Every presidential election (or primary) needs a clown prince... a court jester... a “fool”. The ones that don't are bland and boring – c'mon, admit it! There's nothing like a “colorful”, if hopeless, candidate to lend color and interest to what is, in our time, a predictably inane process. It sort of calls up what little remains of the American tendency toward crankiness and contrariness – to never quite “behave” in the way expected by our betters.
The one filling the role this time around seems to be Donald Trump, unless another contender appears. What is Trump's sin? Basically, saying what everyone else is thinking but doesn't dare say. This is also known as a “gaffe”, except in Trump's case it is anything but offhand and incidental. While other Republican candidates are walking on eggs, afraid of offending anybody for any reason, Trump is telling it like it is (or like he believes it is), and this has made everyone in the Republican establishment nervous. For, after all, don't we have a long history of third party or quasi-third party candidates acting as “spoilers”? Why, Trump could “blow it” for everyone else – for, that is, the ever-expanding list of Republican candidates, ranging from those who don't stand a chance to those who do stand a chance to be nominated, but don't stand a chance of being elected. The Republican field calls to mind the line in the Aretha Franklin song, “Chain chain chain, chain of fools” -- but at least Trump has decided that he has nothing to lose by saying what he really thinks on various issues. And this is refreshing – just as any instance of wandering off the Regime's reservation is refreshing. That brief, shining moment of “telling it like it is”, to be followed – as always – by the bland, gray, depressing reality of “the new boss, just like the old boss”. Unlike the colorful and picturesque Trump, the gray blandness of Jeb Bush seems ideally suited for the Republican campaign next year – and ideally suited to lose. And, just as with Romney, everyone will be wondering “What happened?” What happened was that you nominated a gray face in a gray suit – poor competition for the Democrats, who seem pretty good at coming up with colorful, if profoundly corrupt, characters. (And maybe the color and the corruption go together; this certainly seems to be what Louisiana voters believed for many decades.)
I discussed “inevitability” in a previous post, referring especially to Hillary Clinton. She is, basically, poised to eat any and all Republican candidates for lunch, no matter their support, funding, or how they appear in the polls. The reasons are quite simple. She has demographics on her side. She has close to fifty percent of the citizenry (and non-citizens) who will vote Democratic no matter what, and she also has a party that is highly skilled and experienced in stealing elections (despite their disgraceful failures in 2000 and 2004). Plus, her constituency is the very segment of the American population that is increasing in number (despite her support for abortion on demand – a convenient irony, if you will), whereas the Republican constituency is the segment that is decreasing, and on the path to ultimate extinction. So yes, the Republicans remain a factor in state and local elections, but they are “history” when it comes to the presidency. And I'm not saying that this is either a bad or a good thing – it's just the way things are. After all, haven't the Republicans successfully taken over the Democrat mantle as “the war party”? And aren't they co-conspirators in virtually every attempt to increase the size and scope of government? The only thing lacking among the Republicans is “compassion” -- for aliens, minorities (both racial and sexual), the disenfranchised, women, and all other certified victim groups. They are, basically, standing in the way of socialist Utopia, where all will be liberated, free, and not threatened by expressions of “hate”, “triggers”, and “micro-aggression”. Who could possibly object to that?
Yes, I know – some of you are still worried about the Democrats/liberals/socialists gnawing away at the fabric of society... making America something other than what is once was... reducing us to second-class citizenship in the world... and so on. All I have to say about that is that, from the very founding, this country was sitting on a time bomb of its own making – a world view characterized by materialism, secularism, and “humanism”. The United States of America was intended to be a Masonic Utopia, which it was, I suppose, for a season (at least until Andrew Jackson appeared on the scene). But then strange, threatening things started to happen. We had the influx of Irish Catholics fleeing the Famine (which was, at least indirectly, an expression of British colonial policy). Then we had liberated blacks after the Civil War. Then we had the vast numbers of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe in the late 1800s. And so on. How are you supposed to have, and maintain, a WASP Utopia if you also have open borders (not to mention industrialists who need cheap labor)? (If this sounds familiar, that's because it is.) So the original intent of America was compromised – not from the start, but soon after. We had to tolerate all of this rabble... these Catholics... these garlic-eaters... in order to, somehow, keep the American Experiment on track. So America became diversified, and “multi-” pretty much everything. But the old guard remained in charge, for generations... and yet now even that dominance is starting to weaken. (A corporate CEO these days is just as likely to have an Italian, Arab, or Indian name as an old-line Yankee name. Most of the Huntington Biffington IV's are now in the State Department, where they can pursue their elitist and basically brain-dead (due to inbreeding) lifestyle free from the unwashed who lack Ivy League diplomas and trust funds.)
Let's not get too excited about this, though. White guys are still in charge – maybe not WASPs in the strict sense, but certainly following in their footsteps. “Honorary WASPs”, let's call them. And you might say -- “But, but – don't we have a black president?” Yeah, right. Have you noticed that, despite all of the populist rhetoric, he remains an abject servant of Wall Street and the money power? And anyone who follows him will suffer the same fate; they wouldn't be allowed to take office if they weren't already completely co-opted. Sure, they're allowed to talk populist talk, but when it comes to the bottom line, they follow orders from the corporate and banking world, the armaments makers, the EU, and Israel, which together constitute what I call the Cabal. (If you are thinking, “Why didn't he include the Evangelicals?” it's because they are hapless dupes, and not really in charge of anything. Their alleged political power is illusory; they serve as a cheering section and nothing more.)
This is simply the way things are, and it's useless to fight it, or pretend things are any other way. After all, there are worse things than living under the rule of the Cabal, or Regime. (Anyone for the Khmer Rouge? How about the Red Guard? The Cheka? Let's be thankful for small favors.)
Yes, it's true that our Masonic Utopia, which seems to be slowly turning into green slime like some monster in a horror film, is not the worst of all possible worlds. Catholics, in particular, have to be satisfied with being second-class citizens, but maybe it's better than being a first-class citizen in Sicily, who knows? The point – for people who consider themselves “persons of principle” rather than “pragmatists” -- is not just standard of living or quality of life, but a real, profound sense of freedom. Do we have it, or is it just an illusion? Are we skating on thin ice all of the time, only pretending that it's something solid? It's easy enough to find out the answer when some government agency like the IRS or the EPA knocks on your door – then you find out you don't have any more rights than some hapless citizen in a totalitarian society.
But if freedom is an illusion, does that mean that freedom at all times and in all places is an illusion? Does it mean that we were never free? I think it means that if, on any given day, you can do pretty much as you please as long as it doesn't harm others, you are free in fact if not in principle. I doubt if the citizens of any society, past or present, have ever been free in principle – there are always restrictions, and not only “reasonable” ones but ones designed to perpetuate the power structure. One might say that if there is a power structure – that is, if the society is anything but purely anarchistic – that is, if it's a coherent “society” at all – that that power structure will seek to perpetuate itself and increase its power. This is, it seems, inevitable – and it may be one (or the main) reason why, with a relatively ancient continuum of government, we find ourselves where we are today. Historically, 239 years is not a long time – but for a single system, government, or regime, it's a very long time – time enough for anything with a half-life to have decayed into nothingness. Any governmental system, no matter how well-intentioned or originally benign, will tend to accrete power unto itself, and what this implies is that there is a natural life expectancy to any form of government, after which it ceases to be based on principles and winds up based solely on politics and raw power. And it's not as if we didn't have ample precursors to this in our history, starting with the Civil War or before. It's just that, for whatever reason, the decline has been slow (agonizingly so, according to the radicals). It was about culture and moral habits, which served us well in the past, but which are now being overcome, and again, there is an air of inevitability about it all. Could this Utopia have gone on forever? Perhaps it was just too contrary to human nature. In any case, the emperor has now been exposed in all of his naked splendor – starting with, I would say, Vietnam. If we are sustaining ourselves more and more on illusion and less and less on reality, then it's really just a matter of time before the entire structure comes crashing down, and the time for illusions is over.