It’s somewhat comical to me that Master of Puppets turned 30 today, and what a year 1986 must’ve been. Metallica might’ve provided me the fuel to sit down and write this piece after a couple days of simply feeling defeated – as though I’m watching a very distinct series of events unfold that will yield nothing more than chaos, madness, worse.
A swift and cunning end to social progress, for starters, and four years’ worth of criminal atrocities at home and abroad that will take decades to reconcile. As the Good Doctor Hunter S. Thompson would’ve put it, fear and loathing, and what I would do to have him here to help make sense of it all. Seeing as he isn’t, I’ll try to perceive it through his eyes.
Full disclosure, I’m for Bernie Sanders. For many reasons, but plenty of which not being properly rooted in probability or fact. Two factual reasons for backing him, though, are immutable:
- Repealing Citizens United: Getting big money out of politics, subsequently forcing representatives to represent the people rather than the enterprises that fund their campaigns. Vis-à-vis, steadily putting the political control back into the hands of the people.
- Repealing Glass-Steagall: Not allowing the nation’s largest banks to gamble with the nation’s finances and preventing another economic crash caused by such activities. Vis-à-vis, steadily putting the economic safety of the people back into the hands of the people.
As for everything else, sure I support virtually everything the man stands for. If that makes me a socialist or Americanized definition of Communist or Leninist or whatever the hell else, so be it. But, in reality, Sanders actually stands for something far closer to the constitution than anything Owen and Fourier ever composed, or Moore for that matter, at least insofar as I understand that defining text.
That, however, is a story for another time. This is to be solely focused on the lessons learned from Super Tuesday.
Trump might be president
Fact. There are far too many scenarios in which Trump could easily sit in the Oval Office come January.
Try this one on for size:
Trump’s overwhelming victory of the popular vote makes it impossible for the delegation to listen to old hacks like Romney – impossible for them to allow Mitt to touch their very souls with his earnest candor and graceful elephant-speak. They subsequently succumb to Trump’s superiority above their other sad caricatures of public-access television personalities, and vote him in as their candidate.
The DNC’s delegates, lacking spine or feelings of obligation to their constituency, do not allow Sanders in regardless of the popular vote, choosing Clinton decisively and in such landslide form that no one questions the decision. What follows is an all-out assault on Clinton, who is already in a very precarious position at this stage, months before the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
Trump’s stature on the national level is too much for Clinton to overcome, and the former’s camp launches far too many baseless but effective accusations for any person’s character to endure, let alone the latter’s. Trump squeezes in close but comfortably with both the Electoral College and the popular vote, and that’s that.
Crazy thought? What you need to remember is we are the ones who dictate the future. And that’s the big ‘We,’ as in the entire population of this country.
First, with respect to the Trump getting voted in argument – if you do not see this as being the most likely outcome in the GOP primaries, you haven’t been paying attention or you might just be hopelessly optimistic.
Second, with respect to Sanders not getting the nomination regardless of popular vote – in my current state of residence, Colorado, Sanders won the popular vote by a 19 percent margin, which is about 22,000 votes over Clinton’s total with a smidge more than 120,000 votes counted. Clinton is currently tied with Sanders for delegates (who actually nominate the candidate) and is poised to defeat him in the state of Colorado by two delegates. How do you think races for delegates will go in other states?
Third, Trump defeating Clinton in the general election. The size of Trump’s following is waxing, Clinton’s waning. Clinton has Benghazi and other polarizing factors resting right above her head, such as accusations of felony crimes. Now, the validity of these matters does not matter – it’s horrible to say, worse to believe, but it’s true, sadly.
The engine of the GOP has run on fear, deception and cunning for decades at this point. In every other English-speaking nation, cunning is not a positive adjective. Here in The States, I think part of the definition is “smooth.” Trump does not need to have valid facts to create enough hatred-based tidal force to overcome Clinton.
Plus, while polls are most often skewed, it’s notable that most say Sanders would defeat Trump by a much greater margin than Clinton, and all of the other GOP candidates as well. At the same time, I do not see, at this stage in the game, the DNC or their delegation to allow a Sanders ticket.
Again, they’re spineless to the point of stupidity. If you’re just a coward, okay, it’s not all that cool to mock or attack you. If you’re responsible for the fate of this fair nation, are a coward and allow it to impact your decision-making, well, then, that’s an entirely different story. Can’t remember an instance in this country of the people putting a gun to the head of some random face in the crowd and saying “be a delegate or die.”
In any case, the reality is Trump has a real shot at the White House.
The people can take back control
The similarities between Sanders’ and Trumps’ supporters are stark and somewhat unsettling for the same reasons they are indistinguishable to the naked eye. Both are running against establishment politics, and that particular driver brings out many, many different types of people. Maybe even the majority of people would get behind such ventures, should our nation still have any of its fundamental attributes.
Now, while Sanders is taking this position authentically – only accepting donations from individuals and racking up fat stacks from the masses – again he is somewhat doomed to second place because of the delegation and the overt sliminess that is electoral politics. However, Trump is another story. He’s convincing the masses that he is funded by himself, that he is owned by no one, when this is not even remotely true. He’s a used car salesman, and there is perhaps no more lovable American persona than a used car salesman.
Now, in convincing them of these things and others, he has shown that the public – that the masses – can actually unite against an otherwise infallible political mechanism – the GOP.
You think the GOP’s biggest, longest-serving supporters and funders want to see Trump’s name on the November ballots? Absolutely not. But they are being forced to oblige by the very amorphous orb of lies the GOP itself created, likely unknowingly, but nonetheless willfully.
The overwhelming numbers make it impossible for them to say no. This part actually does show signs that our political system is working properly. I’m not saying that this means we need to tear it all down, I’m just saying.
So, whether you want to deem it horrid or beautiful, a spade’s a spade.
The world watches in horror
Doubtful even one world leader was not watching intently as the populations of eleven states cast their votes for their candidates with a close eye on the GOP and the Trump camp. We have the largest arsenal, the most powerful military, the most adamantine framework of death in the Military-Industrial Complex, and among the least regard for the rights of our foreign peers. And a Trump presidency is a very real and feasible outcome. As in the Football Bag, aka the bag that follows the president and acts as a nuclear missile launch system, will be following Donald Trump around.
What did Conrad say? The horror, the horror.
For the longest time, I’ve felt as though it is simply our duty, as Americans under one of the greatest bills of rights or constitutions ever composed, to participate. To be informed, and to exercise our right to franchise accordingly. I was wrong.
We need to be seeking out knowledge actively and earnestly and from the right sources. Sure, that falls within the spectrum of an “informed populace” but the media was not in 1776 what it is in 2016. Between our laughable education system and our most preferred sources of news, we’re tasked with far greater and heavier responsibility today. We need to learn how to learn on our own, then find time in our overworked days to continue learning.
But therein lies one of the great tests the founding fathers might have never even considered. The scale of this constitution. The applicability of the documents and their provisions when placed within a much larger petri dish and under a far more powerful magnifying glass. Nostradamus himself could not have predicted the 24-hour news cycle and its immense impacts on the collective psyche.
We, regardless of the odds stacked against us, are in control of an unwieldy stature in a volatile world. And we, as a group, are putting Trump in a position to win. And the world watches in horror, like a bird on a wire.
Fear and loathing
It’s hard for me to not think of the 1972 election when looking at this one. The writer who probably influenced me more than any other, Dr. Thompson, was behind a man named George McGovern. Literally every ounce of common sense would be behind George McGovern in that race, regardless of opponent but especially due to his foe in the general election. And Thompson wrote so flawlessly that anyone reading could feel every pain he confronted while watching McGovern’s campaign crash and burn, and The Power fall back into the hands of the worst class of villains.
Super Tuesday might end up going down as an important day in our nation’s history, especially in the hearts and minds of those who reside outside her borders. And not a positive one. The first decisive step closer to a Trump presidency – a satire come to irrevocable and unfortunate life, and a kingdom buried just 240 years after its inception.
Suffice it to say I feel the fear and loathing. Perhaps not as strongly or genuinely as the sentiment’s first Poet in Arms, but fear and loathing all the same. The events are unfolding and the unstoppable tidal force of ignorance, laziness and surrender rises with every twitch.
And where will this leave these United States come 2021?
For further reading, I’d highly suggest reading Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.