"Confused? You won't be after this week's episode of Soap." Those were the reassuring words of the narrator introducing another chapter in the saga of two sisters and their zany families. This was a parody of soap operas, and took every trope and device to extremes, often with hilarious results. Eventually, the parody succumbed to a series of "very special episodes," and we were left with a soap opera that was only pretending to make fun of soap operas. Because it really was a soap opera. Confused?
Not by the TV series that debuted on ABC forty years ago. That's pretty much a part of history now, along with Billy Crystal. What does confuse me now is the herky-jerky reaction/response that our government seems to be lurching along with over the past several months. It starts with some whacko proclamation issued on Twitter, followed by a wave of angry replies that seem to have the most immediate effect of growing Twitter's stock. When government employees arrive to work following such issuance, then the second stage begins. This is where senators, generals, cabinet members and the like start furiously scratching their collective heads: Transgender ban? Eliminate DACA? Fire and fury? The third stage is the one where talking heads descend upon the twenty-four hour news cycle in a vain attempt to explain what may have been going on when the tweet came tumbling down to the rest of us.
Then there is the reckoning. Everyone but the guy who spouts off his inane "thoughts" are left to discuss and decipher what those "thoughts" might mean to the rest of us. Of course the US military won't ban an entire class of people from serving in the volunteer armed forces. Of course we won't drive our trucks down to the border with a bunch of old pallets and carpet remnants to start building a wall. Even if Mexico pays for our time and trouble.
Still, each time Orange Whip gets a burr under his saddle or sees something on Fox and Friends that incites him to action, we as a nation flinch. We forget that we have a government comprised of three branches, with checks and balances, and a number of clever and well-read individuals doing their job in a way that seems more or less familiar to those of us who remember the days BT: Before Twitter. Before Trump. Yes, we're testing our constitution daily. I am happy to think that it's more than worth the paper upon which it is written. More than a share of Twitter, even.