On some distant future date when historians — if there still are historians — begin sifting through the smoking rubble and ashes of what was once American civilization, they’ll probably pinpoint January 12, 2018, as a kind of turning point, the precise moment it should have become clear that something was fundamentally broken and no one knew how to fix it.
Over 40 years ago… “welcome to the machine”…
What did you dream?
The author pins all his hopes on the 2018 elections? Now that’s a tender reed, to say the least. What about “The Resistance” actually resisting, say, by walking off their jobs and boycotting non-essential consumption for a while?
Or, since Twitler is obviously in constant need of attention, and since we’re all fatigued by his machinations to get it, why don’t we all just stop watching TV? I guarantee you, somebody will notice if ratings start to tank.
Here’s the thing Will: This basic assessment (obviously horrific news about the “leaders” of the political economy, and the obviously horrific future this portends for humanity and the Earth, with no effective response from either media analysts or the mass of people) has been true throughout the decades of my life. “Whatevs” has always been the mass response.
This country has been on this path, and this Earth has been hurtling toward civilization-induced collapse, for many decades now. The nuclear arsenal that Trump plays with did not just arrive on the scene but has been built up through every administration. The resistance to the science of climate and fossil fuels has been ruling the political economy for decades, through every presidential administration. We could fill a library with examples of horrific news that has been greeted by business as usual, every year of my life.
Trump is obviously “worse” in some ways but did not suddenly emerge from nothing. The construction of a hopeless and disengaged citizenry, surviving amidst a catalog of horrors that are embedded not just in the news we consume but in the industrial food and disposable products and automobiles and wars we consume, has taken place over many decades, without “resistance.”
With a year of Trump now elapsed I am not that concerned about Trump fatigue. The resistance hasn’t diminished at all. It takes many forms and if anything may be growing. On climate change a number of states and numerous cities have declared they are still in when if comes to the US pledge for the Paris climate agreement. Rather than following the Trump they are doing the opposite. Many cities have declared themselves sanctuary cities and are not helping ICE round up undocumented immigrants any more than is required by law despite the demands by Trump. Many organizations such as the Sierra Club, ACLU, and Southern Poverty Law Center are suing the administration and have been successful in slowing things down or stopping things altogether. Probably the majority of us who are resisting receive many emails every day reminding us what Trump is doing and urging us to action. Indivisible gives all members a strategy plan every week on what to do to resist. The New York Times as basically declared itself a beacon of truth as part of the resistance. The recent Women’s March shows that movement remains strong. The most important way to resist now is to work on getting candidates who will oppose Trump elected. The Democrats are contesting almost every House race which is unusual since they often simply concede that many of these races they cannot win. Quite a few Republican incumbents are retiring which provides more hope that some Republican seats can won. I think it can happen here. When you see all the people who support the far right and are fascists it seems obvious that just about anything can happen.
(As usual with you, a thoughtful and insightful post. I used to read CD mostly for the comments and when the top comment was published with the article it elicited better thought-out opinions and an ensuing higher level of discussion in the comments often better than the article itself. Don’t know what happened to that system; they still have the ‘top comments’ at the bottom of the article but there never is one. I think the lack of the top comment has diminished what used to be CD’s best characteristic, a thoughtful readership in conversation with each other.)
On to your content. You are so right about a culture of slow boil to the death–like the frog in the gradually heated water to boiling. In Jungian terms, what is the ‘shadow’ of our collective culture? Patriarchy? Capitalism? Neoliberalism? Corporatism? Materialism? Whatever it is, Trump is what we have become and is the concrete manifestation of America’s collective psyche.
This is what we are, folks. Best we face up to it. Like Dracula, recognition is the first step that must come before the stake to the heart. And the first step is to acknowledge it didn’t start with Trump.
(Thanks so much for your generous and thoughtful reply. i also think the comment system worked better when admin enabled the “top comments” feature.)
All those shadows you mention - patriarchy, capitalism, neoliberalism, corporatism, materialism - interact in the malaise of culture and consciousness that keeps us non-reactive to the unfolding horrors. i think patriarchy has probably the deepest roots, and hand-in-hand with materialism has nurtured the other three, which are all kind of similar manifestations.
For most of my life, politics has been my main outlet for trying to work on this malaise and non-reactivity. But in recent years, i find i spend more of my life energy on building soil and trying to help nurture productive resilient ecosystems, with my own hands. Very recently, i’ve finally begun considering building human relationships to be almost equally foundational as maintaining healthy ecological relationships.
Not that politics is unimportant, it is obviously an important key to unlocking human awareness and engagement, and in dis-empowering the rampant egos that strut atop the patriarchal materialist neoliberal corporate capitalism that is the horror machine. Just that i’m developing an analysis that – without a practice to have healthy fundamental relations, human and biological – all the political work in the world will tend to not work out in the long run.
Don’t know why, but your reply made me think of that poem by Patrick Kavanagh, Innocence.
They laughed at one I loved-
The triangular hill that hung
Under the Big Forth. They said
That I was bounded by the whitethorn hedges
Of the little farm and did not know the world.
But I knew that love’s doorway to life
Is the same doorway everywhere.
Ashamed of what I loved
I flung her from me and called her a ditch
Although she was smiling at me with violets.
But now I am back in her briary arms
The dew of an Indian Summer lies
On bleached potato-stalks
What age am I?
I do not know what age I am,
I am no mortal age;
I know nothing of women,
Nothing of cities,
I cannot die
Unless I walk outside these whitethorn hedges.
Thanks for that.