The “What if…?” questions of the past suggest creative answers; but today’s “What ifs?” create divisive politics
By Henry H. Bucher, Jr., Faculty in Humanities, Austin College
Dec 11, 2018
Print this page
Email this article

Remember those questions that suggested responding with a creative novel in suppositional fiction? What if the forces of Islam (then in control of what is now Spain and Portugal) had defeated the Frankish forces of Charles Martel in 732 (ACE)? What if Napoleon had defeated the British and Prussians in the battle of Waterloo in 1815? What if the thirteen colonies had not revolted and what is now the USA would be part of the British Commonwealth? What if G.H.W. Bush had not been rescued at sea after being shot down in World War Two? Hypothetical guestions like this have inspired creative thinking—some leading to novels.

Today’s “What if?” questions have kept our nation divided even if they may be easier to answer: “What if Barack Obama claimed that Donald Trump was not a citizen of the USA? What if Mr. Rouhani in Iran had directed the murder and dismemberment of an Iranian journalist with US residency in the Iranian consulate in Turkey? This kind of query has endless possibilities, but creates more anger, especially if the answer appears obvious.

What if I were a new member of the House of Representatives in January? If I were in the Democrat majority, would I campaign to impeach President Trump? Absolutely not. I would work with the real Republicans “across the aisle” by trying to convince them that the Party of Trump is destroying true republicanism which our nation needs. Should they initiate impeachment proceedings, I would support them!