Ah, the joys and freedom in behaving like a toddler when we’re in well into our 50s. Casting aside all sense of accountability and pointing to the heavens, or this in this case, Palm Beach, Florida, and saying – Trump made me do it.
Who knew that Politics was a cult? Headed by a charismatic leader who with a few words, a few tweets, a few mind-numbing rallies and voila, all sorts of responsibilities vanish, as blame it directed elsewhere.
God, I wish I knew of this 40 years ago. All the regret and guilt experienced for failing to live up to my expectations could have been done away with. A free pass to a place that had previously existed only in my dreams.
January 6 was not a day that will live in infamy, but simply a blip on the quixotic radar of political life. A moment when thousands of people, supported by millions of others, felt it was their duty to strip our Democracy down, right a wrong that cannot be seen, let alone proven, and stomp around (and in some cases, on others) while shouting Stop the Steal, like a bunch of preschoolers pissed off for not getting their Ring-Dings and chocolate milk for snack time.
And instead of reflecting about their behavior as a group; instead of looking at the recent past while it’s still fresh in their minds and thinking – how can we right this - they’ve begun formulating policy changes that will enable certain state legislatures to claim the noble right of a Do-Over and erase the results of a legally held election.
Do away with the votes cast by their citizens and while gathering in the lunchroom like a bunch of fourth-grade anarchists, empower themselves to install a new result. Just like Uncle Joe did in Russia all those years ago. Just like Adolf did in Germany all those years ago and with these classic examples of democratic rule, impose the same reign of shit on these United States.
Who knew that a snicker and a sneer could bring about such relief as politicians swing for the fences and claim their right to doubt the efficacy of anything and everything that they disagree with?
That a political party could contort themselves like Houdini’s mistress and instead of feeling just a tad contrite about claiming universal fraud, when 4,172 lawsuits failed to make a dent against the truth, they continue waving flags, shouting lies and acting like the pants around their respective ankles are and has always been, an intended fashion statement.
What a sense of empowerment they must feel, both young and old alike, as they talk of cabals and illicit pizza parlors and pacts with the devil, while never, not even once, having to ensure that their words made any sense whatsoever.
Like a four-year-old stating calmly at dinner, me want to smoke weed, like Daddy does in the garage every night.
American Politics is on the cusp. What’s just beyond that edge; the darkness staring up from the abyss, depends on how we act over the coming months.
Whether you agree with President Biden or not, there’s little doubt that at least whatever he is thinking and doing is coming across like someone who spent more than three minutes figuring it out. Who put more thought into one campaign promise than the previous administration spent during their four years of playing the political version of What’s My Line?
During President Trump’s Reign of Error, decisions that impacted millions of lives were dispensed with during snack time in the Oval Office. One can almost see the grease stains on the executive orders, as climate change was re-categorized into fairy tale status.
Tax breaks pushed through that were crafted by former kings, queens, dukes, despots and warring tribal chiefs reincarnated as CEOs of American industry and technology.
What a joy it was to be able to file a simplified tax return, not having to worry about such things as deductions and mortgage interest and refunds, while all those unnecessary deterrents to simplicity were helpfully shifted over to the corporate side.
Now, talk about joy, I can only image the electrifying feeling rippling through the accounting offices of the Fortune 500 as hundreds of billions were spent buying back stock and bolstering their prices so that the elite of America could fulfill their fiduciary duty to their stockholders.
Claiming well-deserved eight-digit bonuses, while burning kilos of incense at the altar of Citizen’s United and to the justices who had their backs.
The Devil Made Me Do It
When I was a child doing childish things, I heard the admonition of – The Devil Made Me Do It – and understood the weakness that it was said to manifest and the loss of integrity it warned against. I thought it best to keep my own counsel and live a life where the devil played as little a role in it as possible.
But today, with the advent of social media, social distancing and the anonymity of the Internet, the Devil has lost his position at the head of the table. He has lost the aura of evil that hovered directly above him through the millennia, while alerting billions of souls that he was nearby and watching.
Today, there is a new devil in town. Who wears an expensive suit or designer dress; bespoke loafers or Jimmy Chu high heels and looks just like your neighbor, your friend or your congresswoman.
Who, like any self-respecting demon, is fluid in speech, short in memory and flexible wherever truth or justice are said to live.
An otherwise upstanding individual who believes that politics is a religion. And like every other religion, open to misconception, misunderstanding and the misassignment of virtues that are better left outside the chambers, where the real business of life takes place.
The truth, is that Trump did make them do it. Those who followed, sold their souls for a few more years at the government trough. Saw reality as a suggestion and when confronted with the inevitable blowback from newly woke citizens, shifted gears and allegiances.
The danger though, is that Trump is just a prototype. The first version off the assembly line – tested for four years and though failing the ultimate test – re-election – is no doubt being redesigned in backrooms and corporate offices throughout America.
And while version 2.0 is being readied, what will the rest of us do, with those who thought anarchy was something worth trying. And democracy, a cool concept, but in need of a makeover.
Bad people should not be something relegated to Sunday School lectures or spoken of only in third-world terms. Bad people look good. Dress well, have money, have ambitions, and live next door.
Trump proved to all of us that a good liar can go far. A good liar can change a lot of good people’s minds and make them believe what shouldn’t be.
Biden is not a savior, just a decent man who’s giving us a decent chance at resetting our democracy. Waiting for him to do it all is counterproductive. It took over 80 million voters to get him elected. That sounds about the right number of people who need to help to get things right.
Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. George Bernard Shaw