Jaime O'Neill: The Smirking Chimp - January 11, 2020
If you're a lefty, or a marginally sane human being, you're probably pretty weary by now, worn to a frazzle by the daily flood of crazy sewage draining from the White House, from Fox "News," from Trump on Twitter, and from the spectrum of right wing news sources that have so successfully been making insanity seem routine. We've gotten used to words like "gaslighting" to describe the fog we have been walking around in for such a very long time. Up is down, evil is good, right is wrong.
When the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Fleischer/Powell consortium of neo-cons told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein was poised to really kick our ass with that stuff, we went bug fuck nuts. The threat posed, we were told, was imminent; and the Iraqis had been part of the forces implicated in the 9/11 attacks. Most of us knew that was bullshit. Lots of us turned out on the streets of our towns and cities to protest the war that we knew was looming, and that we knew was illegal and unnecessary. Now, almost two decades later, Iraq remains a mess, and we're once again being told that an illegal act of war was necessary because we were, once again, in imminent danger, this time from Iran. The Bush/Cheney cock up was sold to the nation with a smear of lies, a ramp up of fear, and the usual appeal to faux patriotism and bluster. Shamefully, far too many Democrats voted to go to war with Iraq, fearful that they'd be tarred as weak on defense or insufficiently bellicose if they didn't. This time around is little different. Having been through much the same shit at the turn of the century, however, we can hope that the Democrats (and the general public) will hold fast even as truly horrible people like Susan Collins, Nikki Haley, Lindsey Graham, and the morons on Fox and Friends spread the idea that Democrats "love" terrorists and "mourn" the death of the Iranian general ordered by Trump to distract everyone from the impeachment proceedings.
Having been there and done that, and having Trump tell lies even less skillfully than the neo-cons of two decades ago, the hope is that we won't do something even more catastrophic now than we did then.
But man, does it ever get exhausting. Even if we were running toward totally nuts from a standing start, the drain on our spirits would be wearing us down and wearing us out by now, not even counting the fact that we began this marathon when the poor bastards who got sent to fight and die in Iraq were barely shaving, and now their kids, if they were lucky enough to live long enough to make babies, are old enough to take up the never-ending fight in the Middle East, a folly that continues to drain our treasury and ensure that the oil companies continue to prosper, and the Saudis, too.
You can feel the exhaustion in the commentariat, from TV talking heads across the spectrum, to the scribblers on editorial pages or on social media. What is left to be said that hasn't been said a thousand times? What faith can anyone have that even the wisest of words or the truest of truths will pierce through the gelatinous blob of distortion, disinformation, spin, or obfuscation that flows over us daily. More bullshit from Lindsey Graham, more inane tweets from the POTUS, more slack-jawed credulity from Brian Kilmeade or Sean Hannity, more dancing around by Susan Collins or Mitt Romney, more lockstep assent from damn near every Republican extant.
It would tire Sisyphus, crush Atlas, debilitate Hercules, and drain the strength from Superman faster than a trainload of Kryptonite.
Throughout the Trump ascendancy, we've spun our wheels. Much like parents trying to reason with a petulant two-year old, reason is getting its ass kicked on a daily basis. We watch the red-hatted mobs of yahoos assemble and cheer whatever Trump says, no matter how transparently false, nasty, or self-serving it is.
They are wearing us down. Meanwhile, we expend energies bickering among ourselves, draining away precious energies as some of us struggle to decide whether we could possibly bring ourselves to vote for anyone evenly remotely or subjectively defined as a "centrist" Democrat. Will some of us once again be forced to piss in the punchbowl or turn away from "lesser evil" by withholding support once again if we don't get their precise preference? Can we once again manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of what should or could be an easy victory? Must we help the Russians again, or the Republicans, or those who are in full pursuit of denying votes to millions of targeted people likely to vote for Democrats? That exhausting and subversive "logic" seems to be predicated on the idea if we just let things get bad enough, maybe the less discerning people on the left, along with the more common folk, will wake the fuck up and finally vote for the doctrinally pure and inarguably good. And if they won't, let's just shrug and say fuck it all. That'll show 'em.
The mill of the Gods surely grinds slowly, but the machinery if grinding to a complete stop, with the deadlock produced by two distinct and diametrically opposed populations, each with its own "reality. And so we spin our wheels interminably. The bills pile up on Mitch McConnell's desk, things that need doing don't get done, more environmental protections put in place just a few years ago are stripped away. We take one step forward and two steps back. And, all the while, we are bombarded with "news" we know isn't even close to true about damn near everything. Windmills cause cancer. Hillary should be locked up. Trump was sent to us by God. Madhouse ranting echoes down the corridors of power.
Add to that the fact that taxpayer-paid salaries are going to people who are incompetent, or who are in charge of matters they hope to foil. We have a White House press secretary who has held no press briefings. That person took up the post when her predecessor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of an Arkansas religious charlatan and former governor, decided she'd acquired enough cred to set her up for a political career, or a lucrative book deal, or a consultantship on Fox. She'd also worked for Bush/Cheney, let's recall, so she was good to go,and so she went, just as Sean Spicer did before her in the long tradition of mediocrities cashing on on a few months of government "service." Off they go, dancing with the stars.
Meanwhile, Australia burns, the earth warms more dramatically than our worst fears had prepared us to expect, Trump continues to talk about global warming being a "hoax," and his administration thwarts science at every turn, disallowing certain words that don't square with the feelings of the remaining Koch bro or the heads of energy and oil companies. And Trump tweets that young Greta Thunberg has anger issues and should just chill. Isn't that what Greta is advocating? Turning down the heat?
And meanwhile, those of us who are engaged and struggling to sort it all out on a daily basis are hit with cries of alarm in our email boxes or on social media, all of them warning us of even more dire consequences than have so far materialized if we don't enclose a check to their organization, subscribe to their publication, offer them a "like," or attend their rally, protest, or fundraiser.
It's exhausting. And exhaustion, like time, the Russians, the Republican Party, Wall Street, or the red-hat dipshits, ain't on our side. Our spirits droop, our resolve sags, our souls sicken, our hearts grow weary.
So all us lefties better take our vitamins, eat right, take rejuvenating walks, do yoga, and give ourselves the daily pep talks that are growing increasingly less effective as we find ourselves worn to the nubbins by the slow grind of the decline.
T.S. Eliot, about a century ago, predicted the world would end with a whimper, not a bang. As a sometimes shouting, sometimes whimpering lefty, I'm sure it doesn't matter much, but it sure seems like he may have been right. At this rate, it seems like we're doomed.
In such darkness, it grows increasingly hard to stay awake.
But we must.