America is Becoming a Dystopian Nightmare: What Do We Do Now???

June 28, 2018

I’m sick to my stomach. It doesn’t seem like a survivable idiocracy at this point. It feels like the drift into authoritarianism. Both my undergraduate and doctoral work focused on how fascist movements emerge. My professional work as a researcher has centered on the threat of right-wing extremism. I have to slap myself to make sure this is not a bad dream. Trade wars lead to depressions which lead to authoritarian strongmen willing to do whatever it takes to make their nation “great again.” Is this 1938 or 1968? Old straight white men don’t see it, but almost everyone else sees the writing on the wall.

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At least the summer of 1968 had just a few central issues to focus America’s rage on; the Vietnam War, institutional racism, would the Detroit Tigers make it to the World Series (yes). For us in 2018 it’s dizzying. Our president alienating our allies and playing footsies with dictators, then lying about about a member of Congress, children being ripped from their parents by government police forces, the Supreme Court rolling back reproductive rights, worker rights, and banning many Muslims from entering the country. And that’s just in the last two weeks! How are we supposed to get a footing to fight back?

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Or is that their plan?

The announcement of the resignation of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court should be taken as a monumental threat to our democracy but, jeez, it’s just another headline. There’ a protest about it, but I was going to go to the protest about the Supreme Court ending fair share support of public unions, and also those kids on the border, and what were we angry about this time last month? I can’t keep up. I’ve got Trump fatigue and that’s good for Trump and his cult of personality. Is this how Germans felt in 1929?

The Supreme Court situation is more than dire. George H.W. Bush recognized stacking the courts with his “yes-men” was the way to go 30 years ago. It’s an old tactic but it was raised to a new height of authoritarian rule in 2016 when Senate Leader and human turtle Mitch McConnell refused to hold hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court pick until after the election. Most of us thought, Fine, then President Hillary will appoint someone who is actually a progressive.

Trump’s pick (which constitutionally should have been Obama’s but GOP + U.S. Constitution = meh), Neil Gorsuch has helped to swing the bench away from the center and to the hard right. The decisions this past week prove that hard fought victories for women, workers, and a sane anti-terrorism policy can be zeroed out by a single vote. Now that Kennedy, the last remaining (Reagan-appointed) centrist is leaving, Trump can recreate the court in his image. Do you think he’s going for judicial balance or for a rubber stamp for his destructive policies? Look for Don, Jr. to be his go to “judge.”

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It’s clear that Roe v. Wade’s days are numbered and women and girls will soon be dying again in back alley abortions. (If Donald J. Trump ever paid for your abortion, now would be the time to come forward.) Marriage equality is in the cross-hairs as President Pussy Grabber tries to appease his evangelical gay-hating “Christian” base. Border policy that rounds up the “infestation” (his word) of non-white immigrants will be expanded. Start looking for an expiration date on green cards. But most of all the Trump Court will hand more of the people’s rights over to corporations and destroy the democratic (that’s a small “d”) fiber that made this country the shining city on the hill.

Trump looks more and more like Saddam Hussein every day, pushing this country into a permanent one party rule. He’s been quietly appointing scores of judges to the lower courts, including white supremacists. And we’re focused on Roseanne Barr and whether or not Sarah Huckabee Sanders can eat a burrito in peace. Post-modern theorist Frederick Jameson warned us that late capitalism would be characterized by an obsession with “politics” while the rich and powerful consolidated their control over the masses. “Trump’s creating an authoritarian state!” “Yeah, but did you hear on Fox & Friends what Maxine Waters said?”

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Speaking of TV shows, as I’ve mentioned before, this all seems like a preview of season three of The Handmaid’s Tale. Every woman and gay person who voted for Trump (or didn’t vote for Clinton) will see their rights rolled back. It might not be the government that is lynching “gender traitors” en mass and forcing non-Christians to work in the wastelands, but the hate mongers who love Trump and hate those who don’t will have high octane fuel for their pogroms. I spent the hour after the Kennedy announcement on white supremacist discussion pages and the Neo-Nazis could not be more excited about where Trump could take this.

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Where I’m stuck is what to do. When I watch The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m cheering for the terrorists. Whoever said that one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter was right on the money. King George III called the American revolutionaries “terrorists” because of their asymmetrical warfare. Our country was founded by terrorists/freedom fighters. But there are also the Timothy McVeigh-style terrorists who call for a “2nd American Revolution” to purge America of its control by the “global Zionist cabal.” The 2nd Amendment Trumpies are itching for a civil war and any excuse to unload their ammo on random “libtards.” So, I think blowing shit up is probably off the table.

Can we rally behind a corporately-funded Democratic Party to plug the holes of this sinking ship in November? They don’t have a very good track record as of late and have done a perfect job of blowing perfect opportunities. Of course, all those “progressives” who refused to vote for Hillary in 2016 pretty much handed America Trump on a Mir-a-Lago platter. Can the entrenched misogyny be overcome by the clarion call of an Elizabeth Warren or are we just doomed to have to follow whatever old white man can puff up his chest the biggest?

Healing

I’m so torn. There’s a big part of me that believes Trump supporters are either complete morons or racists (recognizing that there is a third possibility, that they’re both). There’s also a big part of me that believes Trump supporters, like the Nazi skinheads I have spent thirty years studying, have just been misled by those speaking to their emotional distress and can be rescued. And therefore that America can be rescued from this abyss it stands on the edge of. It’s easier to say, “You’re wrong and you are being lied to” than it is to say, “Hey, let’s talk about our common values and how we can act on something other than fear.” Are we up for that challenge?

But right now fear is driving these people, like this ludicrous fear of MS-13. (I want “Angel Family” rallies for people killed by the police, or corporate malfeasance, or falling trees.) Trump’s “campaign events” look more and more like the fascist rallies of 80 years ago, full of scapegoating and dangerous conspiracy theories packaged in easily busted lies. Are his crowd paid actors (like they were at his campaign announcement) or are these people for real?

I don’t know what to do right now. A little angel is sitting on my shoulder and saying, “Randy, you’ve studied this phenomenon your entire adult life. You know what’s coming. Gather your family and get the fuck out.” But part of me wants to reason with these people one last time and remind them that we can be one nation again. That this politics of division will be the end of us. I’m ready to put my shoulder to the wheel to build bridges instead of walls. I’m ready to fight and recruit allies. Even old white men (and their “classy” (barf) women) can be reasoned with. It’s not over yet. America, I’m giving you until November.

 

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6 thoughts on “America is Becoming a Dystopian Nightmare: What Do We Do Now???

  1. this whole Trump crew scares the hell out of me. BE AFRAID AMERICA, BE VERY AFRAID. does the name Hitler ring a bell. like you i don’t know what to do about it. i am to old to march. my daughter and son think it is all swell. we don’t talk about it by mutual agreement . to many arguments. oh by the way, Trump and his henchman suck.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. America is sitting on a doubled edged sword. It’s not ok to tell 2 black men they can’t use a restroom in a Starbucks (this is only an example), but it’s ok to tell someone who works for the president they can’t be in their restaurant. It’s ok for Maxine Waters to tell people to go to other people’s homes (invading their privacy) who is a member of the Trump cabinet. It’s not ok to shoot someone who isn’t white, but it’s ok to make threats about killing the President. It’s not ok to have a someone who looks like President Obama hanging from a tree, but it’s ok to have a head that looks like President Trump severed and bloody or a full body of President Trump being shot by a famous rapper.

    When is enough going to be enough? I’m not pointing my finger at one side because BOTH sides are to blame. If you’re a Republican you’re a fascist, bigot, homophobe, and the list goes on. If you’re a Democrat, you’re snowflake, libtard, greedy, and that list can go on.

    Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s constant back and forth from BOTH SIDES and it’s been NON-STOP since Trump was elected to be POTUS. Here’s an idea, rather wishing for his death, talking about kidnapping his son and putting him into a camp where he could be raped, why don’t we actually stop and wish the President the best of luck. Yes, I wasn’t a fan or supporter of Pres. Obama, but not once did I ever wish anything bad upon him or his family.

    With Justice Kennedy retiring, whoever is appointed to the bench, Roe v. Wade isn’t going to be overturned (even though I’m against abortion). Justice Gorsuch has been a swing judge since he was appointed to the high bench.

    I do pray for this country. I pray that we as a nation can come together and be united rather than fighting one another. Let me ask you Randy, when you first started talking about Pres. Trump to now, what have you accomplished? Where are you now? How exhausting is it to you physically, mentally, and emotionally? It’s exhausting for me when I hear about constantly and I’m not on the streets about it.

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  3. Hi Randy, You wrote, “It’s clear that Roe v. Wade’s days are numbered and women and girls will soon be dying again in back alley abortions.” While I think we will see a reversal of Roe v. Wade it will give us the opportunity to write an EVEN better pro-abortion amendment in the coming years. I would like to see that new law include ACCESS to abortion not just decriminalizing it. As for a return to back alley abortions and women dying–I don’t think that will happen. We will create the Jane Collective (abortion services) all over again but this time across the country and not just in Chicago. We have too many help professionals who know how to provide abortions to let women die. That’s my hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a problem when abortion is being used as a means of birth control just because the woman “didn’t mean” to get pregnant. Or even when the woman finds out the baby (not fetus) has a disability. Another reason I’ve heard is the woman didn’t want to have a baby with the guy who impregnated her. As crazy as this sounds, but what do you expect to happen when you have sex?

      I understand if it’s a medical issue, but to do it just because is a problem. If a woman aborts the baby, it’s not murder. However, if someone kills the woman who is pregnant, that’s double murder (Scott Peterson who is sitting on California death row for that). So what is the difference between the woman killing the baby and someone being charged with double murder like Scott Peterson? Both cases prove there was indeed a heartbeat at conception and it is indeed a growing and living person in the womb.

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