I (used to) cuss a lot. I mean, like the veteran/sailor/working class hero I was. …and pretty loudly. …and often. It just came naturally. And that was before I started following politics. Cussing at the politicians on teevee is as American as it gets, and there’s usually plenty to cuss about. Turning thirty-something and having kids changed what my wife had been unable to, and things cleaned up considerably.
Then George W Bush came along. That was challenging. Obama calmed things, making civility ‘cool’ again. Then came Trump, and COVID, and Russia/Ukraine. (I know I’m missing your favorite crisis.) For some reason, I’m NOT a bundle of expletives, a red-faced, screaming wacko. I’m sure my new grandchild has something to do with it. But for all that’s going tits-up in the world right now, I’m oddly calm. I don’t understand. As a certified ‘news junkie’, I still spend most of my waking hours ‘consuming media’ of one kind or another, carefully cataloging outrage, but I seem to have gone numb.
A quick review of ‘the Trump situation’ reveals it has metastasized into an existential crisis to the very Republic. Trump is a thug, a quintessential American Crime Lord, the ‘teflon don’ of legend. Baked in the crucible of New York politics and bizness, he commands what he wishes by hidden means and Black Magic. The Darkness has almost complete control of the Republican Party and is busily stealing what it cannot win in open combat. COVID is a global tragedy, the USA’s response has been pitiful to almost 1,000,000 dead in two years, and, due to our inability to agree on a shared reality as a country, will assuredly get worse before it gets better. Russia is, well, Putin, Europe’s most deadly curse since Hitler. Treated like a statesman, he’s in reality a KGB thug, head of an ex-KGB thug crime syndicate that, well, owns and runs everything.
Of COURSE there’s more. You can’t be a modern news junkie without dealing with existential despair on a daily basis. And that’s my point (I think). We are overloaded. The bastards are winning, and this is what it feels like. Politically, socially, economically, things are worse than they’ve been in a long, long time, are getting worse by the day, and we, the American news consumer, have gone numb. Like we’ve been whacked up ‘the side of the head with a cosmic 2×4. We fight among ourselves over tribal trivia or football, while the Nation’s wealth and vitality drain steadily into the coffers of ‘teh elite’. When one is working to survive, the more you work, the less time you have to complain. When we’re busy fighting over personal ‘freedom’ and perceiving each other as enemies, we can’t work together against our COMMON oppressors.
I’m turning 71 soon. I play with my 2yo grandson and wonder, what the fuck am I leaving him? How dare I feed him to the Matrix of a country, or world, with so little hope? As my own two taught me in their own time, a parent doesn’t ‘protect’ kids; we ‘prepare’ them. I am presently unclear exactly what to prepare him for.
Things are bad, my Kosnic friends. Worse than they’ve been in a long time, maybe forever. I plead ‘guilty’ for missing the cues when they came around, for giving the pols the benefit of the doubt. We, Americans to the left of Trump, were (are being) hoodwinked, and the perps are hiding in plain sight, but hiding none-the-less. There is, indeed, a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’, and it has been hard at work AT LEAST since the Reign of St. Ronnie in the 80s. There have been articles and books about this conspiracy, naming names and dates. But the puppeteers, the rich elite pulling the strings, always remain hidden and out of sight (…therefore, out of mind). Over the decades, they’ve built up the basic building blocks of empire; ‘think tanks’, media and paid-for pols. Laws were changed to favor the elite at the expense of the populace, culminating in the most important achievement since the invention of email; the ‘Citizens United’ decision, which gave corporations rights formerly reserved for citizens. Dark and Foreign money now controls our electoral process, mostly by a stranglehold on capital, media and Politics. ‘Foreign’ money is code for ‘those non-American entities who would do us harm but are too chickenshit to be up front about it’.
See what I mean? You can’t even list the stuff without coming across as crazy. My beloved first-born, now a 35 year old mother herself, likes to study ancient history, but eschews current events. We recently moved across the country to her very neighborhood. Cool beans. Now she must listen to my rants and raves, and when she visits, CNN is usually on in the background. The beginnings of our morning’s conversation went something like this…
‘So things sound pretty bad, considering the last time I had time to check, Bush was president.’
‘Actually, honorable daughter, things have gotten worse since then.’
‘You’re kidding, right?’
Then, of course, two-year-old runs in with both dogs, muddy from head to toes.
‘Good conversation, Dad. …but fuck!’
Great kid. Not far from the tree the apple falls.
Thanks for listening.
Sometimes, you just gotta’ rant.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.