Fever Dreams

In seeing people jump on Trump for his stupid comment about America maybe someday trying a president for life, I was moved to wonder how many of them would have gladly given Obama that title, if they could.

Even closer to reality is the habit, well-established among the elite and roundly defended among the people, of keeping the presidency in the hands of particular families. Between 1980 and today, we’ve had a Bush in the White House for 20 years, with another one poised every four years for a run.

Then there’s 8 years of Clinton, with a push since then to elect another Clinton for 8 more. Then 8 of Obama, and people dreaming of how great and noble it’d be to elect another Obama for 8 more. Then, who knows, maybe lower the age requirement and elect Sasha and Malia. At least then we can all feel proud as the old notions of ‘freedom’ evaporate completely under the new reality of the surveillance state.

Point being, once again, people are mistaking Trump for the source of the situation, rather than seeing him as a symptom of it. #TheResistance, in this view, is like Advil: it’ll take down the fever for a time, while doing absolutely nothing to address the underlying illness.

I was recently taken to task by various friends for suggesting that the response to Trump’s president-for-life comment constituted a sort of denial of larger trends, as demonstrated by the growing prevalence of political dynasties in presidential politics. My point was that this was another example of the problem of treating Trump as the disease itself, rather than a symptom of some deeper ill.

This, I heard, was not only a straw man, but evidence of some perverse penchant I’d developed for demonizing good people. Not only was the will to make Obama president for life not common among those who support him, I was challenged to provide even one example of it.

So, here’s one that showed up in my feed this week. It attracted 20k reactions, 2.7k comments, and north of 136,000 shares (in the first three days). The top comment, which was liked 1.2k times, floats the (mistaken) idea that Obama was only limited to two consecutive terms, and so could run again in 2020, after a four year hiatus.

Of course, a couple hundred thousand interactions won’t crack the top 20 viral posts – in 2017, you had to get over a million and a half shares/likes/comments to do that. Still, I think it qualifies as an idea that’s trending – particularly as this is only one particular expression of the more general idea of getting around the established structure of presidential power.

And yes, the meme doesn’t explicitly say Obama should be president for life. You’ve got to read between the lines to see the general trend, which is what my original post was about.

Not that I think providing an example will be of any use, as I don’t suppose there is much interest in being dissuaded from the blame-Trump-for-everything position, which is extremely useful in the generation of group coherence. The Two Minute Hate helps us all get along. On the downside, such ideological monocultures are weak, in the same way a monoculture crop is. Remember the potato famine!

This, as far as I can tell, is my perverted reason for criticizing the Left that I used to be a part of. The culture of assumed moral and intellectual superiority that has sprung up in #Resistance to Trump is, as I see it, weak enough – exactly because it is so certain of its virtue – to lose to that corrupt fucker again. The fruitful introspection that might have happened in the wake of the Clinton Collapse has been successfully derailed by #Russiagate. Operation Gaslight reigns supreme.

A cultural apocalypse beckons, and I think deconstructing the polarization is more useful than indulging in it; because, again, I see Trump as a symptom and not a cause.

Topic continues in: Rise of the Russian Bots

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