2020 Hindsight

Photograph Source: a.canvas.of.light – CC BY 2.0

The last ten years have not been pretty. The chaotic hopes implicit in the Occupy movement in the US were dashed by the reactionary response implicit in the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the world’s most hated nation. Likewise, similar hopes in repressive regimes throughout the Middle East were dashed by dictatorial governments backed by US, Saudi, and European agencies intent on maintaining their hold on the energy resources in the region and in re-establishing tired colonial dreams. Black people living in the US of A continued to be killed at alarming rates by trigger happy police who continue to get away with their crimes, even when the victim was white skinned. Needless to say, the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us continued to grow, encouraged by most elected representatives on both sides of the aisle—most of whom saw their assets increase in often astounding sums. It’s not that one expects politicians to be better than the rest of us. However, it would be a positive thing if they weren’t so much worse.

Despite the gnashing of gums by the mainstream media at the recent news detailing the lies that defined and define the US war on the Afghans, the aerial bombing continues in that nation. So do the midnight raids by roided up Rangers, CIA death squads and their Afghan subordinates. There are no protests in the homeland against this crime. It is just a little war, after all. No one stops to think that the little wars are much bigger in the countries where they occur. At this writing, they are occurring in many places around the world. Virtually every single one has the imprint of the United States on its mantle. In a contingency that is reminiscent of the 1990s in Peru and Colombia, the war on drugs is being considered as a reason to send troops to Mexico. Some men with shiny metal on their uniforms are teaming up with guys and gals in suits creating even more dangerous contingencies that actually consider war with Russia and China a viable option.

Maybe postmodern philosophers should celebrate. Donald Trump is coming off as the first postmodern presidency, ultimately proving I suppose that fascism is the culmination of postmodern philosophy. There is no real news and everything is relative. There are no scientific absolutes and even gravity could be up for debate. His so-called christian supporters have eschewed any moral absolutism when it comes to Herr Trump, casting aside the moral issues he raises for some kind of earthly power and promises. It’s the profit, not the prophets that guides them to their bankrupted rapture. Billy Graham’s magazine became a tool of the godless left when it insisted that there are some moral absolutes, that the ten commandments are not fake news and called for Trump’s removal. Those new testament warnings about false prophets are being ignored by pastors who care more about the quick profits the earthly politics of trumpists have sown. Every rich person and everyone who wants riches more than all else are reaping the benefits of the return to the gilded and ultimately gelded ages.  Their greed is our crucifixion.

At the US border, human beings believing that the USA offers them a chance at a better life continue to be turned away and/or locked up. The weakest among them are left to grow sick and die. In the fatherland, destitute residents eke out a life in the streets and homeless shelters. Many of them work one or more jobs but cannot afford rent in a housing market where many thousands of units are empty until their owners find those with enough cash to extort for a place to shelter. Hardly anyone questions why housing is even a market commodity. Alcohol and drug abuse is often the price one pays to survive the life of the streets. The police know this to be the case but continue to persecute the poor because it makes the bourgeoisie less nervous about their often-tenuous hold on the material goods they believe their lives demands.

What does the future hold? I’m no fortune-teller but my Marxist memes are predicting barbarism or socialism. The birds dying in the city parks, the world’s jungles and in the amber waves of grain are telling me it’s getting pretty freaking late.  The bees aren’t making honey. Humanity just wraps it all up in plastic and throws it in the ocean. I can’t say it enough—our world suffers from the lust for profit and a penchant for laziness encouraged by consumerism’s crazy need to make things nobody ever needs and to remake them every couple years. I’m not a primitivist and believe that the end so many doomsayers tell us is coming can be averted if we give up capitalism. However, I am a pessimist when asked whether such a change will ever take place. Like bugs attracted to the light that buzzes and kills them in the backyard, we submit to the deadly lure that consumerism depends on. If this were a crime show, we would call it murder-suicide. Don’t get me wrong, just because it isn’t a crime show doesn’t mean no crimes are being committed.

Onward through the fog.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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