I liken the current crop of Americans — everyone born since, say, the end of WWII — to several generations of mindless trust-fund kids. We act as if we worked to achieve something great, when from an objective perspective this is complete horseshit; all we’ve done is fortuitously “choose” our shared place of birth, with our forebears having done all the work to get us to where we are.
Make no mistake, I feel incredibly lucky to have been born here and to live here. With almost no exceptions, I feel physically comfortable and safe every moment of every day, have never wanted for food or shelter even in lean times, and have never been under the direct threat of harm from the government or any other organized entity.
At the same time, we’re basically like the one kid in the privileged family who, instead of using his station and what he was given to propel himself further forward, still manages to act like a leering moron most of the time. Yeah, he’s got a degree from a good school and makes good money and has a circle of friends, but most people who meet him recognize that he’s a bumbling, spiteful frat-boy with a silver spoon hanging out of his ass and becoming more tarnished by the day.
There is nothing inherently wonderful, wise, or progressive about Americans as a whole. No country similar to the U.S. socioeconomically has a sizable fraction of people eager to embrace incredibly stupid concepts and practices. You won’t find any prosperous nations besides this one where an astonishing percentage of the population believes in, among various other forms of obvious horseshit, biblical creationism. I’m not sure how we rate versus other countries in the areas of anti-vaccination loons, anti-ESCR, and related solecisms, but I’m guessing we’re not far in front of the puttering sag wagon in those races either.
I say this now because when I was a kid, and a young adult, an even a slightly older young adult, the notion of white supremacists being not only tolerated by courted by our government would have been, at best, the punch line of a joke. Racism and racial animus have, of course, always been alive and well and not just in the hearts and minds of the yokelbillies that make such easy targets of rhetorical attacks. But somehow we’ve gotten to a point where the press is honestly inviting us to consider whether people who organize their entire lives around supremacist and separatist movements might not be so bad, or different, after all.
I don’t believe that a national leader needs to be robotically somber or a genius in every way or magically free of the tendency to wander toward impulsive or unjustified decisions. But I don’t think such a person should be a crass, unfailingly dishonest, hypersenstive egomaniac whose intellect is so obviously compromised that he’s either on the border of clinical retardation or demented or both. (Donald Trump is allegedly a teetotaler, but it would actually be something of a relief to learn that high doses booze or some other psychoactive treat are responsible for his tragicomic levels of mental dysfunction; if this were true, there would at least be a plausible solution to his woes.)
This isn’t another indictment of Trump per se. He is never going to quit shitting and pissing in his own series of nests, like a morose but energetic overfed raccoon that has learned to lumber about on its hind legs. It’s just a reflection on what a howl it is to see anyone observe, truthfully, that this is or ever could be the greatest country in the world. That is never going to happen. It is precisely the USA’s riches combined with its vast geographical size that foment the persistence of dumb ideas that should have withered into dust a very long time ago. Americans in the middle of crusty-assed nowhere have cable television and the Internet, but most of them use these tools only to further dull their already blunted minds. That a man like Trump, or a number of lesser government luminaries much like him, can get up on a dais and lie to these people and impress them with the brains he so plainly lacks is a disheartening and devastating blow to the notion that the U.S. is a world leader in everything that matters. Not even the rosiest America nationalist believes this shit if she is honest and learned.
I’m with the growing number of everyday observers who have plain given up on the idea of consensus, or the power of conversation to achieve mutual agreement or compromise, or whatever. Maybe I never really believed this was true in the first place; I’m not the only one who was using phrases like “There’s no getting through to those people” many years before the first act of the current shit-show was underway. But there is no denying the truth of the matter of Trump’s remaining unwavering supporters, especially Evangelicals. I’m talking not about people who dismissively say “Better him that that sniveling bitch he ran against,” but about those who actually like him, and do nothing but point at the results of the election when anyone challenges the idea that Trump is a mean-spirited idiot with idiot adult children who will surely die without a single genuine friend in the world.
All of those people can eat shit. If the more florid Republican plans actually become policy, those people will probably suffer a lot more than I and those around me will, and so will their kids. And I no longer care. Since this is, as I noted, a very large and diverse nation, I have the choice every day to simply avoid people I don’t like. Even venting my spleen online like this, as I do more than regularly, is a luxury. As I see it, this is a perhaps predictable (and that’s easy to say now) result of a society in which large numbers of people sit excitedly before shows like “Survivor” believing they are watching the height of unscripted human ingenuity and leadership achievement. Maybe, in a country where hundreds of people land in ERs with serious injuries every July 4 alone thanks to detonating explosives in their own hands and faces for fun, all of this was not only possible but unavoidable.