There is a strong strain of reverse snobbery running through American politics today, that threatens the very fabric of the culture. Anti-intellectual, anti-sophistication (as they define it!), anti-science, anti-research, anti-history and anti-all things androgynous, anti-institution, anti-establishment (collated in their minds as the “swamp”), this view of the world, primarily anti-everything even they aspire to attain ironically, is at the core of the trump base.
Missing in action, however, from their angry mis-representations of truth and reality, as seen by the rest of the people on the planet, is either or both the willingness to acknowledge or the incapacity to concede their blind spot. And that blind spot can be seen in multiple holes in their black, solid putrified cheese of narcissism. In summary, they are blind to subtle and real differences between some “code” words, and the neighbours of those words.
Like holes in Swiss cheese, blindnesses that fail to discern between such niceties as the difference between “free” speech and “hate” speech, or the difference between “spine” and the addiction to bullying, or the difference between massive cover-ups and denials of illicit behaviour and authentic explanations of fear, neurosis, and even psychosis characterize this new world view. Failure or refusal to discern between mutual respect between and among both genders from a “right” to abuse the feminine in all of its forms is an integral component of their blindness as is a parallel process of abusing friends and allies, while slobbering infantile flattery over tyrant enemies, just two more of their “entitlements”.
And these entitlements, unlike bridges, freeways, tarmacs, sewer and water lines and fibre optic cables, will not merit a single budget line in any state or federal budget as drains on the national balance sheet. They will, however, embed their indelible ink into the hearts, minds and psyches of every American and all world citizens who happen to stay awake for a minimum of two hours daily and catch even glimpse of the American political psycho-drama. Slippery as a snake, devious as a shark, lethal as a python, and mercurial as a loon diving underwater if and when a tilt in their windmill foreshadows danger to their “brand”, this madness, (without resorting to a clinical diagnosis) not only threatens to destabilize “normal” and historic structures and patterns between and among world powers; it also threatens to destabilize the individual human psyches of all of us who happen to be ‘stationed’ on the planet, for the foreseeable future.
Who would have thought when George W. Bush uttered his now infamous line, “I do not DO Nuance!” that he would have cast such a shadow over the American political landscape, shortly after 9-11. Revenge, in the form of both the Afghan and Iraq wars, against a declared terrorist enemy, not only failed to demonstrate “nuance” but also plunged the world into a cauldron of hate, blood, dry-ice and the bully-grease that paved the freeway for trump to ride to victory in 2016. And so that cauldron has not only expanded exponentially, but it has had poured into its lethal cocktail, a full measure of defiance, arrogance, deceit and hubris that has, is and will continue to contaminate the American reputation for decades.
While it is true that one man does not a country make or define, the cult growing around his name, and his “big bully stick”( words, gestures, lies, character assassinations and intimidations), already threatens to dislodge the American government from its foundations. Republican congress men and women, almost to a person, have sold their political, moral, ethical, intellectual and ideological souls/core/identities/reputations/and future prospects to this monster’s every whim and wish.
While it may have begun as an angry revolt against globalization, job losses, and the “effete” Harvard graduates of the eastern establishment, this outright reverse snobbery threatens to overshadow what used to be seen as dominance by the elite 1%, without in any perceivable way diminishing the wealth and the potential political power of that elite to buy its wishes in the next election. It is, in fact, the fusion of the angry mob, (and that is really what the trump base amounts to) with the top 1% that forms such a dangerous political storm on all of our horizons. Each faction, mob and uber-rich, is drunk with its own addition to power, enabled as they both are by the complicity of the mob on one hand and the hubris of the rich on the other. The slippery mostly hidden from public scrutiny donations to political operatives who will do their exclusive and specific bidding of the extremely rich is both foil and counterpoint for the bombastic, guttural growls of the trump base, comprised largely of non-college-educated, GUN-TOTING white males whose command of nuance escaped their grasp shortly after they stopped breast-feeding.
The storm, in both physical and metaphoric terms, blows raging fires over western deserts, storm surges over tropical islands, tax evasion schemes over the eyes of reporters and legislators charged with scrutiny of the public accounts, bulldozes jerrymandering rules into neighbourhoods to restrict the vote of poor, black and Latino communities, inflates the military budget while starving the health care and food stamp budgets to helium-corrode the ego’s of those in charge, and climbs into political “bed” with whomever (both male and female) will satisfy the insatiable lust for power that drives this machine.
And much like the crippled and negligent federal government response to the hurricane that wiped out Puerto Rico, Republican members of Congress from both houses stand, sit or run and hide, fossilized in their self-inflicted deaf-muteness. Senator Corker, in defending his bill to abrogate the tariff regime on steel and aluminum, calls it a “cult” that is afraid “to poke the bear” lest the bear will work to defeat them in November’s election. Reports indicate that some 4600 people died as a result of the calamity of the non-response in Puerto Rico. One has to wonder out loud how many Americans will die because the current administration has removed from health insurance companies all responsibility to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions. Similarly, one has to inquire how many children, potentially warehoused in a vacant Walmart in Texas, awaiting their parent’s hearing on their immigration claim, will be scarred for life, whether or not they are finally deported.
Deliberate surgical excision, under the watchful eye of the nation’s media networks, of the vaunted U.S. global “power” as the strongest, and the most honourable democracy on the planet, linked to the deliberate infusion of political steroids into the leadership of Putin, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jin Ping, not to mention Duterte, and the Saudi kingdom, along with the testosterone injection into the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu….offers a cocktail so potent and so toxic that it is casting a pall over watercooler conversations around the globe.
With American suicides up by 25% since 2016, (another piece of reliable information to which the administration turns a deaf ear and a blind eye) and wages remaining stagnant while stock prices zoom through the ceiling and the unemployment falls to under 4% (lowest since 2003), the tourniquet that Robert Mueller is tightening around the neck of the president can not reach its tightest position too soon.
Reason, nuance, civility, morality, political ethics and more than two centuries of American growth and leadership (not always honourable, nor peaceful) are being threatened as if they constituted the “swamp” he has promised to drain. Ironically, it is the precise trump-swamp that demands draining. Everything the man tweets, speaks, touches and orders is so tainted with fundamental noxious evil; and it appears that only he and his family (in the loose political sense, including Guiliani et al) are rooted in their blindness, cheered from the “peanut gallery” of the heartland, and financed by the behemoths of the HARD RIGHT.
Sorry to be a voice “crying” like another “john” in the wilderness!