There’s a hell of a lot going on, a lot to think about, a load of challenges in even keeping track of what’s happening. This should be pretty obvious. What still doesn’t seem to be so obvious for a lot of people is that one complication in all of it is what I’ve been hammering on for a long time, largely ignored. Too many people seem to be more focused on trying to get a handle on what they’re supposed to think is happening, and what they’re supposed to think and say about that, what to pretend, rather than what actually is happening.
There was an online article a couple of days ago that managed to put a finger squarely on something of a clue that’s front and center in current affairs, a symptom of what I’ve been calling bipolar political disorder.
The general subject was asking about what happened to “anti-war” political activity. It’s not actually such a difficult and mysterious question. The title of the piece pretty much said it all. A lot of people upset and angry about the wars started by the Bush and Cheney administration seemed to think that somehow the problem had been solved by an election in 2006 that shifted Congress to a majority of Democratic party members, and then especially so, as if everything was completely resolved, by the 2008 election of Barack Obama to be President. It’s as if people thought, “right, job done, what’s next?”.
It’s easy enough to understand the reality, which could be put in simplest terms by saying that in reality, what happened was that theoretical control of the government had been taken away from The War Party, and given to The Other War Party.
I’ve been writing about this kind of thing for what seems like a hell of a long time now, and it’s like talking to a fucking wall.
It might be one of the great tragedies of American history, playing out, right now. That sounds pretty melodramatic, but here it is, around us, right now. Maybe it’s just a tragic recurring flaw in humanity, to not see what’s happening at the present, right here, right now, even though later generations look back in history and say “how could these people claim to not know?”. Thinking recently about the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and writing about it, I thought a lot about something I’ve thought about often, thinking about that period of history, which is just how easily that massive tragedy happened, not just the Nazi concentration camps, specifically, but the whole saga of Nazi Germany that played out over about a decade and a half or so.
[One note on that- some people refer to that episode of ugly history as being 1933-1945, starting when Hitler took control of the German government, but it is not as if that just suddenly happened overnight.]
Of course, one problem added into the mix here (you might be thinking of this already) is that as soon as somebody says anything like what I just mentioned, many people will just instantly react, without even pausing to absorb a thought and give it some consideration and reflection, and derail things by going off chattering about “this guy thinks we’re like Nazi Germany!” and what a bizarre notion this is. Maybe they’ll start yapping about how nothing is anything like that, rattling off a bunch of specific details about the Nazi period, and how all that isn’t present now, and completely miss the basic point.
That’s part of the problem, and recalls the idea that goes like: history doesn’t repeat, but sometimes it rhymes. It’s apparent that many people think that if they watch out for things exactly like things that happened before in some period of history, they’re good. Other people, in the past, have offered thoughts about the idea that I certainly think is exactly right, which is that if fascism arose in the United States, it would not look just like Nazi Germany, it would have its own appearances and forms, and this would be one of the primary problems in terms of how it might take hold.
And, unfortunately, talking about this is also prone to send some people off into more reflex reactions, ignoring all the rest of what’s at hand, in something like my little note for example, and going off into making a subject of “is America turning fascist?… yes or no?”, with some extended squabbling to follow that’s considered to be “debate”, when, in fact, I have no intention of making this, here, now, about fascism, exclusively and specifically. The subject is about people not seeing things as they are as they happen.
So, to get back on the main road here, part of our considerable piles of confusion and misdirected attention here and now involves people with slightly (or hugely) delusional notions about club D, as their party, their bunch, that, ironically, sometimes seem to rival the kind of confused nonsense held in people’s minds having suffered some kind of mental damage from years of absorbing Fox News and the noisy idiocy and lying from politicians of club R.
And more difficulty probably arises then, as somebody will start talking about you making some “false equivalence” between R and D, regardless of what you actually said. You might get something like “oh, so you would vote for R then?” and so on.
This has been a growing serious problem, and it shows up and manifests itself in many ways. I think I mentioned, in a note here not long ago, the way I suggested that it was nonsense to credit the president with “fixing the economy”, for the simple basic reason that to describe the economy as “fixed”, in any way, was ridiculous fiction. That drew angry responses, including some examples of what’s typical in the kind of thing I’m talking about, suggesting that anything critical of Obama as president, or even so much as suggesting he’s less than stellar, brings presumptions of being Republican/Right attacks, or, in a weird twist occasionally, that the person involved must be some sort of Far Left radical who’s suggesting that Obama is not Left enough for them, some whiner who just can’t be satisfied by anything who regards anything about Obama as just not good enough.
Couple that with the victims of Fox News and club R propaganda nonsense portraying a sort of straw man cartoon villain image of Obama, and we end up with an impossible situation, with masses of people who can’t manage to look at anything as it actually is. Pile all that together into a tangled mess of competing bipolar narratives of nonsense, and it’s nearly hopeless to sort anything out.
The situation in and around Ukraine has certainly been a major item, getting a lot of my attention over the past year, and getting a lot of space here in this spot on the web. There are plenty of reasons why, given not just the seriousness of the story going on itself, but the massive bombardment of false narratives coming at people endlessly, so that virtually nothing is really getting through.
Just this minute, literally, an example popped up, as the local public radio station is on in the room, playing musical programming, but a minute of promo spot time brought a spot for the NPR show All Things Considered, to come later today, with a preview excerpt of a “news story” with an audio clip of Secretary of State John Kerry proclaiming more bullshit about the Ukrainian situation, and the preview continuing on to say that the story would be about Ukraine and the current situation of Washington considering sending weaponry to the junta government in Ukraine trying to wipe out the Russian-Ukrainian population in the east.
It’s not like I’ve done a survey, but I suspect with quite a bit of confidence, all things considered from what I can tell from my own observations, that questioning Americans about what they think is happening in Ukraine, and the geopolitics around it, would mostly bring responses that are clueless about what’s happening, replaced by the narratives we’re being told.
People infected by club R and Fox News and other propaganda operatives think it’s “Russian aggression” and so on with notions that weak and ineffective Obama is guilty of allowing and inviting “Russian aggression”, whereas club D loyalists who seem willfully blind hold to the idea that, no, their guy Obama is master strategist in standing up to the mean bully Vladimir Putin and his “Russian aggression”. Every day, in a variety of supposedly serious news media, including what according to Fox News is the “Lefty Liberal” NPR, hammer out the fiction and distortions about the Ukraine situation, constantly repeating “Russian aggression in Ukraine”, and that it’s a “Ukraine-Russia war” and so on. It’s becoming increasingly maddening, frustrating, and thoroughly disgusting, and this problem can have very bad consequences if the fog doesn’t clear soon, and people realize they’re being sold a load of nonsense with very ill intentions behind it.