At last! Good news!
How’s that, you say. You’re wondering what universe I refer to after having just seen the most absurd, disgraceful excuse for a Presidential debate in the history of the Republic.
It’s got to be something else, something that happened that you missed that will lessen the seeping shame and bilious nausea you feel, the sense of having been personally defiled by that dirty, grotesque mud wrestle you can’t unsee, as you can’t a gross, invasive image generated by a sick flasher or fatal accident.
But no… In a larger sense—and the only one that matters—the good news is the grisly thing itself, the “debate”, the source and cause of your disgust and revulsion. Understand: this is not to invalidate the only appropriate response to the woeful spectacle of two shallow, hollow, blithering cyphers, mewling and puking on each other.
There could be no other sane response to that.
The good news is not in what they did or what they are: the good news is that by their clownish, degraded Lucha Libre hog-rassle they have exposed openly, indisputably, the obscene charade our political system has evolved into: a stark horror that craftier, more elegant behavior and smoother, more amiable burlesques, have kept hidden from the American people for generations.
We are a blinded, despised, bamboozled people. To keep us so is the purpose and intent of the system that rules us. From its beginnings, America was a Capitalist racket run on manipulation and exploitation of its people. From Shea’s Rebellion to Citizens United it has jammed one vicious, rank perversion of justice after another down our throats. Lincoln knew better—as his letters reveal—than to laud a government of, by, and for the people.
The job of Presidents, Congress, and the nomenklatura of the Deep State has been to keep the great mass of Americans completely oblivious to the Capitalist Tyranny that owns them.
Our “leaders” are trained to present a wholesome, ideal image of the nation, using the deep hunger of the ignorant and powerless to identify with a heroic, victorious force to bind their loyalty in the brazen face of their endless betrayal, feeding them poison exceptionalism instead of the nurture proper to a civilized state.
While their bought employees in elected offices composed and sang hymns of deception to the gullible people, the Capitalist oligarchs and combines devised and implemented means and methods to simultaneously steal and sell the natural bounty of the land that belongs to all for their gain, to create legal mazes to abuse, degrade and pauperize labor, and to kill its every attempt to defend itself with unified power.
Labor history in America is a bitter saga of brutal repression and violent reaction by Capitalism and its legal and illegal military/police gestapos against the lives and well-being of working people. And Federal propaganda has schooled workers to bow and be grateful for it. And most are.
If that were all Capitalism had done, it would be a civilizational crime as massive as any in human history but it’s only one part, and a lesser one, of its dark and devious malignity.
Beyond the crippling damage done to its own, it has enslaved and brutalized the world’s people with its raging, insatiable voracity, violated and destroyed the greater part of wild nature, and shattered whole countries of simple, peasant people with its diabolical War Machine.
Perhaps as criminal as anything it has done is to have cauterized the consciences of Americans to the point that they view our rape and destruction of other peoples with indifference.
This is a short list of what the criminally deceptive dignity and decorum of our governmental process has covered. This litany of intentional, cynical evil is what generations of Presidents vetted and empowered by the Capitalist oligarchy that owns the parties have brought us.
This is where those poised, genteel figureheads, from the cornfed, homespun Main Street lingo of Truman, who atomic bombed Japan, and Eisenhower, who sold us to the Military-Industrial Complex and then warned us about it, to the Oxbridge S’uthrun drawl of Clinton who oversaw the charnel house of Serbian race murder and the disease deaths of half a million Iraqi kids, and the elegant Harvard glosses and locutions of Obama, who lulled and soothed us through eight years of unrestrained mayhem and murder around the world.
So… good news? You goddam betcha! Because this sick farce, televised to the astonishment and consternation of any but the most hopeless morons, has shown by its ugliness, its vacuity, its sheer, unredeemed stupidity, the naked truth of the pit of human folly and incompetence into which American politics has sunk.
That these two contemptible specimens are standard bearers of parties jousting for our votes has ripped the decayed masks off the oligarchy and shown what a barrenly empty, dirty game American polity is, and how stupid, cowardly and false is the system and its owners, who put faith, trust, and money on these sorry, blowhard Punch and Judy puppets.
And if this pageant of imbecility and buffoonery in its supreme vulgarity can awaken Americans to their reality there can be no better news than that.
Without a major revolution in this country—not minor eruptions in city streets, squares and shopping malls, which cuts no serious ice and invites its own defeat, but in the minds and hearts of Americans—this country cannot stagger on much longer before chaotic meltdown. What we still have is far too sick and rotten and moribund to continue.
A new consciousness is the key to a survivable future.
The blinders are off now. The gruesome thing has shown what it is. And there are none so blind as those who will not see.
Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana. He can be reached at: email@example.com
First published by ICH
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.
A related video:
How America Got Divorced from Reality: Christian Utopias, Anti-Elitism, Media Circus | Kurt Andersen
Produced by Big Think
How America Got Divorced from Reality: Christian Utopias, Anti-Elitism, Media Circus Watch the newest video from Big Think: https://bigth.ink/NewVideo Join Big Think Edge for exclusive videos: https://bigth.ink/Edge ———————————————————————————-
Since a boat of religious fanatics with buckles on their hats hit the shores near Plymouth Rock and claimed that this was their utopia, America has always been a little bit crazy. It’s this kind of wide-eyed “anything can happen if you believe” mentality that, at its best, can produce incredible art.
But at its worst, it can be cruel and conspiratorial. We live in a country where people refuse to believe vaccination can help you and where a White House is spinning “alternative — but Kurt Andersen is here to say that this is nothing now.
At the time of the Civil War, society had become split by two sides that refused to listen to each other. Back then, the political and social divide is stoked by a hyperbolic partisan media where anyone could publish whatever they wanted in a pamphlet without fact-checking.
Sound familiar? It definitely should. Kurt’s latest book is appropriately titled Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire. ———————————————————————————-
KURT ANDERSEN: Kurt Andersen, host of Studio 360 on NPR, is a journalist and the author of the novels Hey Day, Turn of the Century, The Real Thing, and his latest non-fiction book Fantasyland:
How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History. He has written and produced prime-time network television programs and pilots for NBC and ABC, and co-authored Loose Lips, an off-Broadway theatrical revue that had long runs in New York and Los Angeles. He is a regular columnist for New York Magazine, and contributes frequently to Vanity Fair. He is also a founder of Very Short List.
Andersen began his career in journalism at NBC’s Today program and at Time, where he was an award-winning writer on politics and criminal justice and for eight years the magazine’s architecture and design critic. Returning to Time in 1993 as editor-at-large, he wrote a weekly column on culture.
And from 1996 through 1999 he was a staff writer and columnist for The New Yorker. He was a co-founder of Inside.com, editorial director of Colors magazine, and editor-in-chief of both New York and Spy magazines, the latter of which he also co-founded.
From 2004 through 2008 he wrote a column called “The Imperial City” for New York (one of which is included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2008). In 2008 Forbes. com named him one of The 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media.
Anderson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and is a member of the boards of trustees of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Pratt Institute, and is currently Visionary in Residence at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He lives with his family in New York City. ———————————————————————————-
Kurt Andersen: Americans have always been magical thinkers and passionate believers in the untrue. We were started by the Puritans in New England who wanted to create and did create a Christian utopia and theocracy as they waited for the eminent second coming of Christ and the end of days.
And in the south by a bunch of people who were convinced, absolutely convinced that this place they’d never been was full of gold just to be plucked from the dirt in Virginia and they stayed there looking and hoping for gold for 20 years before they finally faced the facts and the evidence and decided that they weren’t going to get rich overnight there.
So that was the beginning.
And then we’ve had centuries of buyer-beware charlatanism to an extreme degree and medical quackery to an extreme degree and increasingly exotic extravagant implausible religions over and over again from Mormonism to Christian Science to Scientology in the last century.
And we’ve had this antiestablishment “I’m not going to trust the experts, I’m not going to trust the elite” from our character from the beginning.
Now all those things came together and were super-charged in the 1960s when you were entitled to your own truth and your own reality. Then a generation later when the Internet came along, giving each of those realities, no matter how false or magical or nutty they are, their own kind of media infrastructure.
We had entertainment, again for the last couple hundred years, but especially in the last 50 years permeating all the rest of life, including Presidential politics from John F. Kennedy through Ronald Ragan to Bill Clinton.
So the thing was set up for Donald Trump to exploit all these various American threads and astonishingly become president, but then you look at this history and it’s…