And, no, I don't think I have anything to add to the bleak assessment I have already so often written down here; this isn't really an essay about "U.S. politics".
Rather, it's a distillation of what I finally realized so worries me about U.S. politics, and it links back to a post over at the Penguin's place about Obama Derangement Syndrome. In it the Tuxedoed One notes that:
"I can’t think of any time in this nation’s history where the rhetoric surrounding the President is so divorced from reality...this hatred towards Obama is divorced from anything the man has actually done...It’s as if a significant portion of the white population of the United States has gone completely insane. And I don’t know if the nation is going to be able to survive that."THAT's my concern.
It sort of looks like homo sapiens with 100% less sapience.
It looks, in fact, a lot like the intelligent apes of the old Charleton Heston flick or, rather, the artifact in the plot of the film's source material, a novel titled La Planète des Singes. Same basic story; astronaut finds ape civilization and uncovers the history that humans effectively created their own downfall and the rise of their anthropoid masters. The moral of the story is that human intelligence is not a fixed quality and could atrophy if taken for granted.
Or if deliberately destroyed.
By, for instance, creating a race of demi-humans who have been carefully taught to believe only what they are told by certain sources, to automatically refuse to accept anything that doesn't fit what those sources tell them, that base their actions on automatic acceptance of certain ideas (war, strength/force, "Western culture", patriarchy/authoritarianism, "market economy"/rapacity, Christian theocracy/primacy, xenophobia) and rejection of others associated with what they see as despised and illegitimate enemies.
This isn't exactly new. I pretty much had the wingnuts figured out back in the Clinton years – the default position of the GOP has simply become complete rejection of the legitimacy of ANYthing Democratic, or, more precisely, anything not endorsed by their own echo chamber.
And this wasn't exactly an accident. The GOP mad scientists have created these creatures for their own power. But I think, like the researchers in La Planète they are being willfully blind to their own madness.
Several studies of the wingnut-third has established fairly thoroughly that the cumulative effect of the right-wing echo chamber, eliminationist rhetoric, and apocalyptic propaganda has developed a “country within a country” populated by people who see the world through wingnut beer goggles.
So, for them, the actual corporatist Eisenhower-Republican Obama isn’t an actual thing. It’s the secret-Muslim communist traitor welfare daddy Obama that exists.
The complexity of the modern Middle East isn't an actual thing; it's the seething cauldron populated by nothing but beheading Muslims who live to kill white men and rape white women that exists.
And so on down the line. "Markets" aren't something established and run by societies and governments, they are magical fucking invisible-hand unicorns dancing on rainbows. Oligarchies aren't bad for the non-oligarchs, they're just how life is and if you aren't rich it's because you're a lazy loser. Taxes are theft. Peace is surrender. War is victory.
And my problem with all that is that I’m not sure that you can run a functioning representative democracy when about a quarter to a third of your “citizens” are effectively living in a fantasy world of their own devising.
The potential for a critical mass of these nutjobs blowing the doors off of the polity seems WAY too high not to happen at some point.
So while I'm not going to predict a Trump presidency or some sort of immediate disaster in the immediate future, my consistent low-grade concern is that my country is a long way to developing a strain of this homo wingnuttiens into a force that has the potential, if and when the plague that kills all the dogs and cats, to break down the country of my birth in such a way that it will be nearly impossible to rebuild.
I'm not really sure how much I fear this, or how realistic my fear of this is. But I can feel it like the hum of distant high-voltage wires that begins to crackle in the rain whenever I read of the latest trumpism and the wingnut baying that it produces.
I feel distantly angry and at the same time bereft, as if I have already lost something that has not been taken from me yet.
In a strange way, I feel like I am already mourning the loss of my country.