It isn’t really just the republicans, is it? I mean, sure they are the main cause of our woes, at least in my adult lifetime, but what is the deal with the liberal response to this cogent threat? Then I thought, hell, even most of the media seems oblivious to our current plight. Some journalists are honing-in on the appropriate level of dystopic hysterics, but the centerpiece of today’s news headlines should be some binary variation of either: Democracy Is In Peril!, or Mother Earth Is Going Tits Up! As things heat up (literally), I’m growing weary of the other distractions, right or left. Today, I found two related articles from the New York Times: Republicans Are Succeeding Because We No Longer Live In A Democracy, and Imagine It’s 2024, And Republicans Are Declaring Trump President. Nice. But on this, the 4th day of January, I find myself already at my 2022 NYTs article-limit so please let me know what you think about those *Cough*. I then switched to The Atlantic, typically a Zano Nation safe space, but today I read The Myth of Tribalism: Beware of the false notion that group solidarity leads inevitably to conflict. Dear Atlantic, can I call a Mulligan and get an additional free article this month? What’s your exchange policy?
The Atlantic piece (exhibit A) starts off well enough:
“By now, even people who differ on nearly all issues seem to agree on at least one thing: American politics has become riven by tribal conflict.”
This is the first sentence Packer and Bavel handed to their editor; if they’d only stopped there and had gone fishing…
“But although the notion that group solidarity leads inevitably to prejudice, animosity, and conflict is common, it is also incorrect and potentially dangerous.” And: “Rather than adopting discriminatory norms, real-life groups can and often do embrace norms of tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion.”
Wow. Solidarity, brother. So, since nice groups exist, we shouldn’t worry too much about those bad people amassing weapons in the woods. Got it. They suggest tribalism is avoidable, and I would agree …were this Finland. They believe organizations like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are inclusive, and these more altruistically driven causes might help to balance out their darker, more tribalistic counterparts (see: those social media political hate groups you frequent). For your new year’s resolution, I guess these journalists are suggesting you join a nice group, full of nice people. Hmmm …well, I’m doing my part, I joined Borderlines Who Play Doctor …uh, but I can no longer endorse that particular Meetup (restraining order pending).
This Atlantic piece offers good advice, yet it’s weak sauce in the face of 1863. While the rest of us are learning to grab our ankles, these two are encouraging everyone to join a circle jerk. It’s like in 1930s Germany, saying: yeah, sure the Nazis are sweeping into power, but let’s just start a Stitch & Bitch and kick back. I’m only free on Tuesdays, because later in the week it’s back-to-back street executions, work, work, work.
Politico failed me as well: We Are in a New Civil War … About What Exactly? – POLITICO. John H. Harris focuses on the ascent of Trump and blames 45 as the root of most of the problem. He also seems wholly disinterested in the other factors that brought us here—more precisely, here, meaning the edge of ruin. This piece has all the insight of a dude who just paused a video game long enough to stare out his parents’ THC-crusted basement window.
” …there is something closer to an establishment consensus that the search for root cause is folly — the Trump phenomenon defies explanation, and the threat posed by his demagoguery makes speculation about its origins an irrelevant distraction.”
Defies explanation? Insight as distraction? It’s all just a Trump related phenomenon? And Trump’s going to just vanish one day—it’s like a miracle—he will disappear. Where have I heard that one? Hmmm. This guy is guessing that as Trump’s relevance wanes, the GOP will get back to the people’s work and this will all become an interesting historical footnote. Sure, for the next election MAGA is already diligently working on an Andy Griffiths/Ghost of Nancy Reagan ticket. Riiight. No matter who is elected in republicana, they will need to: A. work on the republican agenda, and B. cater to a freakishly large and entirely batshit constituency. I don’t know which is worse.
Look, a spoof news guy predicted all of this schitznick, long ago—ironically, from his parents’ basement—because this isn’t that difficult. WTF intelligentsia?
Meanwhile, here’s what a friend asked me last week:
“Why are you always talking about civil war, Zano? I’m for peace. Peace through truth.”
Peace through truth? Let’s add that to: Fascists for Freedom, and Right to Work, and Fox News. I started complaining, loudly, during the Dubya epoch, because I watched these folks ebb over the event horizon. I understood the potential consequences for shifting half our nation into a collective delusion. And, sure, I’m just itching for war, Poke …a chance to get out there in the street with my hockey helmet, armed only with my wit and my cheese slicer.
[Make America Grate Again joke removed by the editor.]
Dude. You had a Dimsurrection last January—happy anniversary, by the way—that was based on a lie. Folks were killed and wounded, and then some of the same people responsible are now hindering the investigation, while the rest are trying to make the Dimsurrection 2.0 succeed. The next POTUS may lose the popular vote and the electoral college yet may well be sworn in anyway. And this doesn’t get your goat? Oh, right, the liberals and their evil plot to gradually insure people… Boo.
Put another way, under a President Buttigieg or the like, you are safe and so is your family. But, if Trump is reelected—which is still somehow a possibility—a great number of comedians, politicians, and progressives would be forced to flee the country. If people reeaalllly understood the score, inauguration day at Dulles Airport would look a lot like Kabul last September (complete with the Klingons). It won’t go down like that, but only because no one really gets it. Present company excluded.
One of my favs over at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick, sums up the SOTU:
“It was a banner year for violent vigilantism, as a young man at a rally in Idaho this fall stepped up to ask when it would be OK to start shooting Democrats. “When do we get to use the guns?” The questioner asked Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk. “How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” Election workers describe violent threats from stop-the-steal “patriots” that have driven them from office in record numbers. The menace of those who believe that the time has come to take the law into their own hands has become part of the daily political calculation of what it means to be part of a democracy.”
Talk softly and carry a bigly stick. Beware, oh proud ones, my cheese slicer has several settings!
Election Summary Alert:
Endless Election Lies (R-2020) = Insurrection
Blatant Election Steal (R-2024) = An unprecedented wave of ‘unlikes’ and ‘unfriends’ from our culture warriors
Very inspirational. And your part in this is already sealed, my friend. You’ve made your bed and now you must lie about it. Don’t fret, probably comes with a free MyPillow.
Oh, finally I saw Margaret Sullivan’s article over at the Washington Post: How the Media Must Fight for American Democracy. A big, thank you! Let’s make her an honorary member of the Zano Nation. The article is a nice clarion call for all journalists. At least one journalist agrees democracy is “teetering:”
“…much of this work (by journalists) has been impressive. And yet, something crucial is missing. For the most part, news organizations are not making democracy-under-siege a central focus of the work they present to the public … But, in general, this pro-democracy coverage is not being ‘centered’ by the media writ large. It’s occasional, not regular; it doesn’t appear to be part of an overall editorial plan that fully recognizes just how much trouble we’re in.”
And, as a bonus, just before I go to post, Jimmy Carter is double teetering down with: “The US ‘teeters on the brink of a widening abyss.” Thank you, Margaret, and thank you, Jimmy!
Let’s end this one here, as duty calls, well, Call of Duty calls …just as soon as I fill my skull bong. Mom’s vacuuming upstairs again. Great.