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by Alexander Quaresma
Joy to the world! President-elect Donald Trump has gone and given the Earth a brand new shiny nuclear arms race. And just in time for Christmas!
What we're seeing in the soon-to-be-president is an individual who is so caught up in himself that I am pretty sure that this orange thing either believes his living in, or wants to go back to, the seventies and eighties. The whole ideological foundation behind the slogan of "Make America Great Again" is steeped in this idea that we need to turn back the clock and go back in time somehow.
Why wouldn't Trump want it to be 1978 again? In 1978 he didn't need Viagra. In 1978 he didn't need to spray his skin orange. In 1978 he didn't need to do whatever it is he did to his hair. Trump was a young up-and-comer in those days. Now, however, he is as one pundit so succinctly put it "a walking aneurysm waiting to happen."
Trump has lived a privileged life. A life so privileged that he's never had to deal with the consequences of his actions. That's a life that very very few outside of the boys clubs that those who run in the circles at the upper echelons of Capital Hill get to enjoy. Trump was not a member of those clubs. That's why he was able to skirt through in the 2016 election with a victory. Though he was not a member of any such clubs he's still led an equally, if not more so, privileged life.
Donald Trump is now in the final leg of his life's journey. The ride is coming to an end one way or the other. Being the president of the United States was always something which seemed to be on his bucket list. Due to the horrendous state of both the conservative and liberal wings of the plutocrat party Trump was able to sucker just enough disenfranchised angry people in order to finally cross that line item off of his list.
The problem, however, is that Trump is perhaps the worst case of someone so horrifically bound by his own ego that it has retarded his intellect. At least in so far as someone who is poised to wield as much power as Trump is about to have once he's sworn into office. That he's been surrounded by yes men and women sucking a living off of his teat for the majority of his life certainly hasn't helped in this matter.
The wild and crazy ride Trump has led will come to its inevitable end, as it must for all of us. No one gets out of here alive. But Trump seems to be oblivious to this. Or perhaps he's not. Perhaps he simply doesn't care about what kind of world he'll leave behind. After all, why should he care? The world is just a stage for his wants and desires, right?
This insane call to reinvigorate a nuclear arms race is the most dangerous of all potential manifestations of an obsolete and politically insulated-from-consequence mindset on one hand. On the other it is a proof that Trump wants to live in a world he remembers when he wasn't at death's door. A simpler world for his simpler mind. A world he seemed to understand better. A world where America got to walk around feeling like it had the biggest cock in the men's room because it shamelessly spent billions, if not trillions, building up a nuclear arsenal that far surpassed any one nation's needs. Trump is not alone in feeling like this, incidentally.
Trump, and the millions who support him, who've all most certainly grown up culturally, if not politically, insulated, are staring in the face a world that they just don't understand. Technological advancements coupled with the slow creep of mass global media has given all of us glances at the real world that exists beyond the remote borders of the continental United States to a degree that had never previously existed. At the same time we are experiencing the onset of the final stage of a globalization process that has been in motion ever since the early fourteenth century. It's a world where this process is picking up steam. It's a world where people don't all speak the same language. It's a world where not everyone worship the same mythologems. It's a world where not everyone experiences the same day-to-day socio-economic reality for whatever the reason; there are many. And it's a world where the lines demarcating the "good" guys and the "bad" guys have been exposed as being not as well defined as they had always previously thought to be in the past (like in the seventies and eighties, for example).
Trump and his supporters don't understand this world. I have a hard time making sense of certain conflicts myself. Don't even ask me about Syria right now. I'm still trying to work out exactly what it is that's happening there and why. It's horrific, whatever it is. The point is these matters take thought. They require introspection. They even require a little intellectual knowledge. These are not things that come easy to Trump or a Trump supporter. It's far easier to see the world in terms of black and white, just as how it was portrayed when Trump was a young buck coming up in the world thanks to his daddy's money.
Trump seems to want that black and white world again. And though nothing is black and white in reality, Señor Presidente-elect Trump and crew will do whatever he can to shape a world back when it was easier for him to understand. And as well all know, Trump isn't exactly the sturdiest piñata hanging from the tree. That Trump is calling for a renewal in a nuclear arms race, and his boasts that we can out simply shows us I only hope we can make it to the mid-terms in one piece.
At least we still have the words of the great Robert De Niro to help remind the world how no less than half of Americans feel about Trump. He pretty much hits the nail on the head.
by Alexander Quaresma | @WombatBites
There's a scene in John Carpenter's immortal 1982 horror-sf classic The Thing that perfectly reflects what was going on as I watched the events of November 8, 2016 unfold. The scene to which I refer depicts Wilford Brimley sitting at his computer as he watches a simulation of the alien's demonically-shaped red intruder cells infecting and imitating organic Earth organisms' blue cells. The music is low key and somber as Brimely watches the simulation unfold. Finally his computer relays a final transmission based on the data that has been collated. A woebegone pall of empirical horror casts its shadow across Brimley's face as he shakes his head in silent disbelief. He simply cannot behold the magnitude of the horrific implications levied by his computer's little simulation.
Perhaps an even more accurately visceral cinematic representation of what was going on that night as I watched the little simulated electoral maps on all the news media sites filling in with pink to indicate a Trump lead and then finally red to signify a Trump win would be from Kubrick's The Shining (1980). We all know the scene I'm talking about.
It was a horrific slaughter fest. Non-stop digitized reddish gore born and bred out of fear and hate of "the other" seemed to fill each and every state outside of the Pacific Coast and the North East. The states fell like drops of red from some wounded proto-mythical beast, as it lay dying a lonely death in whatever abstract reality the idealized myth of a "Land for the People" exists. It was a real horror show "oh me brothers," a real horror show.
There are very few news outlets let alone reporters whom I find that I can take seriously anymore. However, one of the few I find myself following on a regular basis is Jeremy Scahill of "The Intercept." There's nobody ballsier and nobody better at what he does. After it was all over the morning of November 9th, Scahill shot out into the twittersphere an amazing tweet. Nine percent of registered Democrats had voted for Trump.
This one statistic is a revelation. Not one revealing how asinine those registered Democrats were by voting for Trump. Rather, one exposing just how badly the Democratic Party in America failed the people who have supported it since the election of Barak Obama in 2008. More specifically, however, how badly it failed those people throughout this whole election cycle in 2016.
Come hell or high water it seemed that the Democratic Party wanted to foist an unlikeable, unwatchable, unlistenable, and most importantly: an ultimately unelectable individual like Hillary Clinton onto the international stage as its candidate. They had already tried it in 2008 and that, too, failed miserably. Then, in spite of how things went during the 2016 primary season, as it was clear to anyone and everyone that Bernie was the electable candidate - the same man who Sarah Silverman so aptly stated had "been on the right side of history" at virtually every turn - the Democratic National Party was simply resigned to the fact that they would be gifting Hillary the nomination. Abominable. Even more abominable is that they would be screwing over the one individual who would have defeated anybody else. People didn't like that. A lot of registered Democrats didn't like that. They expressed their dislike by voting for the other guy.
Had you told Hillary Clinton the night before the election that she'd win the popular vote and that by the time the election was decided less people would have voted for Trump than did for Mitt Romney in 2012 (once all the votes had been counted days later it turns out Trump did narrowly yield more votes that Mitt) - all things that panned out over the night of November the 8th into the morning of November the 9th - I'm sure she'd have gone to bed and had a very sound sleep thinking the election was in the bag. When the smoke cleared, however, it was Trump, buoyed by the hate and fear he was selling to a gullible bottom-feeding segment of the human population (of which there is a large hideous infestation in America, unfortunately), who stood victorious.
With his victory and with his merry band of disgusting ghouls and goblins he'll be bringing with him into his cabinet not only is America now faced with being kicked back into the nineteenth century, ideologically speaking, but it will now suffer a rise in fascist anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-whatever else that doesn't fit into the hillbilly paradigm backlash. This is the kind of thing that Noam Chomsky had been warning about all along.
Some sought to blame those who voted for alternative candidates. Jill Stein and her supporters seem to be one of the easy targets of such people. Blaming third-party candidates is disgustingly misplaced anger, particularly against Jill Stein. Gary Johnson yielded millions of votes that one could argue would have otherwise gone to Trump. If anything, the independent party candidates helped Hillary more so than hurt her. There is but one group at fault for the international disgrace that is the election of Trump, and all you have to do is keep in mind the nine percent of registered Democrats who voted Trump. It is the old Democratic Party itself.
When Bernie won the Michigan primary that ideally would have been the final straw in determining that he, not Hillary, was who the American people wanted. Working class people simply do not like Hillary and the Clintons in general. Whether that's right or wrong doesn't matter. It simply does .. not .. matter. But that's how it was and that's how it still is. The calls for Hillary's head over her corruption still haven't ended even after her defeat.
The failure of the Democratic Party to give its base what they wanted, what the youth wanted, and what the American people wanted is ultimately what has delivered the world into its biggest up-close and personal look into the face of fascism in some time. It shall be interesting to see how we Americans respond. We will also now be saddled with a powerful Christian supremacist VP (to use a Jeremy Scahill tweet again), whose Bronze Age ideologies are poised to knock America down into a relative equivalent to a Third World nation.
This of course is assuming he doesn't try to act out the fairy tale of Revelations, which I can't rule out as a possible worst case scenario. After all, these types like to read the pages of the Bible then manipulate current events in order to claim it's Biblical prophecy. In which case, if this does happen, what's left of the world would then get knocked right back into that Bronze Age I just referred to. So it's a scary time. It's definitely a very scary time.
Speaking of politically motivated ideological Christian fascists, another interesting statistic came out after the election. In spite of Donald Trump's horrific behavior towards women, well over fifty percent of voters who identified as Christians claimed to have voted for Trump. Interesting, very interesting indeed- but not surprising.
The Old Testament of the Bible is a compendium of ancient writings that if taken as literal history - which many of these poor unfortunate "souls" do - condones and promotes sexual bondage, rape and the idea that women are property. I didn't write the thing, I only read it. And that is exactly what you find all throughout the Old Testament books. So Christians didn't have a problem with Trump's treatment of women. Meanwhile, Jewish voters overwhelmingly voted for Hillary. Figure that one out. This is simply conjecture on my part, but it might have something to do with the fact that most (American) Jews understand what these scriptures are. They're ancient cultural relics which are nice to look back on and nice to interpret the metaphors in the poetry, but that's all.
If the Democratic Party had thrown up a dirty vomit-soaked hospital mop as its candidate it very possibly may have defeated Trump, but Hillary couldn't. That is how badly Americans dislike Hillary. And that is how horrifically the Democratic Party let not just the American people down, but the world.
Hillary is infinitesimally smarter than Trump. Hillary was qualified in every way for the position in relation to Trump. Hillary won the debates (but don't ask Sean Hannity). But at the end of the day the people still have to like you in order for you to win. Barak Obama inspired a nation. Bernie Sanders was inspiring a nation. Hillary Clinton inspired nobody. Her quasi-bourgeois feminism didn't fool anyone. Her slight shift to the left on the campaign trail didn't fool anyone into not believing she isn't a chicken hawk neo-con neo-liberal. And her history: everything from Whitewater (a legitimate scandal) to Benghazi (a bullshit scandal) to the e-mail servers (another legitimate scandal) turned a large portion of the electorate off. It wouldn't have taken a rocket scientist to decipher the fact that Hillary was unliked by everyone and therefore unelectable. Not even against Trump. For his part, at least Trump had the unwashed, toothless, xenophobic, pig-squealing masses who fear brown people, non-Christians, and women, on his side. I don't know who Hillary had on her side. Over fifty million people did vote for her, but it was simply out of an obligation to fight the rise of what Trump represented if he won; which he did anyway.
All in all, there are still some silver linings to be found in these dark days in the aftermath of this election. Over the summer I expressed my fear of a massive proto-fascist surge in support of Trump. That didn't happen. Trump didn't really inspire anyone either. Again, more people voted for Mitt Romney than Trump. That's hardly a ringing endorsement of the people. So that's extremely encouraging if I want to be somewhat optimistic.
I can also hope that after two years of backwards ideology running things that a legitimate leftist political movement will be galvanized in America. That's something America has never had and desperately needs. In all likelihood Trump, whose never had to do a day of real work in his life, will likely opt not to run for re-election in 2020. That's my assumption at this time anyway. He proved what set out to prove: that the American people are suckers. He may very well be off to do whatever it is he wants to do next in 2020 (assuming the stress of the job doesn't cause him to have a stroke. He might be the most out-of-shape president-elect since Taft). All I can do is pray to the cold and indifferent stars above that the Democrats don't try and dig up the politically dead corpse that is Hillary Clinton and try to foist her on us yet again.
It's time for a radical departure from the old way of doing things in America and for the rise of a new American Enlightenment. It's time for all of us to shed these shackles that is the cancerous disease of Christian fundamentalism in our political processes. It's time to "Build Bridges, Not Walls." It's time for the Democratic Party to learn from the example that Bernie set. Stop catering to the center, something Hillary did to her own political demise. Let this then be the final nail in the coffin that is the Clinton legacy in America: she couldn't beat Trump. Let us bury the Clinton "legacy" where it belongs, in the past, and hope we still have a future where we really can attempt to make America greater not just for "deplorables," but for all.
As for the present, now that we have an orange feces-throwing pussy-grabbing mongoloid racist reality TV star for president all I have left to say is is summed up by yet another movie: "Are you not entertained?"