Introduction to Misfit 25
“In the future everybody will have fifteen minutes of health care coverage.”
-- Ruth Altmann, from the book Across the Big Map
In the new dystopia known as Trumplandia (or these states formerly known as United), this facetious statement, made decades ago in a poem, seems less like a riff on Andy Warhol than as a policy statement by republicans. As their leader no longer makes any pretense about normalcy, his faith in himself, and all his multitudinous corrupt ventures, plus the efficacy of transparent lies no one believes, except, maybe, himself. There does not seem to be any pretense of, “ For the good of the country”, but only for those corrupt people in power. Our interest and your interest only coincide where they haphazardly intersect at some undefined point on the continuum. The axiom is: If you are one of us you will prosper. Have a nice tax cut one percenters. Health care for the masses? Forget it. If you are not one of us, he wealthy, you will get sick, go bankrupt and die. That’s our health care proposal. Take it or leave it.
What choice do we have?
This cynical attitude had exceeded even those of the Prince of self-interest, advisor to the de Medici’s, Machiavelli. We will nominate whom we please, for the highest offices in the land regardless of their backgrounds. Formerly verboten lines have been crossed. Since when is it okay to be credibly accused of sexual assault on minors not been disqualifying to become a member of congress? Or of actual physical assault on a reporter and be elected to the House of Representatives, Then, after a finished term, run for the Senate? This whole idea of boys will be boys, is such blatant, throw-back to the time when America was Not So Great in the 50’s. (stuff has happened since then . You can’t ignore it, though you can try, obviously)
Those were the times when everyone knew their place and no one questioned authority or else they would end up before the Unamerican Activities Committee. Just asked the blackballed screenwriters and directors in Hollywood. Ask the writers, the actors, the poets and even athletes, who were called to testify. (Mickey Mantle following Casey Stengel to the microphone is a classic.) Paranoia, and acting on irrational impulses is not or, should not be, a state policy. Apparently it is now. It is not a coincidence that the president thought it was a good idea to reconsider, reinstating the Unamerican Activities committee. Luckily he forgot and moved on to another equally as insane idea.
I am asked if the times now are worse than the 60’s and the answer is a resounding: Yes and No. Yes, in the sense that the unthinkable has happened: we have a president who is totally mentally unstable, uniquely unqualified to be president of a boy scout troop much less a world power (which he proved amply at his speech to boy scouts months after taking office. For anyone who has never read a complete version of one of his speeches at rallies or public events?, do so. They are instructive for their lack of logic, coherence and complete lack of straight thinking. At best, you could say these speeches show a disorderly mind, maybe one that is unbalanced. Maybe worse. The scary part is his thought processes are unhinged does not cover it. All that speed he must take has a cumulative effect.... Given his sleeping habits, irrational screeds and incessant, scattered thought processes ....)
The only real differences between Nixon in 60’s and 70’s, and Trump, is that Nixon drank and that negatively affected his thinking, his unbalanced personality. At least, Nixon had experience in governance, though his instincts were criminal, and that ultimately brought him down. Plus Nixon was a repressed, an invert of sorts, which no doubt played into his hatreds and lack of empathy. Trump was born that way and has no real experience at managing anything except a criminal enterprise of which there is increasingly more evidence that his business, his campaign and his administration were all criminal in nature. This is worse than the 60’s.
As of yet the violence that characterized resistance to Nixon and the War have not materialized. In the 60’s and 70’s this violence came from the far left but when the violence occurs this time, as it will at some point, it will come from the right. More than likely the precipitating event will be when the noose finally tightens around Trump’s neck. There will be a slaughter of the innocents (and, the not so innocents) and it will occur on Pennsylvania Avenue after the blue tsunami in November. Cabinet officials, staff members, administrators, up and down the avenue, will be unceremoniously deposed. Then the political shit will really hit the fan in every way imaginable. This will be an eventful time at year’s end. Violence and upheaval. The American way. Consider this: The right wing radicals are better armed and crazier than they were back then. And more committed. This is worse. Much worse.
In the mean time we have poetry. Maybe poetry is all we have left after this insanity is over , even in a society that does not value poetry and demeans those who do. Ignore them, as their ignorance will be their reward. And enjoy the poetry. From chaos comes poetry. There will always be chaos. There will always be poetry.