The Ogre Has Gone

Yes! Gone. Not gone into hiding for a while: just gone, not to reappear until sometime in the future, when politics invents a completely new, ridiculous, trauma for us. If it ever does. Millions of words are being wasted on fears of his own elderly self’s reappearance, or as a hologram or even in the guise of one of his children or enablers. No! Did I not tell you already that both he and his movement are already fading history?

The reasons for such an uncompromising opinion are really quite simple. In truth he, and his magic, are irreplaceable and if he tries his own comeback, the party will stymie him. They have already suffered one term of his pretend Republicanism and know that they will not survive another. To know what the majority of them really think of him all we have to do is look at what the individuals involved said about him before he won the 2016 nomination. They still pay homage, but only in the wishful thought of keeping his base on their side. But without his power, without his pulpit and without his bullying presence, most of them are capable of walking the fine line needed to betray him whilst imitating diehard loyalists.

There are some residual concerns but most of them are not serious:

  1. His base will remain active. A goodly part of it consists of a zany collection of opposing insanities: anti-Semites versus Netanyahu supporters, rank conspiracy theorists versus greedy business people, anti-immigrant supporters versus anti-immigrant immigrants, Christians versus tolerance, vitriolic day dreams versus reality. Trump’s formula for holding such a disparate group together was simple but effective: two contradictory lies every five minutes, knowing that disciples would only hear the one they wanted to hear. That was his genius. Can you think of anyone else who would have the bloated, boastful persona to carry off such twisted theatre and cement such a contradictory base together?
  2. He will stay around and regain power in 2024 and maybe even start his own television channel. My hat! He doesn’t have the necessary energy for the first and, if we forget his legal and financial problems, a television scheme would cost money and dedication. And where would he get philosophising liars of sufficient stature to anchor it for him? The only possible ones are already in safe, overpaid work and unlikely to risk that to take a job with a loser, not exactly well known for his business acumen, or his loyalty. Anyway, he will be too busy working on his presidential library!

The vexed question of whether the Biden Administration will, for the sake of healing divisions, grant a pardon to ex-President Trump is, for the moment, unanswerable. There is, however, one bone of certainty to gnaw on; that it would be wholly improper and destructive to grant a pardon to a politician who intended to have a continued participation, of any form, in politics.

The why of Trumpism raises some truly serious questions. Yes, we can blame part of it on the usual suspects: racism, super nationalism, genderism and the rest, but we are perhaps missing the one difficulty that is most likely to cause this chaos to reappear in the future: an unwillingness on everybody’s part to accept unvarnished truth — that the dignity of work is being purloined by commercial interests and no one is planning the absolutely necessary replacement.

The world laughed while he was busy getting elected. Why then did he succeed? Perhaps because the opposition, all of them, forgot that it is people who elect Presidents, not money. You have to wonder how many people belonging to the blue-collar section of society voted for him because they knew, yes knew, that the entire system had failed them. The hope being that he would destroy that failed system. He only managed half the destruction necessary. He really needed another four years. We didn’t, but he did.

The failure of the system is due to the inability of almost everybody, including politicians and economists, to recognise that we are right in the midst of the greatest upheaval in our history since the advent of democracy, and that today, change happens at lightning speed. We are losing the need for mundane, commercial labor and no pious words from leaders will bring it back, irrespective of tax cuts. Yes, the big plants may come back but filled with robotics, not people. Self-drive trucks and app responsive driverless automobiles will fill our highways and the ever more visible, existential threat of climate change will purge our need for grossly silly consumption. We are like blind sheep wandering into an abattoir but we cannot see what is going on.

We cannot keep pretending that the gig economy, zero-hour contracts, or having tens of millions of ordinary people involved in low paid, insecure labour – such as in fast food joints, supermarkets, or soul destroying, machine like drudgery, found in the warehouses of corporations like Amazon – can restore the necessary dignity. At best, all of this is a temporary leaf covering for a tree that produces sour fruit. The educated middle class have been brought into the twenty-first century, but unless we begin to explain to the wider population how we intend to include them in the benefits resulting from the earth-shattering changes taking place, they will continue, rightly, to challenge the system. Perhaps the solutions are not being mentioned because they seem too radical but there is no moderate option. The times, they are a-changing, and the wealthy have shown no inhibitions about using radical solutions to increase their own wealth.

The common fear at the moment, among liberal journalists anyway, is that the Democratic Party is divided. At odds with itself. Does that mean that the monolithic Republican Party is the ideal? Where all criticism of the leadership, however daft, is verboten. Such leader worship belongs in tyrannies, not democracies. The other assumption being made, perhaps true, is that Joe Biden, when he becomes President, will work as hard as President Obama did at cross aisle cooperation. But the Republican Party today, is not the one he was used to in his own senatorial days. Less than a handful are brave enough to openly accept reason, whatever they might think personally.

The Republican Party itself has far more serious problems. Since the Reagan years they have steadily become more mean spirited. Reagan, then Nixon, then Chaney and the neoconservatives followed by the Disneyland climax of King Trump (climax is perhaps the wrong word to use with regard to this particular President). Despite their open contempt for democracy shown by indecent shenanigans with gerrymandering, voter and vote suppression, their interference with the U.S. Mail, and the Electoral College advantages in their favour, they were unable to get a sitting President re-elected. Then they doubled down with a childish refusal to accept the result. They too are finished. Ordinary, decent conservatives will have to find another way to push their own beliefs. We should all hope that this will be possible.

We, the middle class, were responsible for all the chaos of the last four years. With our educational advantages we were able to adjust to the mind-bending changes taking place but did not pay attention to the obvious, to the dangers, to the ordinary Jack and Jill whom we pushed down the hill, into the rapacious jaws of financiers, tech moguls and libertarians. Our leaders, our regulators, even our economists, seem oblivious to the obvious; that for the last twenty years we have not just been tweaking the edges of twentieth century life. It is time to catch up and start to explain the hopes that can be realized in this new world. We need the pain eased and the light of the future to be more visible to all.

The near future is going to be storm ravaged; in reality and in politics. In politics anyway, the tempest heralds a brighter future. One that will help us greatly in our delayed battle against the real, existential tempests. We have made a good start. The ogre has gone. Yes! Gone!  Did I mention that before?

Posted in Franks Library.