A lot of July 4th celebrations this year, as usual, will be heavily ironic. Celebrating freedom in the nation with the highest rate of imprisonment just doesn’t seem right. But of course many are only concerned about freedom for themselves; the cowards can’t stand the idea that someone might use their freedom to be different.
Since last Independence Day, here’s basically what has happened:
Extreme-right politicians: “The government is evil and doesn’t care about you. Elect us so we can make it more evil and even less caring.”
Extreme-right voters: “Sure, sounds great! As long as liberals suffer.”
Trump: “I sued that guy to make his life miserable, and I’m happy about that.”
Extreme-right voters: “That’s awesome! You are a good man, Mr. Trump. We made you president because you’re so good.”
Excuse me if I have a low view of anyone dumb or immoral enough to put their support behind this colossal assault on humanity itself. There’s been so much “I told you so” that I’m sick of it. I’m cynical enough without my low expectations being surpassed with new and unexplored depths of depravity. Even people I once thought were decent have begun parroting the violent propaganda.
Stop fantasizing about slaughtering your political opponents. Stop saying that poor people don’t deserve healthcare. Stop lying, and stop living in some other reality where destruction is good and compassion is evil. Stop voting for whoever promises to hurt the people you don’t like. This is not a war, yet, but continuing like this will turn it into one. You can only deny a population basic human rights and necessities of life for so long before they snap. The billionaire Nick Hanauer said a while ago that the pitchforks are coming for him and his fellow plutocrats. Well, they are, and if we want to minimize the dying we have to make some significant changes very quickly.
Maybe we can stop the worst of it. That’s about as optimistic as I can get. But people have already died, and it’s like half of the population has turned a little more evil over the past year. What were formerly perhaps strained relationships and hyperbole evolved into vicious fights, and everything up to and including serious calls for killing and oppression. Violent crimes against Muslims and other minorities have increased significantly. Republican politicians across the country are actively trying to undermine the first amendment in any way possible.
The right wing is currently composed of terrorists hostile to American interests, and whoever is dumb enough to support them. By which I mean mainly religious people who by nature accept “truth” from authority blindly. Maybe they haven’t noticed how destructive ideals have infiltrated their religious institutions, like greed, and warmongering, and tribalism. For decades the Republican Party has been pushing lies in support of policies that have hurt millions of people and killed millions more, and now they have been hijacked by an even more extreme ideology that is fascism in essence. But the religious readily believe the propaganda of the party, rather than the evidence, because they have been trained to respect authority instead of thinking for themselves.
Or maybe they really are that hateful. Based on my experiences growing up in the precursor movement to the alt-right, I feel that may be the dominant force. To them hate is fine, as long as you’ve convinced yourself that what you’re hating is evil.
I can’t bring myself to hate. Trump may have gotten me there a few times. But mostly I just feel depressed, thinking about how many people are engaged in basically animal-level combat over imaginary gods, and their hatred of natural diversity, and their selfish focus only on what is good for themselves and their special little tribe. If they’d come to their senses and focus on the future well-being of the human species, perhaps we could actually fix some of the problems we all want to solve. But you can’t fix your problems when your focus is on causing them for someone else. All that will do is make things worse, and eventually it will spiral out of control, and a lot of people will die. Seriously. We’ve been down this path before.
I’ve never laughed at a politician so much, and never feared so much for the future of my country. Trump is simultaneously a horror and a comedy, stranger than fiction and so, so stupid. The only things he’s good at are manipulating people who are literally asking for it, and inventing a fantasy world for them to live in. He’s clueless about reality, especially that inexplicable thing called the future. He’s a hollow little man propelled through a world he doesn’t understand by impulses of greed and hatred, and the only reason he isn’t already banished to the dark pages of history is the adoring support of bigots across the country who want to be just like him.
Welcome to America, land of imprisonment and home of cowards, where money is god and compassion is the devil.