Kunstler: Slouching Towards Election Day.
It’s getting hard to give a shit about this election, though you might still care about this country. The damage has been done to the two long-reigning political parties and perhaps that’s a good thing. They deserved to be dragged into the gutter and now they can either go through a severe rehab or be replaced by as-yet-unformed coalitions of reality-based interests.
Trump did a greater disservice all-in-all to the faction he supposedly represented. Their grievances about a grift-maximized political economy were genuine, and Trump managed to make them look like a claque of sinister clowns. This cartoon of a rich kid with no internal boundaries was unable to articulate their legitimate complaints. His behavior during the so-called debates verged on psychotic. If Trump loses, I will essay to guess that his followers’ next step will be some kind of violence. For the moment, pathetic as it is, Trump was their last best hope.
I’m more comfortable about Hillary — though I won’t vote for her — because it will be salutary for the ruling establishment to unravel with her in charge of it. That way, the right people will be blamed for the mismanagement of our national affairs. This gang of elites needs to be circulated out of power the hard way, under the burden of their own obvious perfidy, with no one else to point their fingers at. Her election will sharpen awareness of the criminal conduct in our financial practices and the neglect of regulation that marked the eight years of Obama’s appointees at the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The “tell” in these late stages of the campaign has been the demonization of Russia — a way more idiotic exercise than the McCarthyite Cold War hysteria of the early 1950s, since there is no longer any ideological conflict between us and all the evidence indicates that the current state of bad relations is America’s fault, in particular our sponsorship of the state failure in Ukraine and our avid deployment of NATO forces in war games on Russia’s border. Hillary has had the full force of the foreign affairs establishment behind her in this war-drum-banging effort, yet they have not been able to produce any evidence, for instance, in their claim that Russia is behind the Wikileaks hack of Hillary’s email. They apparently subscribe to the Joseph Goebbels theory of propoganda [sic--P.Z.]: if you’re going to lie, make sure it’s a whopper, and then repeat it incessantly.
The media has been on-board with all this. The New York Times especially has acted as the hired amplifier for the establishment lies — such a difference from the same newspaper’s role in the Vietnam War ruckus of yesteryear. Today (Monday) they ran an astounding editorial “explaining” the tactical necessity of Hillary’s dishonesty: “In politics, hypocrisy and doublespeak are tools,” The Times editorial board wrote. Oh, well, that’s reassuring. Welcome to the George Orwell Theme Park of Democracy.
Of course neither Trump nor Hillary show any signs of understanding the real problems afflicting the USA. They don’t recognize the basic energy equation that has made it impossible for industrial economies to keep growing [Emphasis mine.--P.Z.], or the deformities in banking and finance that result from official efforts to overcome these implacable conditions, namely, the piling up of ever-greater debt to “solve” the problem of over-indebtedness.
The beginning of the way out of this quandary will be recognition that the federal government is the greatest obstacle for America making the necessary adjustments to a world that has changed. If Trump got elected, I’m convinced that he would be removed from office by a military coup inside of a year, which would be an epic smash-up of our political machinery per se, comparable to the period 44 BCE in Rome, when the republic crashed. Hillary would bring a more measured discredit to the system with the chance that our institutions might be rehabilitated — with the cherry-on-top being Hillary’s eventual impeachment for lying, a fate that her husband and the late Richard Nixon both wiggled out of one way or another.