I would like to address my fellow Americans, as well as all of those outside this nation with either a fleeting interest, or an amused snarl at the very obvious decline of the United States as the ideal of hope much of the rest of the world once upon a time mistook us for. I want to talk to the Trump Supporters, and those every bit as equally fanatical in their opposition. This commentary is directed at all of those who are simply sick and tired, and bored, and fed up, and willing to believe anything about anyone just so long as it paints them with a negative light. I want to address this to you folks, and so I suppose this means that I am talking to everyone. We are at a dire moment, my nation, my world, and without coming across like some crank with a microphone outside of a huge public park, shrieking about how ‘they’ or ‘it’ are coming to get us, there are a few things it might be worthwhile to consider.
Now I have very clearly made my views on President Trump as an administrator (and as a human being), and there is nothing positive I can say. Of course this already marks me for some as a partisan, as someone willing to believe whatever alternative narrative I study and tell myself, or worship at the alter of whichever biased media conglomerate I have chosen to proselytize me, but my personal interest and curiosity in different points of view, and in seeking an understanding of conflicting perspectives, I believe, has shielded me from imposing many of the biases that are par for the course with on-line social media platforms, and at gatherings where cliches are tested before they turn into taglines that partisan advocates repeat endlessly, diminishing deeper thinking on the larger issues into a knuckle-cracking rage. And so I attempt to sit here more as a spectator, watching a game in which I have no rooting interest, only enjoying the unfolding of the drama of the larger story: the future of the nation and mankind.
So I want to ask you, pro-Trump initiates: we all know that Democrats (and Republicans) have been mercilessly corrupt throughout most of their administrations (certainly within the memory of our lifetimes). They have done some pretty bad things. Some of those acts may have been committed legitimately, under the protections of their office, as well as the Constitution of the United States, but that certainly does not make these ‘crimes’ we wholeheartedly disagree with any more palatable, does it? It becomes an emotional response, and we can even transform it into something darker, something truly foreboding about the stake of the future, and don’t we wish those crooked weaklings in Congress had had the guts to shout some of this wickedness down? But they didn’t, they couldn’t. They don’t. They keep getting beaten at the larger political/corporate game.
But Trump was like salvation to you, wasn’t he? He took that smug condescension and spit it right back in their faces, and then taunted them and laughed at them and challenged them to try to do anything about it. Donald Trump came of age in American politics at a time when the system itself was shattering, existing in a tabloid, reality-TV blip; an exaggerated scandal universe of hyper-sensitivity and confusion. The internet, for all of its potential benefits, has ultimately become a processor of various strands of information, presented as life narratives to sell to those willing to believe in them. Donald Trump, savvy media observer that he is, latched onto this. He successfully sowed and exploited the doubt–on every side, both pro and con (people who hate you will buy your product too, just to shout about how awful they believe it to be), and transformed the entire world into a perverse sort of game show, where there are no winners, merely those who last for another episode, until the program is finally cancelled.
But the show goes on, doesn’t it, Trumpites? Familiar faces keep popping up again to boost the sagging ratings. What is going to happen when the structures that had long been put into place, that had been slowly cracking, and that were finally bulldozed under Trump, come around to face the next Democratic tyrant? With Congress neutered, what is it going to sound like when the drones who supported the destruction of the American system now attempt to invoke it to stop things they see as getting out of control? Once the checks and balances are eliminated, it really is a dictatorship. I mean, how do you think certain nations have presidents that everyone clearly knows is a monster getting 97.3% of the vote? The people watch five of seven people running against the leader either arrested or executed. Where do the stories come from, suddenly–those clearly untrue rants about someone who might pose a slight threat to the leader at the polls, how they are suddenly involved with child-trafficking, and the distribution of hypnotic, homosexuality inducing cancers in utero, or maybe just some cartel enriching gangster scheme? How is it that someone who does not bother to conceal their own corruption becomes the only person capable of telling the truth?
We are hypocrites, all of us, playing the game of life as though it actually were a sport, and not the very urgent and serious thing it has always been, a case for the survival of every one of us. And yet we ignore the villainy of our own partisans in a blind race to the finish line, crying foul only when the other team gets the ball and they use what they’ve learned to cheat in a similar way. This cannot–it cannot go on, and all of you deep down know this. But we are so stained, so cracked, so cynical, and none of us are any longer capable of trusting anyone (I suppose we’ve been cheated on by too many people too many times). And we have stopped seeking excellence. We ask only for the best in entertainment, just to keep things moving. We ask our leaders to distract us from the general, overall decline.
None of us believes in love anymore, I suppose. No one believes in freedom (freedom for all, anyway), and we simmer in this cooling cauldron of doubt, where the fire has long since burned out, and we sometimes wish that there were a blaze of light so harsh and glaring that the slate could be wiped clean–entirely. We could wash away the all toxins that have built up inside our minds and infected our blood, and so reclaim a biblical flood of purification: a literal baptism of fire. Somehow, in someway, we tell ourselves as we try to dab the oil off the drowning baby seal that is our earth, someday maybe we can be clean again.
This long, stretched metaphor, with its two too many examples, provides a perfect summary, I believe, for the world as it is today, lost in a short-sighted attack on everything that matters by defending nothing that ever has or ever truly will.