement of followers who seek by any means to overturn lawful elections.
Unfortunately, some of these court rulings have laid the groundwork for future unrest. In a case challenging Wisconsin’s mail balloting, a majority of judges voted to shorten to a few hours the return of those votes. The decision disenfranchised thousands of citizens. In South Carolina, these same judges reinstated a witness requirement for absentee ballots even though voting had already begun.
Rulings like these go against the Purcell principle which maintains federal courts should not make changes to voting rules close an election. Unfortunately, since the principle is judge-made, judges can change it. And, they have. The question that now arises is what rule, if any, will prevail in the future?
Given the erosion of democracy in all branches of government, a renegade President, a Congress unable to pass significant legislation and an increasingly inscrutable Supreme Court, this seems an inappropriate time to point out that a former Israeli space security chief insists space aliens live among us. If true, it could explain why so many of us feel like strangers in a strange land. Frankly, I’d be comforted by the information, if true At least I could say, “We have met the enemy and it is them!”