I’ve come to realize that most Americans don’t want to know about the problems that confront our country nor the actors that are responsible. Moreover, they prefer fairy tales, relayed by their tribal corporate media source, that depict their hero being stymied by the evil players on the other team. Or they prefer fairy tales that the intractable problems we face as a country can be remedied by another dose of technology and or faith.
This unknowing has had health ramifications during the Trump administration with many liberals suffering “Trump Anxiety Disorder”. The narrative has been that Trump is so horrible that he is somehow causing liberals to have psychological breakdowns with his awfulness. This continued right up to the recent election with liberals believing that Trump was a secret Russian agent while simultaneously believing that they voted against fascism.
I believe the unknowing of liberals has precluded the perspective to understand that Trump wasn’t any more awful than our previous presidents just far more uncouth and vulgar. For example, although Obama bombed seven Muslim countries from 2009 to 2017, all but destroying Libya, liberals viewed him as a progressive champion.
Such is the unknowing.
Perhaps the apogee of unknowing during Trump’s reign came with the rehabilitation of former George W. Bush administration neocons into Resistance hero’s. From David Frum to William Krystal to Nicolle Wallace to the former president himself, there appeared the worst and most dangerous participants and enablers of the invasion of Iraq and the War on Terror madness. It is literally impossible to say Trump is uniquely evil among presidents without rehabilitating George W. Bush. It can’t be done, because nothing Trump did is as bad as an invasion which killed over a million people, destabilized the Middle East and ushered in an unprecedented era of military expansionism which displaced tens of millions of people.
Yet because W. and members of his administration have come out and opposed Trump they been magically transformed into hero’s of the Resistance because of the vast liberal unknowing. I can’t tell you how many liberals have confided to me that they long for the Bush administration.
Meanwhile, conservatives are just as susceptible to unknowing. Biden is not going to enslave you to communism. He’s going to administer the late-stage, neoliberal, all-American empire, just like his predecessor. In fact Biden will be the first president in recent memory who promised to be more interventionist and attacked his opponent for being insufficiently hawkish. Trump ran on reducing interventionism, so did Obama, even Bush. Biden’s starting out from a much more militaristic position.
Such is the unknowing.
This unknowing of liberals and conservatives is starting to be a real problem. All our problems are fundamentally due to the fact that things aren’t happening the way we think they’re happening. Power structures–financial, economic and political systems–are the things that enslave us and they exist and prosper irrespective of which party controls the White House.
As usual it’s all about narrative. Wealthy liberals have ceased to understand working-class Americans, persuaded by the New York Times that these fellow citizens are a deplorable bunch of white-supremacist neo-Nazis. And wealthy, Wall Street Journal reading, conservatives have ceased to understand the meaning of patriotism, happy to ship jobs overseas to fatten their “defense” portfolios, while pretending to support the troops. They are completely oblivious when it comes to US foreign policy, especially that detail about the US being a violent worldwide empire that protects transnational capital rather than the American people. I can’t tell you you how sick I am of being “thanked for my service” by these hypocrites.
I’ve come to understand that a lot of the unknowing concerns class, socio-economic status, and career prospects rather than simply identity politics. Both wealthy liberals and conservatives are happy to sacrifice their fellow working-class compatriots as long as they can maintain their social position and status in our increasingly precarious economy.
Meanwhile, for our feral elite, the divide and rule that results from this class-based unknowing suits them just fine.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that we are on our own. Nether political party represents average Americans anymore, having both been captured by different members of our feral elite. As we head into a tumultuous future the inevitable social unrest will see the federal government, no matter which party controls it deploy its militarized police force and vast surveillance infrastructure to ruthlessly crush dissent.
To avoid this our goal must be to reclaim politics–a politics that cares about the future and about all Americans.
To do so we must first reclaim the unknowing.