I hate to do this, but we must talk about ‘what-aboutism.’ Now I understand that this term in itself is a liberal dismissal of a conservative tactic used to diminish the harm of some right-wing politician’s misstep or outright appalling act, but there is a far more pervasive danger to this approach to society than just the bullshit of arguing over the merits and morality of single issues.
This is a crisis from every political and social perspective (and let us be clear–and I apologize for the Obama-era cliche of liberal pundits–‘let’s be clear’–this is a problem with liberals, conservatives and everything between anarchists and Nazis). When we attempt to justify some horrible action because the other side is equally horrible, this is not a positive spin, but an outright degradation of the concept of doing what is right.
When people talk about, say, a Trump Administration policy that ultimately resembles an Obama-era policy, there is never any mention of a profound agreement on the issues. No, there is an inherent disgust with the realities of a situation and a deflection based upon the fact that the other side is pretty shitty too. And I wonder, how does this make anyone feel better? Is Trump every bit as bad as Clinton and Obama? Is Hillary Clinton just as bad as Trump? Does this make anything okay?
But this is now the world that we live in, where we blame our rivals for the mistakes we ourselves make. We are so angry, so blind to the social and political movements banded throughout a media-based society that we cannot see the fact that the full circle progression of far right-wing and far left-wing ultimately comes out to be exactly the same thing.
All extremism and absolutism is toxic. In every situation where a ruling government or religion attempts to impose its will upon people that see things, even slightly, differently from such gestapos, it will always lead to chaos, to collapse, to internal and external war.
I do believe, in fact, that Donald Trump understands one part of history. I think he realizes that a nation can greatly profit from the outcome of a war. He sees the aftermath of World War II when the United States became a true world power. He can see the economic advantages of having an American munitions factory building the weapons of war that will ravage the planet and murder so many people that some pundits will eventually pass this off as natural population control, in a world that is far too crowded. There will even be an appeasement to climate change considerations that will explain that the more people there are, the hotter the earth becomes. I mean, what about your environmentalist views? Don’t you want the planet to cool down? And besides, do you know how much money we can make if we keep selling weapons to both sides of an African civil war? The war will never end. We will always be in the black so long as we keep them killing one another with our wares.
And what about Obama’s harsh immigration policies? Isn’t Trump going even further really a progressive change? What are these liberals complaining about?
And, I mean, what about the fact that Hillary and Bill and Obama and LBJ and fucking JFK and FDR were mercilessly corrupt in one way or another? Aren’t those people your heroes? Doesn’t that make Bush and Bush and Reagan and Trump’s corruption okay–even patriotic? How can people be such hypocrites?
Of course it is always the party in power that gets away with being crooks, with raping society, with turning every selfish whim of their platform into a smug reality. Just remember what John Adams, an actual patriot had to say:
“I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.”
This is what would once upon a time have passed for prophecy. We might even read the book of John the first. But the true patriotism of the founders of America has been reduced to a burlesque of cheap jokes, nude dances and aimless accusations. There is no more America, no actual patriotism. All that remains is merely partisan rage. We are watching what John Adams claimed: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” We are very depressed. We see no meaning any longer to our lives, to our mission. Jim Jones is in the White House. Will you swallow the Kool-Aid that is already dripping from your mouths?