Friday, September 18, 2020

4 More Years in Hell

Wow, what a 4 years.  It has been so volatile, that I’m obliged to write an opinion piece about it (the last I wrote followed the inauguration of 45, to give an idea as to the frequency of this).  It is an occurrence so rare that it begs the question: why now?

Well, it largely has to do with the hijacking and bastardizing of the Republican party.  A party to which I formerly belonged, once upon a grand ol’ time.  It started, of course, long before Trump with the Tea Party’s infiltration and proliferation within the GOP.  This brought the alt-right fanaticism of the fringe into mainstream politics for the first time, though it was perhaps not as evident then.  It is also at this point that I could no longer call myself a Republican.  The decision to turn my back on the party of my life up to that point has only been reinforced with the election and ongoing administration of Donald Trump, a man so profoundly underqualified for the job to which he has been elected, that all potential humor regarding the situation is blotted out by the terror his ineptitude inspires in intelligent people.

So, how did we get here, you ask?  Well, it’s pretty simple actually.

  1. The status quo felt threatened when oppressed peoples started demanding equal rights, incorrectly interpreting these demands as an infringement of their own rights.
  2. The status quo felt threatened by emerging technologies that they felt might harm their own interests, and by legislation that sought to protect the world from the problems associated with some of those same interests.       
  3. The status quo made a desperate bid to halt the momentum of change, perhaps not realizing that consolidating their allies might bring some folks out of the shadows that probably should have stayed there. 

So, how did it all go down?  Well, after electing a bunch of Tea Party whackos, we elected a ridiculous, wannabe despot who has disrespected and mistreated every pillar of American pride.  Nepotism and greed became the primary methods of his governance, placing almost laughable, and seemingly ironic, figures at the heads of some of our most valued institutions.  We have an EPA chief, for example, who was a vocal opponent of the very organization he now helms, and who remains an avid supporter of the coal industry.  His predecessor, Scott Pruitt, who had to resign in disgrace (as so many of Trump’s cronies ultimately do), has even since registered in Indiana as an energy lobbyist.  How do you reconcile that?  These men were placed in their position deliberately and undeniably to undermine their organization’s effectiveness.  Seven other members of Trump’s inner circle have been indicted on criminal charges (there were zero under Obama, by comparison).  How is this not a red flag? 

A lot of us wonder how we, as a country, have gone so far astray as to elect a celebrity to the Presidency of the United States.  A morally reprehensible, chronic-lying, failed businessman as the leader of the world’s largest economy and most powerful military.  The answer is simply that democracy does not work.  People are not intelligent enough to make decisions for themselves, as evidenced in people’s overwhelming and disheartening susceptibility to misinformation campaigns.  The great political philosopher of the 17th and 18th centuries, Giambattista Vico, who was to become a major inspiration to some of literature’s greatest minds (James Joyce, off the top of my head), argued that a monarchy, not a republic, was the most mature form of government, and one into which all republics are doomed to collapse eventually.  This phenomenon is evidenced amply throughout history, perhaps most notably with the usurpation of power from the Roman Senate by Julius Caesar, whose nephew Octavian would become Rome’s first official Emperor. 

Even Mark Twain recognized this unfortunate cycle:

“Every civilization carries the seeds of its own destruction, and the same cycle shows in them all. The Republic is born, flourishes, decays into plutocracy, and is captured by the shoemaker whom the mercenaries and millionaires make into a king. The people invent their oppressors, and the oppressors serve the function for which they are invented.”        

So, how do we stop it?  Voting, for one.  Unfortunately, as much as young people and minorities complain, and pinky-swear that they are going to vote…they don’t.  They never have, and they never will, despite their assertions to the contrary.  The evidence is clear, and it is what it is.  So maybe we just wait for the ruling class to die off?  They’re old after all.  Sorry, wrong again.  They will just be replaced by a new ruling class who will stand to lose just as much in the wake of any real change, and will therefore oppose it with all their power, and, unlike you, their vote.

So, why are people so susceptible to misinformation in the first place?  Simple, because everyone wants to be smart, though few actually are.  They want to appear as though they have “figured something out” that no one else has, and so they latch onto these insane conspiracy theories and vomit them back out onto social media to impress their equally idiotic and susceptible friends, who then turn around and do the same thing.  They know something that the rest of us don’t, you see?  An indication of their idiocy is inherent in their sharing of other people’s ideas rather than having anything original to say at all.  And, just for the record, here is a short, non-inclusive list of some things that are definitely NOT supported by any legitimate evidence and should therefore be treated as entirely false:

·       Pedophilia Ring - There is no pedophilia ring operated out of Comet Ping Pong by the world’s elite.  One idiot Trumpster already went in there with an assault rifle in search of a basement full of children that, of course, did not exist.  But you did succeed in hurting the reputation of an honest, hard-working, American business owner, and frighten a number of American families who were just out to enjoy some pizza and play games.

·       Masks don’t work - Masks are effective in preventing the spread of COVID.  This is demonstrated by countless studies across the world, including those from prestigious institutions like Stanford, Duke, UC and the CDC.  The list goes on and on.  By not wearing a mask, you are worsening the impact of the virus and preventing us all from going back to normal. 

·       Hydroxychloroquine - Hydroxychloroquine has not been shown to be effective in treating COVID.  It was promising at one point, but, when it failed to deliver, its Emergency Use Authorization was revoked, as it should have been.  So please stop hoarding it so that it remains available for those who actually need it. 

·       Vaccines cause Autism - Vaccines do NOT cause autism.  I can’t believe I even have to say this still.  There is not one single piece of peer-reviewed scientific evidence to justify that ridiculous claim.  There is, however, mountains of legitimate scientific evidence demonstrating their innumerable benefits.

·       Climate Change is fake - Human-driven climate change is not a hoax.  Again, peer-reviewed, scientific research is nearly unanimous here.  If you need further proof, just follow the money (this is America, after all).  Who needs climate change to be fake?  Industries that contribute to it obviously, like Oil & Gas.  It directly affects their bottom line and therefore anything they say on the subject should be taken with the highest degree of skepticism.  Insurance companies, on the other hand, are the ones that have to pay the bill will climate change-driven disasters strike.  Their bottom line depends solely on getting the facts right so that they can accurately forecast weather patterns and charge adequate premiums to cover claims and still turn a profit.  ALL legitimate insurance companies are readjusting their climate models to account for man-made climate change.  All of them.  Follow the money…. again and again, follow the money.  Who has the incentive to lie here????  Let greed be your beacon of truth.  It’s real, and it’s going to get worse.

Let’s stop there for the sake of time, though I could go on for days. 

So, why is Donald Trump’s general ineptitude so dangerous.  First, he has discredited the main stream media.  This is why a lot of you have now turned to alternative news sources that often report false claims.  This is one of the reasons misinformation campaigns are so effective, because people don’t trust legitimate news sources anymore.  Every Coup d’├ętat begins with the discrediting of the media, because the free press is one of the major checks against people in positions in power.  If you want to abuse your position, as Donald Trump has on countless occasions, then you need to first discredit those who might rat you out to the people whose interests you are supposed to be serving.  Mission achieved.  Secondly, he is embroiled in countless scandals, lies constantly, and commits illegal offences openly and with impunity.  There are numerous instances of blatant unconstitutionality within the Trump administration, whether it be using his office to promote his, or his family’s, private business interests, or using tax-payer dollars to fund government-sanctioned activities at his own commercial properties.  This stuff is illegal, guys, why don’t you care?  Why don’t you care that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and is trying to do so again in 2020?  Do you realize that you were the victim of Russian propaganda and misinformation, given that a Trump victory was their ultimate goal?  You who are so enlightened that you see through all the bullshit, like the pedophilia ring that Hillary Clinton helms!  Do you feel smart? 

Next, let’s talk about all you evangelical “Christians” (Note the quotation marks).  Being a person who has read the Bible from cover to cover (and I’m guessing you haven’t), I can say with confidence that Donald Trump is not a Christian.  Donald Trump’s religion is Donald Trump.  He is his own deity in his own monotheistic world.  He is not pro-life, as he dishonestly purports to you who are so yearning to believe, he is pro-Trump.  He is the epitome of atheistic materialism, and would make a fine antagonist in any of the Marquis de Sade’s grotesque novels.  He is libertine in every respect, devoid of any morality and willing to trample all of his supporters under foot if it were beneficial for him to do so.  He does not care about you; he only cares about himself.  His actions are as unchristian as it is possible to be, and yet here you all are with your Trump banners while her tears apart suffering families who are only trying to seek asylum in America from the horrors of their own countries.  Screw them, said Jesus!  That doesn’t sound right to me, but maybe you guys have a different Bible than the one I have?

Finally, let’s talk about who Donald Trump’s supporters really are.  They can be fairly conveniently filed into one of two broad categories, which is where we will stay with regard to this piece, though they could be then subcategorized into perpetuity.  The first category encompasses those sad unfortunates who actually believe in Trump.  They think he is a good leader and they believe what he says.  These poor souls simply lack the brain power necessary to see how foolish they are to be worshipping this golden calf, or should I say orange cow.  Anyone with a brain can see how this man’s statements are in constant contradiction, how his promises never come to fruition, and how his sentences overall seem to lack structure and even sense.  They turn a blind eye to all of this, because they’re dumb, let’s not sugar-coat it.  God bless their simple little hearts.  The next category, unfortunately, is far more dangerous and immoral.  These are folks who know exactly how bad Donald Trump is, but vote for him anyway because they know that he will be better for their personal interests.  These are people who have sold their souls to the devil.  The practitioners of that deadly sin of greed, so revered in the Church to which most of them claim to belong.  They are willing to watch the world burn as long as its from the window of their corner office high above the destruction below.  Take note evangelicals, these are those destined for hell.  Perhaps your simplicity of mind will be forgiven, but I can assure you that their deliberate transgressions against their fellow man will not. 

In conclusion, we’re all doomed.  Sorry for the dire picture.  Donald Trump will likely be reelected in 2020 because democracy is designed to fail us.  Even if he did lose, would he step down?  His supporters are zealots and fanatics, and their minds can’t be changed with reason.  Anything brought against Trump will be denied, and that denial will be supported by some conspiracy nonsense from the internet.  There is an endless font of justification on the internet that can be called to action in support of any evil, no matter how vile or obvious.  I’d tell you to vote, but you probably won’t.  And I can tell you that every Trump supporter is likely to be the first in line.

Get ready for 4 more years of hell.