The world always seems to be on the verge of disaster. This is mostly based upon our mutual paranoia, our ignorance and the gutter expectations we have developed for the world. We live in an age of grown-up children, shrieking at one another on their grown-up playgrounds, in the office and at school; on the telephone, bickering online and screaming at the television, expecting those targets to hear our cries in this void of darkness. Problems that were once low, infantile considerations, that may have been very important to us in the moment, then laughed away in retrospect, have been renewed, and given the entire meaning of our lives. We race around and accuse each other, never admitting that we did anything wrong. These are not even wholly malicious lies that we tell, inventing excuses Per Diem. We so desperately want to stay out of trouble that we will cling to any excuse so we can face just one more day.
American government is about to devolve into a stalemate, where nothing gets done beyond the frustration of its citizens. Politicians will both bark and bite, but the spectators can only shake their heads and take sides, root for their home team (or another team if they have the instinct of a traitor), and try their best to exploit every mistake their opposition makes. Living in the modern world is a schoolyard game where every person cheats because they have never been taught the rules.
So the Democrats have won back the house, which should be a relief for anti-Trump people like myself. But it isn’t. This is yet another step backwards, a return to the feudal days when sides and factions went to war over God, taxes or the many definitions of power. I will admit, now, filled with a dreadful notion of shame, that I voted for the Democrats, not out of partisan loyalty, or even any belief in their public platform but, like so many people that voted for Donald Trump in 2016, as a reaction to what I believed was a nation in turmoil and a finger pointing in blame.
I am not a Democrat, nor am I a Republican. In fact I loath political partisanship in all its malignant forms (one could read back on my hundred plus posts and see an on-going theme about how much I hate blind allegiance to any philosophy). But this does not mean it isn’t important to understand what people claim to stand up for, or protest against. And I fell into that very same trap. I voted against the power in charge. I was unhappy–angry, seeing my vision of both the nation and the world being corrupted, my private notions of freedom and justice being undermined by radical enemies I imagined were banging at the gates.
This is what Democracy has become, a reactionary assault on everything other people value. There is no real belief in anything. Not in Government. Not in God. Not even in money (the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped a thousand points in three days, and the public outcry and terror this would have once caused, bankers jumping out of fourth story windows and the like, is swept away anonymously because it cannot compete with the tabloid scandals that distract the world day after day after day in a chanted monastery song.)
Children do not understand the value of order, of justice, or of decency, or the future, or the world. We have all become trapped in someone else’s vision of how things are presumably supposed to be. And since no one ever really agrees with one another about anything, children grow up to be petty, confused, and mean-spirited creatures, filled with their textbook ideas, yet with no concept of how to make their visions of the world work.
Donald Trump is an overgrown child, a man who has not outgrown his spiteful early adolescence. But he is far from alone. This is America today–the whole world, annoyed with what passes for entertainment, and realizing that choosing a side has become more important than questioning why we have become so selfish.
The new Democratic Congress, and their so-called ‘opposition,’ are children too–spoiled brats with demands who, after getting all the things they most wanted for Christmas, start demanding even more expensive presents after all of our fortunes have been spent. We lash and lash and lash out at the world, believing that everything is ours, the way we see it, and when our deepest dreams do not come true we decide to punish everyone for not giving in to our lust of the moment, before it morphs into some new sort of perversion.
I do not want to get into specifics–the futile fight over new party leadership, or the brazen corruption of each side undermining the other. These are incidents that are repeated going all the way back through time to when an early king realized he could not run the world by himself, and was forced to delegate authority to people with different ideas. All we need to do is acknowledge this . . . this childishness. We have grown old without understand exactly what this means. We are not maturing. We have not learned anything from even our own past, much less the non-stop horrorshow that has been the history of the world. We are a bunch of grubby crybabies, lamenting sorrowfully that time has not granted us our way. There is no more celebration of success, or even a sense of accomplishment. There is simply bitterness over not having gone far enough, over everything we planned not coming fully to fruition.
We only need to read the headlines to realize this, everything now a debased tabloid sales-pitch. “Armed robber stole lottery tickets . . . tried redeeming them hours later” or celebrities “praised for avoiding politics.” Nothing is golden. There is no way we can be unified, and all of us get behind questionable morality to justify anything. Everything is an I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I argument.
I suppose we can blame our parents, or their parents before them, and on and on throughout the past, almost ad infinitum, if there were actually such a thing as infinity. But we make our own destinies and create our own lives out of scraps of dissatisfaction, and our disappointment in others failures. For some reason we need to believe ourselves better–the one missing link that can restore the honest dreams we once had, that no one can remember ever truly having. We need to believe that we can still somehow make the world a better place.
The generic title of this essay is rife with petty political differences, naming names merely as examples of a much broader point. The title could just as easily have been The Republicans and Barrack Hussein Obama, or The Democrats and George W. Bush, or Al Quida and 9/11, or even Barry Goldwater versus LBJ; Catholics and Protestants; Jews versus the Rest of the World. It could be Adams Versus Jefferson, or a stiff, academic label on the fate of any civil war. World War II is as fine a topic as any, and will always be relevant as a reflection to how horrible the world can be. But we might as well even call this piece Bugs Bunny versus Elmer J. Fudd, or Tom the Cat versus Jerry the Motherfucking Mouse. The concept is numbly the same. One wants to devour the other. The final result is only more pain and humiliation.
The Democrats, now, in this swaggering moment of hope for them, do not believe that they will only accomplish the further debasement of America–the final nail in the coffin of the modern day world. They dream of brightness and change, the way any newly elevated faction always does, before grim reality sets in with all of its compromises and corruption; until all fanciful deeds refuse to turn out the way we wanted them to. And so this post-election time of arrogance, the belief that somehow the world can still improve if we can only suppress our destructive influences, then we can avoid the increasing violence that oppose our singular view of the world. We live in the age, as I suppose all of us always have, of tyrants versus workers, each side drowning in their own egotism. We are now in a time where there is no such thing as heroes. There are only the villains we choose to take sides with.