If daymare isn’t a word, it should be. We’re living one. And the shameless, infantile ugliness that rules America today was predicted by visionaries and poets long ago. H.L. Mencken nailed it nearly a century back:
“Before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying the mob with him by force of personality. But when the field is nationwide all odds are on the man most devious and mediocre—who can most easily disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
Ecce homo. So much for our “democracy”. But this plague is not confined to The Empire. The blood-dimmed tide Yeats felt coming has inundated the world. Three Cynosures of Psychosis suggest themselves aggressively today, each a match in his way for our Cretin Caligula who thought he’d snag Greenland on the cheap, as if it were a trashed Bronx tenement.
Bolsonaro, Reichsmarshall of Brazil, in recent frothing fury, blamed his own Neronian burning of the Amazon on NGOs, lying about his direct pitch to scofflaw ranchers to turn it, once burnt off, into a Confined Animal Feeding Operation. Gringo beef dollars matter, nao?; rainforest, not so much.
Then, there’s Modi–the Hindu Ubermensch–who, having presided over a massacre in Gujarat that elevated him to racist icon status, has spiked both the laws of Jammu and Kashmir and his own nation in a brutal anschluss that made a bullied territory into a free fire zone and Moslem dungeon.
Of course, neither of these Sturmbahnfuhrers can claim parity with the past master of venomous race hatred, that brazen liar, shameless provocateur, and criminal fabulist, Netanyahu, regent of the Fascist State of Israel. This clinical embodiment of the abused become abuser, in exacerbating the worst elements of Israeli character–bone deep racism and paranoia; the arrogant claim to superiority that’s the warp and weft of its religion; the babaric cruelty urged by its gruesome, twisted, medieval rabbinical voices–has goaded Israel to embrace and celebrate its most hideous attributes and flaunt them in the face of an increasingly appalled world.
How is it these four sick horsemen of the coming apocalypse have clotted together now like a rancid, congealing gravy of dead tissue? Serendipity wouldn’t account for it. Nor probability predict it… What if emergence of such pure evil simultaneously results from peer group patterning in which the rabidity of the top dog sets a template others are then induced to emulate? There is precedence for the idea. When Stalin ran the Soviet world, he and his system were replicated across it. When JFK flashed his Camelot style, “Free World” leaders strove to mimic his elegant finesse.
Having been pretty much gifted with the Presidency–because of wholesale abandonment by the Democratic Party of anyone who ever had to earn a living and obliteration of all concern for ordinary citizenry–Trump set the tone for his solipsistic funhouse from day one, sending his twitter yawp of vulgarity, dishonesty and cruelty out to a gobsmacked world, while these sociopaths watched, pondered, and then acted. Could it be clearer that the key enabling factor for the rise of this set of human monsters was our morally null, ethically vacant, childishly vindictive Pathogen-in-Chief?
The supreme tragedy of our age–for us and the world–is that there is no countervailing force in our country, no powerful, principled dynamic the sheer gravitational force of which might coalesce what exists of the vast hunger for wisdom, justice and decency latent in a majority of our people. America is full of conned, tranquilized, intimidated folk who nevertheless have a strong residual inclination toward fairness and honor and humanity, and who are deeply offended, saddened, and ashamed that our country has become the most viciously murderous engine of evil on the planet.
Due to the fact that the Democratic Party has repudiated and betrayed the principle that made it a compelling, dominant social and political force–its core pledge to represent reliably, and legislate predictably, for the good of a citizenry of all colors and conditions–it represents no refuge at all to an electorate finally fully aware of its callous indifference to their well-being.
For most adults’ lifetime experience–say, from the JFK/LBJ era on–the Democratic Party has done nothing to advance the general welfare and economic security of the great majority of working Americans, while deceiving them endlessly with cynical, rhetorical jive. Their cop-out from Obama back to the 60s has been that Republicans blocked every effort, that their good ideas and benevolent plans were killed, that they failed in spite of good intentions, but this is just dishonest. The fact is that even when they had power and numbers in Congress, they never rose up, took a stand, and fought hard for legislation to advance the common good. All their defeats have been essentially capitulations, and self-inflicted.
When Lew Powell issued his warning Bull to Capitalists in the 70s about the frightful danger that The People, aroused and militant, represented to Omnicratic Capitalism, Big Corporate Money began to flow lavishly to reactionary Republicans. Democrats, outfunded, outspent, took shocking electoral hits that terrified their politburo and convinced them that politics was only about money and that they had to get a lot of it, whatever it took to do it. What they decided it took was to abandon their traditional support base in the vast Middle and Under classes, and to seek the dollars where they lived, with Corporate Capitalist elites. This turn was completed under Clinton, who concluded that to stand for anything beneficial for The People was to risk status and office. Hence, his dropping the fight for decent health care legisation, among other spineless and disgraceful retreats.
In that decision the Democrats blew it. They failed to make the choice that could have empowered them and would have consolidated progressive politics far into the future: to champion The People. Of course, there would have been grave risk. It would have taken great resolve and courage, but more importantly, the element that was completely absent in them: intent.
Politics is only about money when it is not substantively about anything else. The fierce passion and phenomenal power of a people, when they know their leaders are truly committed to vigorously champion their welfare, is a force that no amount of private wealth can obstruct, let alone defeat.
America was at a crisis, when what was to be determined was whether the country would be run in the interests of its citizens or in that of its Capitalist masters. Official Democrats, intellectually co-opted already, elected to represent the giants. In that action, they walked away from a path that would have enabled them to remake the world in justice, and sank to the sorry, contemptible nullity they are today. Rejecting their way to greatness, they condemned themselves to extinction.
And, in the long run, may have done the same for us all.