I had a very strange, little-used word pop into my head the other day: interregnum.
Cambridge English defines interregnum as “a period when a country or organization does not have a leader.” That certainly seems to apply at this moment.
Merriam-Webster’s definition: “the time during which a throne is vacant between two successive reigns or regimes.” Interesting, because, although we don’t have a monarchy, we have labored for four years under the regime of a would-be President-for-Life, a.k.a., dictator.
Just for good measure, here’s one from Lexico: “a period when normal government is suspended, especially between successive reigns or regimes.”
And that also seems apropos, as we spiral through this grey, terrifying lame duck period in which seemingly anything can happen.
What If the Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train?
I sense that many of our allies feel like now is an appropriate time to say, “Hey, congrats. Y’all dodged a bullet.” (Well, okay, none of them would use y’all. But you get the idea.)
My thinking is, Did we, though?
I’m not so sure.
While the boy king holds more superspreader “rallies,” i.e., propaganda events, like the one he held this past weekend, he seems largely disengaged from every other aspect of doing the actual job of being President.
This might not be cause for alarm. Sadly, in the age of the orange monster, it’s tempting to say, “Hey, he’s not doing anything. At least he’s not doing any more damage!”
Again, I’m not so sure.
More Uncharted Territory
As we have been so many times through these horrendous four years of rule-by-sociopath, we are in uncharted territory. And as I’ve said many times recently to those around me, I won’t be relaxed until somewhere around January 21st.
Will this historically self-centered leader be able to absorb the enormous hit to his fragile ego involved in accepting that he actually lost the election? The sheer volume of unprecedented bullshit from the last thirty days—refusal to concede, attempts to decertify, outlandish claims of fraud—certainly provide cold comfort to sane people.
And in the end, what is the best-case scenario? A nation torn asunder by a blizzard of lies? A former President living in exile in the Ukraine? Or even in prison? These are not great outcomes.
I can think of plenty of worse-case scenarios, though, from martial law and a suspension of habeas corpus to nuclear war. So I guess we’ll just have to wait another interminable six weeks to see whether one of the “better-but-not-great” scenarios comes to fruition. Whatever the case, we still don’t know what we’re lurching toward as we live through these dark days in America’s history.