While You Were Sleeping
There’s must be something irresistible about Trump. What else could account for the idea that every news cycle over the past year has been dominated by this flaxen-haired man-child? And who else but Trump could have taken the United States, once a respected global leader, and trashed our standing in the world. The only countries supporting Trump’s America these days are Hungary, Poland, and the Philippines – and need anyone remind you what kinds of leaders these near-pariah states have embraced? There’s only one country more dedicated to the proposition of outright authoritarianism: Prince Vlad’s Russia, where, apparently, 80% of the populace love their fearless leader. So…maybe Trump is on to something? Maybe we should all be chanting “Down With Democracy!” in the streets, carrying placards loudly proclaiming that “Hitler Was Right!” and “Jail All Liberals!” Charlottesville was your warning cry. Did you sleep through that one, too?
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Too far-fetched to consider…?
If it does, then you have no idea how dangerous the slippery slope we’re on can become. And how quickly people lose their footing.
We are one major terrorist event away from losing everything we cherish. From martial law, from the curtailment of civil liberties, principles we take for granted on a daily basis, including the right to vote.
How so? How did it happen?
That part of the story is simple. Because we’ve never experienced the complete abdication of political responsibility we’re seeing today, the duty to exercise legislative oversight of the executive, the abdication of a principle duty that has defined the Republican Congress over the past year. The success of our system of government is predicated on this principle of checks and balances, it’s a bedrock construct enshrined in our consitution, whereby one branch of government – namely the Executive Branch – cannot accrue so much power that it becomes monarchical in both intent and structure. When Republicans kept Obama from nominating a Supreme Court justice, Republican operatives mounted their second successful judicial coupe d’Etat; now, packing the courts with ideologues, not legal scholars, they hope to push their gerrymandered redistricting efforts into codified law, thereby ensuring almost any electoral challenge to their congressional stranglehold can be turned back. Their first judicial coupe d’Etat? Bush v Gore.
They learn from their successes, don’t they?
This is, by the way, America under Republican Rule. This is government dictated by the billionaire class, for the billionaire class. Get used to it, because it’s here to stay.
This is NOT, however, the America of our constitution. And it’s easy to assume the struggle to take back our country will be a bloody one – because it’s only logical to assume the billionaire class has absolutely no intention of relinquishing power. They have complete control now, and they’ve stolen it from We, the People. The greater problem remains, however…that We, the People are too wrapped up in Star Wars and football and drinking beer at the tattoo parlor to give a damn. And that’s another problem that defines the current era. Will America wake up, claw its way out of political fogs induced by such disinformation outlets as Fox News, and other, similar sources of brainwashing – on both the Right and the Left?
Or…could it be that our oligarchs are financing Noise Machines on both the Left as well as the Right? It seems probable, indeed, almost likely, given that their agenda is best served by keeping the populace polarized and fearful, constantly at each other’s throats. But…what if all the people drifting to the fringes came together, for once? What would happen if all these angry multitudes came together as a unified bloc? How long would the oligarch’s grip on power remain, do you think?
Yet…it seems one group of people in this country has already figured this out, and they are mobilizing.
Can loosely organized women stand up to the immense power of the State? A state defined by angry men manipulated like puppets by autocrats & oligarchs intent on subverting the constitution? Can women stand up to a government that’s been bought and paid by billionaires to meet their narrow financial and policy goals? Can women stand up to a military that supports the dictates of our billionaire class?
Interesting question. Time will tell, but 2018 is shaping up to be one of the most consequential elections of our age. Republican jurists are already turning back challenges to Gerrymandered Rule, so the more immediate, and dangerous question becomes: who will Republicans disenfranchise next?
And that’s an odd, almost paradoxical notion, isn’t it? The Party of Lincoln, of freedom and emancipation, of Family Values and of holding the words in Our Constitution above all other documents, has now become what amounts to a neo-fascist political organization. Like the Nazi Party in the late-20s and early-30s, today’s Republican Party has taken on almost all the characteristics of an organized criminal enterprise, and rather than work to ensure that the precepts of democracy are honored above all else, Republicans now seem afraid of democracy. They are rapidly becoming, in both word and deed, the very enemy of democracy…the most unAmerican political Party in our history.
There has been, throughout history, nothing more dangerous to the greater common good than self-righteous, scared and angry old men. Men willing to sacrifice their core beliefs on the altar of threatened power. Today’s Republican Party is the Party George Washington warned us about in his farewell address, that the framers of our constitution knew were lurking in the wings, even in the 1780s. “Republicans” have been with humankind, in one guise or another, since we organized our various groupings into exclusive dichotomies. Athenians fell into their patrician/plebian fallacy; the Roman Senatus, elected to represent the will of the people, soon devolved into an organization dedicated to the preservation of wealth and privilege…yet this devolution, seen throughout more recent history in the actions of Hapsburgs and the Medici, almost always presages a vast political AND MORAL collapse. Collapse is, then, brought about by internal decay.
Reading a week ago that the world’s population, now at a completely unsustainable seven billion people, will likely increase to ten billion by 2050. This will unfold in the context of increasing global temperatures, depleting ocean resources for a billion people in Oceania, causing heat-related drought in equatorial regions that will cause catastrophic famine for untold billions. Water will become as scarce, and as precious, as energy is today…a nightmare world envisioned in films such as Soylent Green. So, what happens when this becomes our pressing new reality.
What We, The People need to think about – now – is simply this.
Why are our leaders willing to subvert the consitution…now? What looming cataclysm is driving this mad rush to re-distribute wealth in America…right now?
If resource depletion leads to existential calamities on a global scale, where do these people think they can hide? How long do they think all this stolen wealth will protect them…when hundreds of millions of starving, desperate people come for them? What happens when all their assorted militaries see through the ruse and join the masses?
By then…will it even matter?
So, we have Trump, the poster-child for Amerikan dysfunction, the clown-prince of deceit, of everything our founders warned us against…the future they told us about in our most cherished documents. He is your present reality, that rough beast slouching towards Jerusalem. He is your Second Coming, the shrill, screaming harbinger of everything you thought could never happen here.
Because that dystopian future isn’t a hypothetical construct waiting some time in the future. No, that future is here. Now. It arrived while you were sleeping, and now, like an unwanted visitor, it has no intention of leaving you alone.
Because every inaction leads to its opposite reaction. To you who practiced apathy, now you’ve got fascism in your living room.
What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do for your children, and for your children’s children?
History is not a kind judge of those consumed by apathy and indecision, but then again, neither is God.