About a year after 9.11, I met an octogenarian German fellow in the parkland that wends along the creek and defines this bucolic northern California town.
‘How old were you in 1933?’ I asked after a few minutes serious conversation.
“Sixteen,” he said with a look that indicated he knew where I was going with the question.
‘Do you remember the zeitgeist in Germany at that time?’
“Very well,” he replied.
‘Do you have the feeling, as I do, that something has gone terribly wrong in America, and that we could go the way of Weimer Germany?’
The old German fellow gave me a long, woeful look, and then unflinchingly said, “Yes, that’s what I feel, and fear.”
I didn’t ask him what he did during World War II. He wouldn’t have told me whether he was simply a Wehrmacht grunt, or an SS capo on the hunt for Jews.
This was before the malignant invasion of Iraq that George Bush hatched with Dick Cheney during the prologue to the present incarnation of evil in America. Junior fulfilled his wet dream of finishing what Daddy started over decade before, killing hundreds of thousands of people, destabilizing the Middle East, and displacing millions in the process.
This was before Barack Obama entered stage left at the Democratic Convention of 2004 with oratory that he was never able to rise to and deliver during his eight-year interregnum.
This was before Donald Trump cunningly entered political life with his racist birther bullshit, smearing a rather snug and smug President Obama with the ludicrous charge he was born in Kenya.
The only thing worse than Donald Trump winning another term in November is President Trump losing in September. If the economy tanks and/or President Ugly Mouth is irrecoverably down in the polls, he’ll start a war to “unite the American people.”
Yet, the pundits are pleased with the cornering of Trump. The 0ft-featured columnist in the New York Times, Frank Bruni, prematurely pronounces, in a paroxysm of willful blindness, “Trump is toast.”
Proving that living in an alternate reality isn’t confined to Trump and his followers, Bruni falls so far behind the curve that he loses sight of the recent past. “The 2020 election is a battle for the soul of America,” he proclaims, echoing old man Biden.
That battle was lost 30 years ago for god’s sake. The death of this nation’s soul is what led to Bush-Cheney and Trump-Pence, not to mention the across-the-spectrum self-centeredness of America’s intentionally fragmented pandemic response.
“I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if Biden stages a rout in November…and Trump’s reign is cast not as some profound wake-up call but as a freak accident made possible by a perfect storm of circumstances,” Bruni obtusely intones, almost giddy with wishful thinking. When all is said and done, America elected Trump, not some rump of Republicans.
Back on planet Earth, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Trump, facing certain indictment, probable prison time, and the indelible label of loser and the worst president in American history, starts a major war if he’s down by ten or more points in September.
I can already hear the punditry class saying, “Shhh, you’ll give him ideas.” As if this deceptively incompetent patsy and devil’s own doesn’t have ideas being whispered in his head every day by the thing that pulls his string.
This is where we are on this July 4th. Half of America delusionally celebrates, and half of America shamefully mourns the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by the founding fathers.
Either way, the analysis by the intelligentsia in the USA is almost entirely inward turning in the worst sense of the phrase, attesting that both Republicans and Democrats believe the world begins and ends with the United States.
For example, after going half way to the truth about his adopted nation, Roger Cohen tries, like all good Americans, to have things both ways in his latest column, writing:
“When George Washington and Thomas Jefferson fall from grace, you have to wonder. Union generals, including Ulysses Grant, who fought to defeat the Confederacy and slavery, were not good enough.”
You have to wonder what? Whether we can say that to be a slave owner was not good enough irrespective of the time? If we cannot see the false as the false in the founders after all these years, we cannot and will not ever attain “a more perfect union.”
However, as the full flower of fascism opens in its dark allure for the first time in American history, the issue is not the unity of Americans and the perfectibility of America, but the peril to humanity and the planet that America now represents.
Throughout history, there are junctures when the immediate future cannot be changed, and when only fools fail to see it coming. Trump has one card left to play—war–in a desperate attempt to unify America. And he’s already demonstrated that he doesn’t give a damn about the lives of the people, or even our venerated soldiers in the most grotesquely bloated and violent military in history.
Pray that nuclear weapons aren’t used, and prepare to create and build anew. Homo sap, the zombie tribalistic primate, must give up the ghost for Homo sapiens, the human being, to finally emerge.