Chances are, if you get punched in the face, you know why. If you don’t, you’ll probably exclaim something along the lines of, “What the hell did you do that for?” Maybe the person hitting you will tell you. Maybe they will just hit you again, at which point it’s time to decide if you’re going to fight back. For a brief period after liberal America was punched in the face by the 2016 election, this was a chance for some honest debate. Yet for as many people, both on and off the screen, asking Why?, it seemed nobody actually wanted to talk about the real issues facing America that caused this sort of voter revolt.

Instead, time passed and the liberal media decided to point the finger at Russia.1 This is quite handy, considering the fault primarily rests in our national discourse and the incompetent political class that stops short of acting in any representational—or even responsible—manner.

None of this is surprising to me, however it has been demoralizing enough to which I can barely be entertained by political conversation anymore.

Time Is A Flat Circle

In April of 2004, during the height of an election season where George W Bush was already pretty reviled, CBS News reported on the atrocities that took place at Abu Ghraib prison. Shocked and horrified, I was at least content in knowing that surely this would sink the Bush re-election campaign. Seven months later I sat thinking about that on a living room floor in Georgia, watching CNN call the election for W. The news has always had a cycle, however it wasn’t until this moment when I realized how truly important it was.

Even though we’re not even 15 years from that moment, it nevertheless seems like a different time.2 The news is no longer a hose pouring out information and waiting for the ripple effect; it’s a downpour over the ocean where the ripples and waves just all blend together as if they’re just waiting to drown you in the beauty of chaos.

While journalists are still mostly boots-on-the-ground types, the media is still a major industry controlled by a select few board rooms. The upstart digital world, currently looking over a financial cliff, is largely backed by venture capital (which will, hopefully soon, face a reckoning of its own). And at the end of the day, money rules all in America.

What capitalism has wrought is a succession of pivotal social institutions—governance, health and safety, communication—completely in the pocket of a few select interests by way of lobbying, oversight or direct influence. The roles available in these institutions come with preset excuses: Gotta pay the mortgage or That’s the job are my favorites, with Everybody answers to someone being especially great when a politician says it. Within a few syllables, each individual abstains from responsibility concerning the system they are a part of and contribute to the perpetuation of, be it a news director, a Facebook engineer, an advertising executive or a Congressional representative.

The shield of accountability, propped up by these excuses, exists in class. Money is the last remaining symbol of true power in America: everything can be bought.3 As evidence for reform piles up, the powerful merely disregard what doesn’t benefit them as Fake News. The nature of reality for the non-wealthy is being drawn—again—on ideological lines by the wealthy to distract from the ever-increasing disparity in this world.

Disrepair

The extent of the damage unchecked capitalism has done will not be realized for some time, yet we are at least now living in an era where this villain no longer wears a mask. Donald Trump is no different than Bill Clinton, except for the fact Clinton was a more affable liar. Both are power-hungry sexual predators that worked largely to benefit themselves and the class they live in, regardless of the damage inflicted to the rest of us.4

We live in a time where the majority of people—not just Americans, or the ‘middle class’, etc.—are being repeatedly punched in the face by the school bully, asking for the rest of our lunch money, regardless of the fact he’s already got a seven-course meal and most of our money since the beginning of the year. This isn’t about any singular issue like taxes, soft money or Citizens United. It is that capitalism has swallowed the entire democratic process and is actively dismantling our public sector while using purchased power to destroy reforms meant to protect us from invented disaster.

There is no fix, there will be no great neoliberal or technocratic solution. Any Silicon Valley-based ‘answer’ will merely be a smokescreen for more power, more money, and more consolidation of it. The major parties are in shambles because neither truly stands for anything. While the 2018 midterms will likely be a referendum on the Trump administration, we’ve seen this movie before.

Real challenges ahead: climate change, physical and digital infrastructure issues, policing, immigration. Shit, even the planet is slowing down, maybe as a clue to us all. Yet these assholes in power keep letting the record skip when it comes to social progress, punching the world in the face because That’s the way things are.5

At some point, we’re either going to get beaten to death or take a swing back.

      Footnotes
  • I am not saying Russia didn’t play a role in spreading propaganda, but given the United States’ history of meddling in the ‘democratic process,’ it’s hard for me to imagine Russia doing anything other than trying to fuck with US elections. The fact this would surprise some people is more shocking to me.
  • Anybody who says they miss George W Bush is still an asshole, though. Don’t forgive the devil just because he looks different now.
  • Only time exceeds money in terms of power, which people like Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstien and Louis CK are figuring out right about now. Yet these watershed moments of reckoning injustice are temporary. Rosa Parks saying Nah is an emblematic moment of progress, yet to look at the modern battle over Civil Rights, that bus becomes a pretty big metaphor.
  • Clinton—and Democratic Party—apologists who would say something like He wasn’t bad, just look at (insert Republican name) need to be reminded it was Clinton’s continuation of Reaganomics in deregulating markets like housing that caused the 2008 financial crisis. But sure, the 90s were cool or something.
  • Matt Christman of Chapo Trap House coined that we are now living in Hellworld, and he wouldn’t be wrong about that.

Posted to Social at 11:52 on 20 November 2017

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