Far be it from me to hoist a New York Times editorial aloft on this otherwise sacred ground, but I do think we can find some helpful language in the board’s relatively searing indictment against our shit-eating president. We can find a sense of the national media’s guardrails, at the very least.
Maybe you’ve voted already. Maybe you don’t give a fuck. But, either way, whatever is going on here in America (and whatever the NYT editorial board is crowing about) is something very deep and hateful and almost mythological in its detail. Something very old, thematically speaking.
Yes, it is a national crisis. And, yes, perhaps, it can be struck down by the electorate. (With voters like these, though…) But I just can’t help feeling/knowing that this is a cultural sickness more than anything. It is metastasizing rapidly, and I’m not convinced that policy criticism or common-sense entreaty will help us here. Not only are America’s perennial truths blooming once again, but the strident hatred and the profit-or-violence construct underlying this country are thrown into the spotlight by a global pandemic and the stem-deep brainwashing of social media. You can start to see the shape of the 21st century, and it is astonishing so far. This warp-speed blending of zoonotic disease and technological advance is cranked up further by the precarious teetering you can feel in the national economy, in the housing sector, in the theocratic puppet show in D.C. this week… People like Trump love this shit. It provides them something to cheer, some primordial source of entertainment. See Asteroid Annihilate.
(And that’s not even addressing the freefall of climate disaster, the great story to be told this century. The death rattle gift we’ll bequeath to future generations.)
So, sure, vote! It’s hard to escape the pious clamoring for that old chestnut this fall. Vote! But what’s the deeper question here? How does one steer into the calamity? Steer into it, yes, immersing yourself in the century’s problems but resisting the surface-gleam enticements of hatred and fear. That stuff is too easy to exploit, and I worry that a long, draining election season is just keeping our minds wired on the most obvious fungal node of this catastrophe: the big dumb asshole from TV who now sits in the White House. A helpful course of action is much less entertaining and, often, much more personal. Because what’s left for us to do is move forward and participate and speak and read and write, move forward into our local community and shine a light on darkness, shine a light on meaninglessness. It’s everywhere already, and it’s spreading.