Saturday, October 1, 2016

America 2016 Part I: And This Is Not Our Fate

Twenty First Century Totalitarian Donald Trump may win the American presidency. It Can't Happen Here you say?  That ringing in your ears, that's history going on red alert. So we better stop and listen. 

Something is rotten in the Republic and we are like Hamlet returning home to find your nefarious uncle not only stole your mother but the whole goddamn kingdom (and probably swindled your father because that's what loooooooooosers deserve). Everything's fucked up. And we are all going crazy.

If the 1960s and Watergate triggered a national nervous breakdown, Trump presents a spiritual/existential crisis of the highest order. Like Father Karras in The Exorcist, we are first in denial of the demon's existence, but come to realize the fiend must be confronted.

In school I remember learning about the Second World War and the rise of Fascism and feeling a strong pride that America and its Allies defeated those who wanted to poison and destroy free thought. As I learned more of U.S history, I realized there's enough blood on the tracks to put the entire American experiment into question. And yet, even in my most cynical moments I would think to myself, at least America helped stop Hitler.

Tragically, it now looks like everything America fought for in the Second World War could go down the drain, may already be circling the drain.

In 1940 Winston Churchill warned of a new dark age to arise if the Third Reich prevailed, the best ideals of Western Civilization would dissolve into a dreamlike darkness. 

Now 75 years later democracy is becoming more of a punchline than a sacred idea. Authoritarian types are on the rise.  Give me Putin over Pussy Riot.  Give me Mussolini over Fellini.  A Henry Ford for a Lincoln. Tom Paine's been kicked to the curb by Fox News.

We have a major party candidate arrogantly preaching hate, intolerance, and ignorance. King of the Demagogues; Lord of the Fleas. He commands an unsavory group of followers known as the alt-right, the base of the base if you will. Their hobbies include holocaust denial and hipster bigotry.

Some are more traditional in their intolerance. Disagree with us and we WILL hurt you is the implicit message of Trump's rhetoric. Complexities are reduced to Orwellian slogans. Gotta Love the TRUMP because he's a BUSINESSMAN WHO GETS THINGS DONE. The cult of the CEO reigns supreme.

The moral equivalency espoused by those who see no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is even more maddening. She'll never have the hip appeal of Bernie nor the Arkansas swagger of her husband. Hillary may carry the banner of the establishment, but she's not evil.  No stoking the fires of hate from her camp, nor is she insulting or demeaning to her opponents.  Clinton's intentions and goals are in the right place. She knows her Machiavelli (apparently Trump reads the collected speeches of Hitler). If there were a short list of people MORE than qualified for the presidency - Hillary would be on that list. She would make a fine chief executive.

I'm loathe to imagine what a Trump presidency would mean for America and the world. Building a wall on the Mexican border, making torture standard operating procedure, casual use of nuclear weapons are all illogical, dangerous, insane.  Or a trade war with China. See how that goes. The man implored foreign countries to hack into his opponent's email account. There's no limit to his bat shit madness. In another life he would be a crooked carny on the dice game racket. 

So the Trump campaign is a reactionary fever dream to restore a past that never existed. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. to die, to sleep - - to sleep - - perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come . . . .    

Like many Americans I feel like Kevin McCarthy screaming at the oblivious motorists at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Has everyone fallen asleep at the wheel?  Are the pod people taking over?  Alas, Joe DiMaggio's left and gone away. O'Leary's in the grave. Superman took off for the coast.  Ain't no savior going to arise from these streets, but. . . . .. . . .. . . .. 

--------------its easy to despair, these indeed are the times that try men's souls.  

No matter what garbage spews out of Trump's mouth, America's still got soul.  We are the still the locale of Jack Kerouac, Emily Dickinson, Allen Ginsberg, Curtis Mayfield, FDR, IKE, JFK, MLK, Willie Mays, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald, Hunter Thompson, Joan Didion, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie and many, many others who fought and continue to fight the good fight.

The world will little remember what was said in 2016, but it will remember what happened and what it led to. I think the stakes are much bigger than anyone can know, so listen to your heart, don't give into hate.  Let's not throw it all away, it ain't worth it.