(ABOVE: photo via donaldjtrump.com)
You’ll notice a steady uptick in posts from columnists, bloggers and social commentators—nearly every writer in the land composing his or her own scathing rhetorical takedown of Donald J. Trump. Of course none of it is working, as the “Teflon Don” continues to scurry across the American political landscape, ushering so many lemmings closer toward the abyss.
It seems at this point most of us are writing these things for the sake of historical posterity. Years from now, when we’re potentially all huddled into some stalag in the Dakotas somewhere, we’ll be able to say, “I told you so.”
But for now, no one cares. There’s simply way too much noise, and in the cacophony of contemporary political discourse, logic is the triangle playing alongside the timpani.
All sorts of factors are at work here—there’s the Republican Party’s absolute vacuum of leadership, hell-bent on petulant obstructionism and actively defying the will of their constituency at nearly every turn. There’s the left, with its smug tortoise-and-the-hare approach to the 2016 election, resting on the wilted laurels of a feeble, pessimistic economy and the unmistakable impression of international impotence.
As for We the People, the outlook is bleaker still. Our woefully low political participation is a one part ignorance and two parts apathy. We have systems in place to enact change, but we perpetually fail to take advantage of them. American voters are under-educated and over-stimulated—we’re now hardwired to lash out at stuff, to take offense to everything and to never back down. Ever. The loudest person in the room wins, because compromise and empathy are for losers. At the very least, they’re bad for ratings.
You’ll see this parallel made often, because it’s true—this election cycle has been a grand reality show for us, as we are endlessly entertained by the flailing belligerence of others. Case in point, the GOP debates—which were essentially “Comedy Central Roasts” without the comedy. As contestants get voted off stage, we’re left with the lowest common denominator.
We’ve reached our tipping point—there’s no doubt about it. And seemingly we’re shifting towards political nihilism.
If you look at American political culture, we’ve spent generations being wound pretty tight—British are coming, the Indians are coming, the Rebels are coming, the Catholics are coming, the Japanese are coming, the Russians are coming, the terrorists are coming…
In fact, within the post-9/11 era alone, it seems like we’ve had EVERYTHING coming at us—Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Kony, Boko Haram, Four Loko, meth, bath salts, K2/Spice, MS-13, the Knockout Game, Ebola, Zika, socialism, fiscal cliffs, the omnipresent spectre of total economic collapse, multiple apocalypses and somehow Zombies…
Not that those things haven’t made an impact—they certainly have (except the apocalypses… zombie or otherwise). But for those of us who still remain, it’s as if we’re calling bluffs. Hell, how bad could it be?
Tell your tales of sinister social agendas—no one seems fazed by them. In fact, there’s a phenomenon called Godwin’s Law, which is used to discredit anyone comparing anything to the Nazis… no matter how much it’s EXACTLY like the Nazis.
We live in a world where you can no longer cite history, debate rationally or argue logically. Someone inevitably just makes an Idiocracy reference; then everyone snickers, shrugs and moves on. Blame rabid right-wing commentary, blame snarky late night comedy—blame both. It’s obvious that the American people on the whole are weary of it all, and simply don’t care enough anymore. How else can you explain the sheer insanity of what we’re facing?
If you’ve bothered to read this far and you’re waiting for my rosy conclusion, let me stop you right here—there is none. Sure, maybe we can keep our heads down, mail it in and make it through the impending Trump era. Or maybe all these people writing all these apt and poignant comparisons to Hilter’s meteoric and disturbing ascendancy in Weimar-era Germany are just crying wolf.
My fear is now that we’ve all cried wolf for so long, the wolf knows it’s safe to make his move.
Here are the only options left for the American voter—howl with the wolf, howl against him, or just howl like Major Kong and ride bareback into oblivion…