From Memewars by Bo Rama Took a final trip to Poppy the other day. He said, “I ran contra dictions.” We chuckled. I told him I’d be seeing Jim. He said to give him his final regards. Silence for traditional introspection. We shared a tender reptilian tear. Something in the way he was looking at me just then seemed sexual, or as if he didn’t want me to forget he could have me in that way. Or for lunch. Literally. The signal was supplanted by an insecure personal projection: It was superior the way 41 waged his wars — in Central and South America and the Middle East and places unknown — compared to how I had merely steered them with technology he’d helmed the development of one way or another for a generation, and even then only by way of the powers bestowed upon me by his seed in 43. But that look disappeared in that reflection and its replacement glimpse let me know that I had served well. Or, at least, the best I could. He gave me parting advice: “If you wanna really relish retirement, never stop playing the game. Sure, let down your hair, but only in putting on airs. Speak as if you’re speaking frankly.” Me, as if giving it an immediate go for his approval, “I can, uh, assure you… let me be clear…” I choked up a little, then I said, “Can we really be friends?” And him, without missing a beat, “Yes, we can.” It doesn’t get any more almost real than that. Now, I don’t actually play chess. Still, pretending to drop kayfabe in feigned ignorance of the kayfabe of the kayfabing opposition is a four-dimensional game at least. I suppose you might think this easy once one’s operating only in raking-it-in mode, reaping the rewards of a post presidency, but I can tell you that in some circles — circles the most ignorant and shallow of my adherents do not travel in, or will ever read about — they marvel at the brilliance of the affected lack of self-awareness of my tongue-in-cheekiness. That’s enough for me. To know that it is the likes of Baker & the Bushes and, by extension, I who belong on the money. To make sure kids have a chance to go to charter schools, that is. You think that last bit was a tell — like, he only at that moment realised amidst his loving himself so much while basking in the adoration of the likes of those gathered to benefit the creation of a man who was instrumental in making sure Dubya lived the birthright his father forewent on Bubba’s behalf that there might be cameras rolling? Not sure why. His shallow adherents have an excuse at the ready that ranges from “he’s a lesser evil” to “all those things are good”. Since our most steadfast state leads us to jumping out of context to the most convenient conclusions, always pretending we don’t know what’s going on while also pretending we care about where it might lead (because, frankly, where it’s led is the problem dominating the national psyche and what led to it is “complicated” at best/worst). I have a prediction: Hind/Sight 2020! Good luck with the #resistance.
The concern moved by the current preoccupation is that very soon an electorate should be engaged. And how! – that is, precisely how the electorate should engage itself, as well as precisely how it should not. This might illuminate the image of masses who would seem perfectly able to rise up and sever the heads of several snakes but cannot otherwise agree on anything.
The question “if not now, when?” is often spun right round into “if not then, why now?” This employs relativism, but that cuts both ways. Nowadays it is often mocked as “whataboutery”, which relates a fair observation in general but too oft misses the point that the latter question is as rhetorical as the original lament, and bringing up then compared to now — or someone else’s misdeed compared to someone’s — does not mean that someone should be spoken free of guilt; it is intended to bring an additional charge that would encompass a greater number of breaches and establish a stricter threshold, lest a precedent be set that continually allows the tendentious crossing of lines.
Given that that pernicious precedent has pretty well been set, long already indeed, wedged de facto & deeply woven into our political nervous system, we have a situation where well-meaning people would like to know where the threshold is, yet are always concerned about the timing of the drawing of a line at some point prior to wondering why a line is not being drawn. Meditate on that a moment and I think you’ll find that it applies to either side of this particular style of discussion. Take it back far enough and you could replace the donkey and the elephant with a chicken and an egg, even if you think the egg is most demonstrably wrong.
Is someone right and someone else wrong here? Is there anything new under the Sun? Is it more a question of degree over style or the other way around? Have the frogs in the cauldron failed to acknowledge how blessed they are by those of the kingdom, if not of their class, who wield a superior sense memory that tells them when now is the time to jump?
Well, what an oversimplification that would be! However, rather than abandon the metaphor I’ll extend it just a smidge to make it more material to my point of departure: The brilliant — or perhaps only organic — design of rule by division has employed a nice little procedure whereby the ostensible dialing back of the water temperature only allows for a deep breath of relief, not for a group effort to keep bringing down the heat enough to make it survivable for everyone, let alone to turn off the damn stove. And that’s just among those of like mind who, twist as the mind might, can never be taken for chickens and are hardly ever only eggs.
Never forget that when the occasion presents itself, which is at a minimum annually, each plays the other on television. And never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by malice of a more machiavellian nature — even if the mockery is more fun. And always follow the money. That’s an imperative unfortunately conflated with a philosophy of resignation. Nevertheless, once you follow the money you pretty well know where they stand.
This bipartisan brotherhood brews over into mistrust the moment members don’t behave as their counterpart had hoped. This, too, is rooted in soundness, and is quite quaint. Naturally when someone who’d been friendly to you suddenly smacks you in the face you’re gonna change your opinion of them. But not least of which based on the unpredictability of the actions of others, I say these party affiliations are irrelevant.
I allude here not to the question of the discrepancies between the iterated party ideologies and their actual differences. I rather refer to the irrelevancy of the Biggest Sideshow on Earth. Warning, I’m fixin’ to make the oft fallacious “the same people who…” argument, which as a matter of course should be viewed as question begging. So don’t beg it, that is, don’t take my word for it, but seriously consider whether or not this statement is true: The same people who are salivating at every tidbit coming downwind of Robert Mueller and consequently see him as a man of integrity today would view him as a treasonous party hack the moment he were to complete his investigation without either fingering the president or prosecuting someone in his inner circle. And of course the same people who are currently calling for the president to fire Robert Mueller for abuse of power or whatever will cite in perpetuity his investigation should the president escape scot-free.
Not that every selfsame amateur constitution wonk, who learns of some new arcane statute with every related “actually” tweet from their fave professional DC policy wonk, are not willing to hold that nothing is certain and will admit in advance to whichever special investigator’s being treacherous unless he gets fired first. This is also part of the quaintness quagmire that makes up the self-image of this moment’s American. It constitutes just the latest act in the sideshow.
Every spotlighted actor in this play is a study in treachery, but not of the disloyalty to the quaint American kind. It is a treachery toward whatever potential there is for earthy human decency. But not of the civility & decorum variety, quite the contrary. The most treacherous lay claim to that mantle with the backing of decorous fanfare — a quaint contradiction if there was one, which just might be a clue as to the expedient nature of that civility in all its historic duplicity.
Quaint Americans, much like the ugly ones, are selfish. If it’s found that the current monster in the White House has nada effect on their own real lives, they’ll point out how much they care about the effect it has, or will have, on others. Given the perpetual relativist application of the evidence of such effects depending on the timing of their cause, it’s difficult for me to sympathize.
Note that the list of the greatest threats to American democracy does not include whenever the Americans manipulated or destroyed someone else’s. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” is the quaint logic moving forward, but neither does a second wrong necessarily warrant the most urgent need for correction. This is true when there is wrongdoing of relative ubiquity, particularly so when that ubiquitous wrongness is of the official institutions tasked with the correction of wrong. That’s called institutionalized corruption. There has never been a greater assurance of the end of American democracy than the partisan embracement of those institutions when it suits one’s selective fancy.
“But I can criticize both,” or “We can’t do anything about the other thing,” are a common refrain of the quaint American, often in that the wrong in question lies in the distant past or is beyond the powers of democratic citizens and their apparently expediently powerless representatives charged with confirming those who sit in the institutions.
But the institutional wrongs are quantifiable. They are individual as well as collective actions taken in any of the institutions’ names, or under one or more of their auspices, sometimes in secret. Enough of those secrets have been officially revealed such that any special investigators and prosecutors worth their weight in honor-ability or well-qualified-ness would be able to air the grievances publicly and sentence any & all the wrong doers living & dead.
Before there can be a credible account of the election of 2016, there needs to be a credible account of both of their primaries. Still of greater urgency would be for international cooperation into the investigation of the murderous manipulation and/or overthrow of the Ukraine and Libya most recently, Iraq, Somalia, Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, and again Libya more recently as well as historically, by all means Russia in the 90s, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Panama in the ’80s, Chile, Ghana, Zaire, Bolivia, the Congo— hell, just about anywhere in Africa and Latin America that ever attempted autonomous democracy, socialist-ist or otherwise, and throw in Fiji, Grenada, and Jamaica, and Cuba. Naturally Iran, Guatemala, and Indonesia— I know. Pure fantasy, right?
I submit that it is more important to the survival of democracy that those institutions face a reckoning regardless of how temporally afield their transgressions lie. By comparison, the current lawless executive facing even the slightest censure from any one of those same institutions would bolster their credibility of convenience with the quaint American. The removal of the latest symptom will make them happy and might lead to that infamous fanfare, but it ain’t gonna save no democracy.
Heute ließen wir uns beraten und haben die Entscheidung getroffen und dementsprechend überparteilich so durchgesetzt, damit das überparteiliche Gesetzschaffende Organ durch eine direktere, effizientere außerparlamentarische Zweckgesellschaft offiziell mit sofortiger Wirkung ersetzt zu verstehen ist.—das Organ a.D.