And I think about killing myself
And I love myself way more than I love you, so
— Kanye West, I Thought About Killing You
For the past two years, I have been wondering why Americans have been so ready, if not eager, to reengage the Cold War with Russia, despite Russia showing no desire to do so. A war between Russia and the United States, given the nuclear arsenals, political allegiances around the world, and the unhinged nature of our President, could destroy the entire species. And for what? Russia’s alleged crime of election meddling, is negligible at best when in comparison to what America has done in Russia, or what rich Americans have done in America. Xenophobia, historical revisionism, and an embrace of fake news are all on the rise in the age of Trump, and are surely all factors for blaming Russia. But lying and bigotry, while practiced routinely, is often shameful, not something to get excited about.
No, my new theory about why Americans want conflict with Russia is because we know in our heart of hearts that the world is ending soon because of climate change. Just as born-again Christians flock to Trump as they yearn for a Revelations-style apocalypse, liberals want a showdown with Russia. If the world is ending anyways, let’s end it on our own terms seems to be the rationale. Other countries have reacted with a more rational response to the potential of the world ending—namely doing something about it. The Republican Party stands alone, in terms of rich countries, in its blatant denial of climate change. This is why Noam Chomsky correctly calls them the most dangerous organization in human history. The Democratic Party, their hapless and willing enablers, are a close second.
The Republican Party though has seemed to stand alone in their tendency to live in an ‘alternative facts’ universe. As bad as Democrats are, they know better ways to lie. But since the election of Donald Trump, the Democrats have become just as paranoid and dishonest as their friends across the aisle. The Republicans may see a communist behind every corner, but the Democrats see a Russian behind every corner. This makes sense because Russia, or at least the Soviet Union, was seen as communist the first time around. And the Democrats have always been scared of communism too. Now Russia isn’t communist, or even close, but what world power is? Poor Mr. Putin. He has tried so hard to be a ruthless capitalist, in fact he has succeeded at this goal, but it appears that America is too hotheaded to care.
In the age of Barack Obama, those who deal with life superficially could forget the coming Armageddon. If one could get by his arrogance and kill lists, Mr. Obama seemed like a pretty cool guy. And when it came to Russia, a better diplomat. One has to wonder if the fear of Trump has become so irrational that we are scared of anything he does, and that by simply forcing him into the opposite, we will be better off. There also is surely a part of the American psyche that is just rooting for Mr. Trump to fail. And who wouldn’t want that? Anything that gets him out of office as soon as possible should be welcomed, no matter the undemocratic implications of Robert Mueller’s agenda. Trump failing while in office though? It is unclear who this helps besides the anti-Trump resistance who may be more interested in being morally superior than stopping Trump’s vicious agenda.
Regardless, what Donald Trump brings to America is the sense that we are powerless. He is unpredictable, reckless, stupid and vengeful. We now live in constant fear, and for good reason. But the legitimate fear of Trump manifests as illegitimate fear of Putin, even though there is little implication they actually like each other. We fear Putin’s authoritarian state, when it is Donald Trump who is bringing authoritarianism home. Why? Well, many of the resistance are imperialists. We want an enemy we can bomb and scapegoat, not one that pervades all of our own crumbling American institutions. It is the same reason why Republicans blame immigrants that Democrats blame Russia. Someone to blame, not something to change.
This powerlessness we feel may remind us of our powerless future that can easily be forgotten in the age of mass distraction. However, with Donald Trump, he is both the distraction and the problem. He is useful to the rich because he distracts, but perhaps he is a little too close to the real problem to be the calming relaxer that our smartphones are. One can turn on the TV and see Trump said blank, or Russia did that, but any person could quickly be reminded that not only is Trump a petty scandal, but a serious one.
Such is the reason for this extreme level of neurosis. There is endless piffling Trump material to focus on, but the material is based in something far more alarming not yet examined in a serious way. Thus, Trump, while ever present, remains enticing simply because we are not yet at the root of our fear. Many Americans may fear Donald Trump will grope them, insult them or embarrass them but the real fear is that he is deregulating and privatizing everything, and killing us all in the process. This is not the focus of discourse though. In part because mass media and their ties to polluting companies won’t allow it. But also in part because it is no longer fun gossip.
Russia somehow remains fun gossip. The game of bringing down Donald Trump continues. He messes up, we scold, nothing happens. Until we drop the bomb, it’s all fun and games. It’s endless flirtation without a lot of action. I imagine it is how Ted Cruz deals with his sexual urges. It is a whole lot of fun talking about them, but he knows he is going to hell if he ever does them. Likewise, Russia is fun to talk about, but if we ever act on our claim that they are the greatest threat to democracy since 9/11, we will be bringing the end times early.
If Donald Trump was impeached, what would war-mongering corporate liberals talk about? Expect them to ask Russia to rig it even harder in 2020 for Mr. Trump.
Trump has reminded us of the real cause for alarm: the mass extinction thundering towards us. We feel so uneasy, but what can we do? Climate change is depressing and horrifying and we can seemingly do nothing about it on an individual level. We then opt for the only thing that we have left to control: how we all die. Foolish, I think. As bad as Trump is, there is something left to live for, and if Trump were to blow up Russia, it would not be on our terms, but on his. In fact, he is only likely to blow up Russia if he feels he is being out-machoed by the neoliberal corporate class in combative rhetoric. As it stands, America is egging on this madman for no other purpose than a sense of control over our own demise. If anything lets Trump and the corporate overlords win, this is it.
It is worth detailing what has happened in the Russia scandal, if only to show nothing has really happened. The first charge, which is denied by the accused firm, is that a Russian company known as Internet Research Agency funded ‘millions of dollars’ in advertisements. There has been no link established between this company and the Russian government. The accusation, if it is true, is no different from the private American companies who invest billions in elections, sometimes illegally, but often legally. The second charge is related to the Russian government and the alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Once again, this is only a charge, but the information released by hackers was potentially damaging to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, simply because it was true. The irony is that the damaging information for the DNC was that they had rigged their own primary. The accused riggers only crime is exposing the proven riggers. There are allegations of state and local hacking too, but those were present before 2016. Did Russia do it? is hardly our biggest story now. For whatever it is, even if it did prevent the corporate warmonger Hillary Clinton from winning, it should be far less concerning than the obsessive, neurotic, fear-mongering, scapegoating, ominous mood in the United States since the 2016 election.
Why were Democrats tearing their hair out over a Trump-Putin meeting last week that seemed to offer zero conclusions about how Trump felt about anything? The whole week, which was typical Donald, was just another week of bullying the weak and submitting to the strong. Putin may be able to push some buttons in his own country, but when Trump, who never apologizes for anything, ran back his own words, it was clear that NATO would live to see another day, no matter the scattered thoughts of a wimpy man in over his head. The deranged response to the deranged Donald was enough for me to think long and hard about a theory given to me by a right-wing woman this past week.
Her theory was that God had in fact sent us Donald Trump. My first thought: highly unlikely. This man lacks the morals of the people God sends to us. In fact, I can hardly think of a worse human being. There may actually be no human being worse than Trump, save maybe Charles Koch, David Koch and whoever funds Adam Sandler movies. But I thought of the alternative the corporate media was telling me: Vladimir Putin is the real President of America and the real reason the entire country is undemocratic, poor, hungry, and in prison. Also, highly unlikely.
Yet the pamphlet this woman handed me at least admitted there was no rhyme or reason to this theory other than some guy hearing it from God: “I, like many of you, was shocked by the word I received regarding Donald Trump. Trust me when I say it was given with fear and trembling.” Has the fear and trembling gone away?
The only biblical evidence of this theory the pamphlet provided was 1 Corinthians 15:52: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” and 1 Thessalonians 4:16: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” The problem with being a fundamentalist in the age of Trump is that you are taking a book word for word that you haven’t even read. If you are going to take it literally, at least look for that capital T in trump, otherwise you have to take every trumpet player as a prophet. Next thing you know Trumpettes will be swapping out their Johnny Rebel records and replacing them with Lee Morgan. Still, the trail left by the Trumpettes was no less convincing than Robert Mueller’s. There was as much evidence of Trump in the Bible as Trump in Putin’s pocket.
It should come to no one’s surprise that Donald Trump has not exactly been pro-Russia. A broken clock may strike right twice a day, but a doomsday clock never strikes right. Glen Greenwald points out that Barack Obama was actually more pro-Russia than Trump: “you look at President Obama versus President Trump, there’s no question that President Obama was more cooperative with and collaborative with Russia and the Russian agenda than President Trump. President Trump has sent lethal arms to Ukraine—a crucial issue for Putin—which President Obama refused to do. President Trump has bombed the Assad forces in Syria, a client state of Putin, something that Obama refused to do because he didn’t want to provoke Putin. Trump has expelled more Russian diplomats and sanctioned more Russian oligarchs than [Obama] has. Trump undid the Iran deal, which Russia favored, while Obama worked with Russia in order to do the Iran deal.” Once again, liberals give Mr. Trump too much credit. He has no friends. He gets along with no one. There is no coherent plan here other than corruption.
As liberals resist Putin-Trump with homophobic memes, one has to wonder, how mad are these people? Do they realize that Donald Trump is crazy, even crazier than them? Why on earth do they want Trump armed and angry?
Anyone who can still bear to follow the news knows that the corporate media is still attempting to paint Russia as an aggressive and unreasonable foe. This is all with Mr. Trump as the President! It is hard to believe that anyone is more unreasonable and aggressive than Trump, but once again, the liberals let him off the hook. Despite military on Russia’s borders, years of war-mongering rhetoric and hostile economic activity, meddling in Russia’s own elections, and constant racism, Russia remains a reasonable actor in its relation to the United States. One wonders why Russia tries to reason with us at all, but the nuclear weapons certainly make things a little more complicated.
For all the talk about Putin destroying American democracy, no one mentions the real threats to U.S. democracy that led to Trump’s election—absurd campaign financing, a sensationalist profit-driven corporate media, and voter suppression. No one mentions that there was a proven election scandal in the United States in 2016. This scandal was the DNC rigging its primary for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. If the United States was a democracy, Bernie Sanders would be President right now.
Finding no comfort or coherence in the liberal narrative, I turned once again to my new right-wing friend. She told me that all these recent storms were punishment for the sins of a liberal society. Almost, actually. But her anti-choice, anti-immigrant complaints showed me she was as far from the truth as anyone else. Still, I found this to be a fascinating denial of climate change. It was not so much that she denied that it is happening, she just denied human involvement. Which goes to show, as climate change becomes increasingly hard to ignore, religion may be the only method left to explain it away.
I have always thought the war over public opinion is a losing battle though. After all, what is the prize if you win? It is far more rewarding to fight hunger, poverty, deregulation, incarceration and war. Beat those things and we will all be too cozy to have a worthwhile opinion anyways.
The public opinion debate too often turns into a qualification of other people’s mental health, as if any skepticism deserves to be medicated by the liars who tell you that you need their drugs. Climate change skeptics should have a place in public discourse. The skeptics do at times have a financial interest in keeping us fooled, but then their problem isn’t their skepticism, but their dishonesty, which almost proves the real skeptics right. Otherwise, these are sincere believers who are right to be skeptical of science, which has brought us eugenics, unnecessary mental health treatments, nuclear power, and the very pollutants we now oppose, and would have kept at it without government checks and populist skeptics. If only the same amount of skepticism could be applied to Fox News and the corporate hacks Donald Trump appoints.
In the spirit of skepticism, let’s look at what Trump has done on climate change and the coming end of the world. As Noam Chomsky puts it, the Republicans are racing to the precipice. Among the recent sins by Mr. Trump:
1. Rolling back the Endangered Species Act.
2. Cutting NASA Climate monitoring.
3. A move to make details of scientific studies public, making sure that scientists will have to choose between privacy rights and conducting a study.
4. Rollback of car emissions standards
5. Repeal of Water of the United States rule, which threatens clean water for 117 million Americans.
6. Repeal of lead-risk reduction program
7. Reduction of chemical bans for methylene chloride, trichloroethylene and N-Methylpyrrolidone
8. Stripping rules for coal ash waste removal.
9. Pardoning despicable ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond
10. Appointing anti-EPA Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court
11. Pushing for drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
If anything, God sent us Trump to punish us for our sins, not to save us from them.
Alas, while a worthwhile exercise to imagine that God indeed sent us Donald Trump, I was only reminded that the right-wing is just as bonkers as the neoliberal wing. A week of watching CNN will have you believing anything; even pushing one to believe that God really did send Donald Trump. But I will confirm, for anyone so tempted by a new way of thinking, the glove just doesn’t fit. God did not send us Donald Trump. I can’t prove it, but I am fairly certain. I then was left with one mystifying question: if God did not send Donald Trump, what does the corporate media have against him?
The common variable between Trumpettes and Russiaphobes is the end of the world narrative. Is it a reaction to climate change that both must make up stories about how the world will end? Is it the only power any of us have left? Is it the cancer patient learning they have a year to live and then shooting up a school just so they can end it on their own terms? Sorry, to all Cold War Warriors and all Donald Doomers, some of us just are not ready to die. There is, one has to believe, a rose growing in the concrete somewhere that makes these prophecies not worth an early exit. At the very least, must we go out on such fabricated and petty terms? Surely there is something worth dying for besides hating political correctness or Putin’s soccer ball.
What is that nuclear taste? Is reviving Hillary’s corpse really worth it? Or has the entire country given up and opted for a death they can blame on someone else? It is not so dissimilar from the apocalypse envisioned by the Trumpettes, who can blame every storm that Trump makes worse on the sins of a liberal society. If Trump and Putin were to blow each other up tomorrow, liberals would die on top. However, if we are to die slightly slower due to climate change, the entire industrialized world will have to know we played a part. And there will be those pesky Trumpettes who blame it on liberalism, not capitalism. To all this I say, who cares. Yes, we messed up. We shouldn’t have drained the earth of all its resources, we shouldn’t have elected Trump. But no need to feel guilty and embrace the end of the world! There is still good work to be done. Who will be laughing when the world dies by nuclear (a Russiaphobe wet dream) or fire (a Trumpette wet dream). There will be no moral high ground at that point. The apocalypse will be the great equalizer. Even in the age of Trump, the world is worth sticking around for, although She might as well be done with us as soon as She can be.
Surely the principle of lesser evilism still has a place, no? Can’t we all agree that dying tomorrow is better than dying today? Who is more looney, the apocalyptic Trumpettes or the Russiaphobic corporate class? We will find out soon enough. While it is very likely that Trump will win reelection (poll numbers in the Republican Party for him are very positive), it is just as likely that the new Cold War will continue until Trump is gone, whether that be in 2 years, 6 years, or 14 years (Ivanka). The premise is that we will either have Trump’s apocalypse or we will blow up Russia. There must be a winner. Given Trump’s flair for winning and upending the liberal class, who would be surprised if it was he who ended up blowing up Russia, not for our reasons, but for his own. Therefore, it is equally important to get Trump, the Republicans and Democrats out of power as quickly as possible.
We are once again pawns to the powers that be. Sensing the end is coming, they wish to go out with a bang. It is true, the end is coming, whether that be by climate change, nuclear weapons or God Himself. The battle over how we end is worth fighting for. I for one have no interest in being killed by Trump, the neocons, or the ecocide maniacs. If God must take me, I will let Him, but giving the establishment the satisfaction of having the last word is too much to bear. To hear Hillary’s cackle at my funeral with the words “We came, we saw, he died” across the headstone would be a tragedy too great for even a species sprinting towards the precipice. If Donald were to preside over my grave, he would simply say “I won, you tiny loser”, but I would resent this option equally. If God exists, and wants the last word for Himself, He should start by kicking all with nuclear fever to the curb. For we all are dangerously close to becoming the latest item on America’s war-mongering resume. Let’s just hope Donald doesn’t take the bait and one-up the liberals one last time.
Even if God doesn’t exist, one would have a better chance reasoning with Him than either Donald or his yuppy resistance groupies. So I thanked my right-wing friend today. For even if she was no more sane than the neoliberals prattling to the abyss, she at least had a nice place to send me after the world ended; that is assuming, I was born in America, had as many babies as ejaculations, and voted for God’s unconventional servant, Donald J. Trump.