Chaos is Thy Name
An Outlaw President: the Rise of Nativism and White Supremacy
The revolution and the resistance are being televised: Call it the American Death Spiral of Civility and Civilization or is America waiting to be reborn from the ashes?
For more than 80 years, beginning with the New Deal and the Fair Deal, Americans have made social progress, creating a more tolerant and more just and equitable America. But now the anti-Christ in the House of Representatives proposes (more) tax cuts for the wealthy while installing (more) Death Panels at health insurance office for the poor and disenfranchised (our numbers are growing).
The rise of Nativism and White Supremacy has resulted in racists policies: “Ban the Brown,” “Block the Muslims and Mexicans.” Do not pass go but go directly to jail: deport thyself! Secret Anti-Semites vandalize the markers of the dead in as the ghost of Hitler haunts Jewish Cemeteries.
In Mark Danner’s chilling article “What He Could do” (MARCH 23, 2017 ISSUE, NYRB) the author notes that Trump’s Svengali, Steve Bannon, has revealed, “What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order, and the more frantic a handful of media elites become, the more powerful that new political order becomes….’”
Danner claims we are unwilling “antagonists” in the Trump drama. We watch the nightly news or listen for the latest tweet, announcing the latest lie and outrage as civil norms, the morals and ethics undergirding the rule of law, are deleted from the lexicon of political history. We are witness, in other words, to this Biblical-Mythic and melodramatic battle for the soul and spirit of America.
So who are our champions? Who stands up for the American people and the spirit of 1776, 1864, WWI and WWII? The Civil Rights marches? Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren? The weak-kneed liberal demos in Congress, like their Facebook supporters, can’t get their heads around the evil men and women do. Long ago, political hacks from both sides of the aisle sold their birthright for a mess of pottage to brokers on Wall St.
The left deplores the rise of the National Security State while the right deplores the rise of the Welfare state (except for their corporate partners on Wall St. and pirate partners in Moscow). But, As Danner notes, “Trump’s aggressive and reckless sallies against intelligence professionals have secured him powerful enemies within the national security apparatus, who have increasingly been making use of their contacts in the elite press—particularly The Washington Post and The New York Times—to fight back and undermine his new administration. This is an important part of the so-called Russia scandal: that the “intelligence services,” in the words of Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, “seem to be at war” with the new president.”
For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction, especially in melodrama. Will we go from an “Intelligence coup” to a “military coup?” Will Trump be marched off in handcuffs or sent back to Rapunzel in Trump Tower to await his Russian handlers? Perhaps the security apparatus will trade Trump for Snowden? Or Will we all be wearing black swastikas courtesy Steve Bannon, and flying Old Glory upside down, while the lights at the Statue of Liberty are blacked out? Will John McCain, the onetime war hero find his courage and speak to the traitor Trump?
“Have you no decency, sir?”
I Remember the prophetic remarks voiced by Brando’s character in Coppola’s Apocalypse Now: “the horror, the horror.”
Surely the memory of Washington, who declined tyranny and Jefferson, who encouraged perpetual revolution, can be summoned. Surely the spirit of Lincoln and FDR, MLK and RFK, and Muhammad Ali can stir up the memories of citizens, who are conceived in liberty and born into the endless pursuit of justice. Surely we can keep our heads about us as all are losing theirs and blaming it on us or convenient scapegoats from abroad.
For timeless analysis I turn to William Butler Yeats, who wrote in 1920 “The Second Coming” at the conclusion of WWI.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?