What with the Republican approved method of mailing bombs to Democrats (and, interestingly, not vice-versa) I have to wonder if democracy is gone for good. I recently watched Casablanca again with my wife. What struck me about it this time around was how, although many of the characters clearly hated one another, they were civil—downright polite—unless safely locked out of sight by the Nazis. It also struck me that in the 1940s Nazis were bad whereas now they are the legitimate nickname of the GOP. It used to be calm, collected enemies playing by the rules even with their hatred intact. Now politics has become gaming the system itself so that the other side can’t win to the point that Major Strasser looks like Colonel Klink.
I suppose what’s most distressing about all of this is that moderate Republicans have so quickly acquiesced to Trump’s agenda of hatred. Not one speaks out against him, fearing his money. Somehow they manage to sleep at night. I’m guess that if they watch Casablanca they don’t see what some of us do. There comes a point, when a game gets too serious, that most of us know to back off and do something else for a while. When we were kids we knew it instinctively. What began as playful rivalry started to feel like hatred. The twelve year old knows that at this point it’s time to back away, otherwise it will come to blows and we will feel regret. There is no regret in the Grand Old Party. They only regret that Tricky Dicky didn’t get away with it. Welcome to the most unfair democracy in the world.
Ah, but I digress from Rick’s. It we come downstairs we will hear Victor Laszlo leading the band in “La Marseillaise,”a national anthem far more robust than bombs bursting in the air. These, after all, are patriots, not panderers after personal power. Even Major Strasser doesn’t start lobbing pipe-bombs in Rick’s Café Américain, and he orders Captain Renault to find a legal reason to shut the place down. This is the rule of law, no matter how crooked. In the end, however, Victor Laszlo and Ilsa Lund are on a plane to Lisbon, and Rick and Louis are planning their flight from the city to take on more noble pursuits. The swamp in the desert has been left by those of any integrity, save the underground. Casablanca, after all, translates to “white house.”