Eight hours of sleep is like nature’s Berlin Airlift. Yesterday was a low ebb for me, the internet’s tide brought too much burning, stinking flotsam to me and I foolishly swallowed some and let it make me sick. Today I feel more hopeful. Anything I can keep down is mine to use as fuel.
So despite the seemingly relentless series of calamities we’ve seen this spring, I feel like we might have the bastards on the run. Watching the old playbook of division and militarised oppression dusted off and used again has made me incensed, incredulous and deeply weary, but I’ve also seen the outrage/debunk/cope cycle shortened to days. The true outrages remain, burning like a coal fire under our feet and now bursting out in our streets, but the sideshows are revealed as the miserable irrelevancies they are, rather quickly I might add. Tides work both ways and we’re not in 1968 anymore Toto. Because internet.
People lose wars by trying to fight them like the last one: The first Great War was inconceivable slaughter because cavalry-style charges against heavily mechanized gunfire had already become outdated by the civil war. The French built the Maginot Line at great cost expecting a repeat of the trenches, losing in weeks to Blitzkrieg. America went into Vietnam thinking Patton and B-17’s and were driven off by “skinny peasants wearing pajamas.”
Forgive all this martial imagery but our “president” has declared war on his own citizens and the constitution he’d sworn to uphold and protect. He’s ordered “his people” to use tear gas, rubber bullets, Blackhawks and batons to disperse peaceful Americans exercising their 1st amendment rights, while his lackeys practically drool, describing our country as a “battlespace”. Forces designed to protect us from external threats are being politically appropriated and turned into an internal one.
In an unprecedented response, multiple four-star generals and admirals, former joint chiefs of staff and the president’s own former secretary of defense have called this out for the dangerous threat to democracy that it is. Imagine Henry Kissinger comparing Nixon’s actions to the Nazis. That’s where we’re at now. Fortunately and sadly, Godwin’s law has been suspended by Godwin himself since 2017.
We know how we got here, papering over the real story from inception so that part of the population could make up a myth about their pluck, aw-shucks luck, perseverance and inherent superiority, and any time anybody questions that, crack down. Hard. Every country has run that con, so once again, it turns out we’re not some shining exception.
We’ve allowed America to become a place where corporations are people, people are considered “human capital stock” and some of that stock gets to operate in more exclusive portfolios, where they present us, in the face of a pandemic, with a Hobson’s choice of “granny or waffle hut” as the way out, or similarly, are basically fine saying: “I’m sorry systemic racism is hurting and killing people but I really would prefer to shop safely thank you.”
So, as bad as it seems right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see continued escalation on 45’s part that leads to more horror and mayhem, I do see many more things arraying against him at this point, with more added every day.
His ugliness reeks of an almost pathetic desperation, like tipping over garbage cans to escape a TV detective in a chase scene. Will it work? Are we really that far gone? By the time you read this we may already have the answer to that, things are moving fast here now. Already I’m seeing cities end their curfews, bowing to the will of a people who wish to protest peacefully and belying any need for invoking the Insurrection Act. I’m also seeing more calls for a thorough review of our policing laws and procedures, all signs that protest works and there is little thirst for brutal, “law and order”style crackdowns.
As for the military, the rank-and-file have received an informal briefing from quite a few of their most respected leaders now, let’s see how that stacks up against the command of El President de Bonespurs.
I shall leave off, again, sink me, with another quote, this one a tad more secular:
Now does he feel
His secret murders sticking on his hands;
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;
Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love: now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.
Macbeth, V ii, William Shakespeare.
Quite. May all our “better angels” prevail.
Andrew Sano was born in Montreal Canada, raised near Seattle in the Pacific Northwest and has spent half of his life in the San Francisco Bay Area in Oakland.
Read Andrew Sano’s previous article here