In These Times - September 30, 2020

"Despite all of our nuclear weapons, America’s real pow­er has always been cul­tur­al. We took over the world with Dori­tos and McDonald’s and Hol­ly­wood block­busters, every­thing engi­neered to pro­vide a quick and addic­tive burst of plea­sure with the least pos­si­ble effort. Per­haps the bark­ing, dog-faced idio­cy of our enter­tain­er pres­i­dent is the inevitable cul­mi­na­tion of that..."

Indi­vid­u­als may expe­ri­ence injus­tice, but nations get what they deserve. Amer­i­ca has gob­bled up the earth, sucked its blood, and swal­lowed all of its car­cino­gens and poi­son in the process. Our fate is not glo­ry, but brain dam­age. We may end our his­to­ry as fools, the scary mob boss­es who aged into pathet­ic infir­mi­ty, parked in a cor­ner in front of a dron­ing TV set as the rest of the world car­ries on with­out us.

The Trump years have actu­al­ly made me less cyn­i­cal. Cyn­i­cism is a knife used to prune away the flow­ery con­ceal­ments that obscure the truth. With Trump, this is unnec­es­sary. There is no skill or nuance required to deci­pher his mean­ing. This is one rea­son he leaves so many of his oppo­nents sput­ter­ing. We came for fine din­ing, and were giv­en instead 100 Snick­ers bars shoved direct­ly into our mouths as a robot manip­u­lates our jaws up and down. Trump asks noth­ing of any­one, except to sit back and watch and die. Maybe that is what Amer­i­ca want­ed all along.

Despite all of our nuclear weapons, America’s real pow­er has always been cul­tur­al. We took over the world with Dori­tos and McDonald’s and Hol­ly­wood block­busters, every­thing engi­neered to pro­vide a quick and addic­tive burst of plea­sure with the least pos­si­ble effort. Per­haps the bark­ing, dog-faced idio­cy of our enter­tain­er pres­i­dent is the inevitable cul­mi­na­tion of that. Joe Biden seems like a nice enough man when jux­ta­posed against that — and is the one and only thing on the menu besides total nihilism — but he also embod­ies the dev­as­tat­ing weak­ness that all of the nor­mal politi­cians are now faced with. Trump, a jack­al blessed with a total lack of self-reflec­tion but able to smell blood, ges­tures out at every­thing that is bro­ken and says: ​“You helped to break this!” Which is quite true. And Biden and the oth­er tra­di­tion­al types can only stam­mer back: ​“Well, I don’t want to break it any more.”

A tepid choice when com­pared with the thrill of watch­ing the world burn! Did you ever stop and con­sid­er that per­haps Amer­i­cans are ready to lay back and cack­le as it all col­laps­es? The best and final real­i­ty show in Amer­i­can his­to­ry is on the bal­lot. The only ques­tion is whether a major­i­ty of us have had enough of the rise of our empire, and are eager for the fall. ...
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