As we read history, it appears that the U.S.A became a major power after the Second World War. After bailing out England and France by dint of its defeat of Nazi Germany and Hirohito’s Japan, it saddled a knight’s charger and took on the role of the defender of freedom and a staunch enemy of autocracy.
The temper of the times has eternally been discernable in its contemporary literature and arts. We will refer to the morphing of the context of literature and the arts, in this essay, merely to better convey the nuanced general sentiment of the respective times.
In America, the literature and art following the two World Wars reflected an upbeat in tempo. The Nation having just recently attained the apex of its domestic and international strength, was broadly optimistic in its expectations of continued superiority, militarily, commercially, and in perceived moral image. As expressed in contemporaneous literature and art, the National self-generated hope made for novelistic happy endings, right regularly triumphing over evil, the cute, the shy, good guy ultimately getting the pretty starlet, and dear grandpa miraculously recovering from his dire pathology. This somewhat Pollyannaish National mood, as thus reflected in the context of the literature and arts in the 40’s and early 60’s arts, has been academically catalogued as the “Modern” period.”
In this same period, despite the admittedly slow progress in the empirical attainment of full and meaningful equality for people of color, women, and mixed gender citizens, the Nation, nevertheless, continued to express its avowed principled aspirations by promulgation of Statutes, [such as the 1965 “Voting Rights Act”]. Such efforts of government, together with the sincere actions toward the accomplishment of such goals, by the greater number of right-thinking citizens, continued to entitle America to its signature role as a Nation, ascribing to the principles of liberty and universal equality.
Yet, unsightly blemishes on our history, like the McCarthy inquisition, Nixon and his “plumbers,”, the divisive and unpopular Viet Nam War, an eternally wide disparity in economic status, disparate views on immigration, disputes over the environment, and other contested issues, cultivated a growing disillusionment with politics and politicians, and gave rise to a new, more realistic mindset. This development can also be seen as reflected in its contemporaneous literature, termed “Post-Modern,” in which the America’s reflexive mom and pop, apple pie state of mind, was superseded by a grimmer, pragmatic perception of reality. The implicit trust in government and elected officials, became somewhat tenuous, in many cases, with good reason. The realistic and down-to-earth context was useful and was positively productive of many upright and empathic citizens involving themselves in activities dedicated to ameliorating society’s traditional injustices.
Two successive four-year Presidential terms of Barack Obama gave right-thinking citizens a much desired feeling of confirmation of the historic promise of America, and of unwavering trust in the vital conceptions of truth, competency, and justice in government. By contrast, however, there has eternally co-existed a perennial cohort of the “underbelly” of our Nation [viz., the inadequately educated, poorly informed, “flat earth,” discontented portion of the population]. This traditionally useless, category of citizens historically, and mercifully, had existed in an amorphous conglomeration, seldom voted but consistently, and emphatically, gave voice to their shared feelings of hateful, atavistic bigotry.
The unexpected elevation to America’s Oval Office of Donald Trump, an unscrupulous real estate grifter and former host of a second- rate television game show, was a disastrous inflection point for the Nation and a precursor of dark days of existential peril. The ignorant and egocentric Trump was elected by the combined efforts of the denizens of the underbelly of America with the financial support of many large industrial polluters who, sociopathically, value profits over human health and life, and, like Trump, opposed government regulation. The unprecedentedly large “flat earth” vote, by individuals who normally do not vote, was ensnared by Trump’s tactically demagogic “snake oil” promises of Valhalla and his natural, innate ease to mutually identify, in common, with the reductively ignorant voter.
We have written extensively, on the sordid period of the Trump Presidency; on his incapacity for office, his egotistic ignorance, his degradation of education and science, his patent bigotry, his immorality, and his trampling on Law and the Constitution. We have suggested in earlier writings, that more enduring and irreparable damage was his societally existential damage, to the fundamental nature of “truth.” This insecure, ignorant, and tactically defensive neurotic easily won the highly coveted gold cup for serial mendacity, while disparaging the existential nature of factual truth in general, including, more specifically, the responsible media.
We have stated, above, that the election and Presidential term of office of Donald J. Trump was the inflection point for a truly existential and unique challenge to the existence of [our] Republican Democracy. The initial crack in the democratic seal, was initiated by the amalgamation of the previous disparate and amorphous conglomerate of the unruly, reductively ignorant “underbelly” of America, supporting his election, and, in their continuing, unwavering support. His destructive and dysfunctional, four years of “disservice,” was rewarded with their joyful approval of his unorthodoxy and, in addition, the tactical praise of numerous sycophants who sought his favor for self-interested reasons. They bought his red MAGA hats, attended his lavish functions, cultishly defended his tasteless statements and behavior, and worshipped at the temple of his truly disgraceful, but, perceived by them, personally relatable, persona. Even the prudish, Christian white evangelical groups, unanimously granted him a permanent pass, or renewable, Religious Indulgence, applicable to his multiple acts of adultery, sexual abuse, and mendacious behavior. America had, at no time ever witnessed a similar moral inconsistency and immoral franchise, for anyone, [especially from the inquisitional, White Evangelical Christians] most especially, a President of the United States. In some venues, the disreputable, Donald J. Trump, irrationally and alarmingly and effectively, became an ”untouchable.”
After four long, nightmarish, years of his term, the latter-day orange follicled Nero, was mercifully, defeated in his desire to win a second term. The winner, Joseph Biden, by bright contrast, is possessed of a capable, empathic, and morally directed persona. Predictably, the element of truth, and the acceptance of the Constitutional virtue of the peaceful passage of power from an outgoing President to his successor, weighed less on Trump’s neurotic, Nero-like scale of importance, than the delusion that he is not a “loser.” This mass of miscreant protoplasm, thereupon, on the sole basis of his neurotic conception of himself as an eternal winner, declared to the American public, and most tactically, to his populistic, ignorant, and cultish base, that the election was “fraudulently stolen” from him. This delusional act constituted the first such existential crises in our Nation’s democratic history.
To continue our penchant for literary reference, it was Mark Twain who said,” A lie can travel half-way around the World, while the truth is still putting on his shoes.” But Aldous Huxley is noted, to have declared, “Facts do not cease to exist simply because they are denied.” Since we have elected to use literary references to portray the tenor of the times, we might, permissibly, say that what transpired after Trump’s outrageous and democratically unprecedented public, declaration, unquestionably, certifies the wisdom of both authors’ observations. Frighting and irrational, Trump’s request to his underbelly base to “Stop the Steal,” was actually adopted by such witless malcontents and, immediately was widely disseminated as truthful [Twain] although Trump’s assertion [made without any factual support] was discredited by three, professional audits which uniformly found that the procedure and count were accurate. [Huxley].
Trump, in the despotic mode of an autocratic leader of a Banana Republic, and in emulation of the Fascist tactic of the “Big Lie,” declared the false and tactical claim of “stolen election,” and sought retaliative action by his loyal base. Responsive to his illegal and immoral “call to arms” Trump’s deluded supporters, on January 6, 2021, chose to enact a violent and deadly insurrection against the Capitol Building and its occupants, loyally spewing the delusional Trump mantra, “ Stop the Steal.”
We earnestly hope that the despicable orange inciter of this venal insurrection himself, the organizers, and all participants [including the various Christian White Supremacy groups, and the other affiliated and non-affiliated, self-styled “patriots,” (read) “criminals,” espousing the causes of bigotry and hatred] will be severely and appropriately punished.
However, a far greater threat was posed by the massive horde of underbelly puppets, who acted in cultish deference to the delusion of a would-be autocrat. Impugning the foundational basis of the vote is no less than an existential threat to the basic and underlying foundation of democracy, itself.
To quote author, Elie Wiesel, the opposite of “love” [in this case, love of our democracy] is not “hate”, it is indifference. A call to action in the protection of democracy should be the signature mantra, of every self-respecting and freedom- loving American citizen; tragic and irreversible damage is predictably inherent in the irresponsible of choice of more comfortable, or passive complacency.