There is a history in all men’s lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased,
The which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasured. (1)
If this is true of the lives of men, it should be even truer of American presidential elections. Their history observed, would enable us to easily prophesy what they are going to be – a farce played on the voters at their expense, while the citizens should pretend, or affect to pretend that the farce is a true story.
Which, in a world-upside-down way makes sense. For the candidates are abstractions, chosen behind the scene, talking to another abstraction, the public, consisting of individuals who never are and never can be united in an actual situation or organization – though they are classed together as a whole.
Therefore, the blunt monster with uncounted heads (2) can be treated as such, blunt, monstrous, gullible and, of course, mindless. Deserving to receive the most absurd stupidities extracted from the deepest black hole of idiocy.
Take, as one example out of many, an electoral statements by Sarah Palin (a recent vice-presidential candidate). This woman, governor of Alaska, said she would be the perfect vice-president to fight Russia (declare war?), because she can see Russia from her window.
For there is no escape. Either the woman is stupid or she thinks her audience is. A loss-loss situation. In the instance, if the woman is stupid, it says much about whom the state of Alaska chose to be administered by. If she thinks her audience is stupid, it says much about the respects she has for her fellow citizens. If both the speaker and the audience are stupid, it should suggest some conclusions about the mental tone of the exceptional country. Or finally, the statement may be intended to represent the elections as a farce, with the candidates as protagonists and the electors as bit-players and background actors. If so, it seems logical to conclude that the millions who vote, relish being taken for a ride.
On the other hand, the most likely case is that the electorate, being an abstraction, is irrelevant. Though it is part of the farce to assume the contrary and to subject the public to the toxic pedagogy of acceptance of lies and falsifications, constructed with the Lego of inventions and illusions.
Which brings us to the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who, in my view, represents this year’s twist and novelty element in the farce. Bernie Sanders, on the surface, appears to be the voice of the unorganized Left, practically disappeared since the times of Ronald Reagan – who, after stating that “the problem is not with the government, the problem is the government”, increased its size by over 300,000 employees during the term of his presidency.
Bernie Sanders is one of the democratic candidates, along with the nefarious Hillary Clinton. His strategy is to focus on the popular resentment over ever-increasing social inequality. Something that Clinton cannot do as she would be laughed at, quite apart from her other issues, equally worthy of disgust and contempt.
Sanders says that income inequality is “the great moral issue of our time” and attacks the greed of the “billionaire class.” He then praises and promises the restoration of “the once-great American middle class.”
As Henry VIII said to Cromwell, “It’s well said again, and it is a kind of good deed to say well, yet words are no deeds.” (3) For, given the entrenched and unshakable power of the “billionaire class” and of those who feed at its trough, nothing short of a Jacobin revolution could have even the remotest chance, if not of success, at least of change. An impossible event to imagine in the current circumstances, with the “opposition” reduced to make its voice heard on the Internet – the last refuge of the (regrettably) irrelevant classes, however we may wish to think otherwise.
What should or could be a progressive opposition is confused and often contradictory for lack, among other things, of an ideological beacon. It relies mainly on models and characters that may have historical, philosophical and reference value, but are irrelevant to the conditions of today’s world.
The Marxists, for example, are divided between Trotskyites (international socialism) and Stalinists (I simplify, meaning socialism one country at a time), plus other sects mixing the two currents in different degrees and arguing with each other with the zeal and tenacity of medieval theologians
With opponents like these, Sanders’ billionaire class can rest secure with their billions. While the modest sporadic protests, diligently suppressed by the police, constitute the part in the comedy that gives a tinge of democracy to acts of uselessness.
However, the same amorphous and disorganized Left, takes encouragement from Sanders’ initial popularity, given that anti-communism was the foundation of official politics in the United States since the end of WW2. And further considering that, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, socialism is a proscribed and disparaging word in US culture.
Sanders is encouraging, they say, because many people are looking for alternatives to the existing political and economic system, which offers, as a vision, a return to the medieval order. Criticism of Sanders by the Trotskyites centers on his nationalism, as a symbol of bourgeois politics, whereby workers identify their interests with those of the nation, which, of course, is ruled by the capitalist class.
According to the same view, Sanders’ “America First” platform implies a chauvinistic approach to labor issues – meaning that American workers should line up with their employers against fellow workers in other countries.
More important is Sanders’ use of the term “billionaire class,” rather than “the capitalist class.” Not that he should, but criticizing the “billionaire class”, without mentioning the turbo-capitalism of neo-liberal economics, is an exercise in vacuity of meaning, let alone of intent.
Equally, advocating the re-establishment of the “great American middle class” is pompous mediatic liturgy, another meaningless externation designed to persuade a few more (otherwise reluctant) people to go to the polls. I want to be wrong, but, barring the proverbial act of God, the pantomime will end in Sanders endorsing Clinton and the latter “making note” of what Sanders said, or uttering words of no-consequence to that effect.
Sanders’ most “dramatic” proposed reforms are a $15.00 minimum hourly-wage, already implemented in some states. The other proposal, of a modest federal jobs program, is not even thinkable among the current rulers. They are the spiritual heirs of those who accused Roosevelt of communism when he launched “the new deal” in the 1930s – a measure that, in his words, saved capitalism in America.
For the 1930s were a time when the appalling working and starving conditions of millions triggered revolts, easily and brutally extinguished by the police. Today a federal jobs program, however reduced, would be labeled as “socialism”, a word that stinks in the NWO (New World Order).
However, even more telling about Sanders’ candidacy is his position on other key issues. He is a hawk and a staunch supporter of American imperialism. His records show consistency in voting for multiple “defense” spending bills to support wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for “human rights” interventions, such as the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. He also publicly advocated establishing yet another military base in his own state, Vermont, to host the F-35 military jets.
One member of his staff, who resigned after Sanders voted to bomb Yugoslavia, tellingly wrote,
“It was your vote in support of this (bombing) resolution that precipitated my decision that my conscience required me to resign from your staff. I have tried to ask myself questions that I believe each of us must ask ourselves: Is there a moral limit to the military violence you are willing to participate in or support? Where does that limit lie? And when that limit has been reached, what action will you take?”
Sanders supported the US-led regime-change in Ukraine and its current Nazi government, as a bulwark against “Russian aggression.” In a TV interview last year, Sanders declared that “The entire world has got to stand up to Putin.”
He is a staunch Zionist and defended Israel’s barbaric genocidal attack in Gaza in 2014, because “Israel has the right to defend itself.” This should be no surprise, as there is an undeclared competition, among the 535 US congressmen and senators, for the crown of the Zionist champion of the world.
Finally, notwithstanding all of the above, Sanders appears the least wacky among the other wacky and war-hawk current candidates. Which should be considered verification that “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” (4) But for sure, Sanders is no friend of the downtrodden and no enemy of corporate capitalism.
To those wishing to think otherwise, I would recommend a chaste silence and a verecund reserve (in their optimism). They should remember that Obama triggered hopes of change and expectations of peace. But the bubble that sparkled before the voters became common water at the touch. For it is inevitable that the politics of illusion consistently yield a poisonous fruit.
(1), (2), King Henry IV, part 2
(3) King Henry VIII
(4) The Tempest
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