Now that primary season has officially begun and a million breaths are being expended on the latest developments, I thought I’d distill it down for you as briefly and as cynically as possible.
Back in a 2007 interview General Wesley Clark related how shortly after the US’s 2001 invasion of Afghanistan he was told that the military had further plans to “take out seven countries in five years.”
Of those countries—Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran—three have since either been invaded or fallen into civil war and disarray. And while the timetable may have been off, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because of that old adage “the best laid plans of mice and men,” the most important takeaway here is that the process has spanned across two presidential administrations which on paper are as different as one could find.
That neocon George W. Bush seamlessly handed off the baton to hope-filled upstart Barack Obama should dispel any prospective 2016 voter’s illusions that “his guy” has the power or ability to change the script being implemented by career world-shapers operating behind the scenes. The dominoes have continued to fall under Barry’s watch.
The anti-war sentiment stemming from Iraq War fatigue that helped fuel a Democrat win in 2008 has not stopped us from destabilizing both Libya and Syria, leading to hideous humanitarian disasters all justified by the need to get rid of “a bad guy.” In one respect we have so much blood on our hands that it would only be right if we are one day somehow held accountable, but the broader truth may be that through the centuries empires are simply used as enforcers by the stateless puppet masters behind the scenes—before of course also being discarded after having lost their vitality and power. Yesterday it was the European colonial powers, today it’s the United States, and tomorrow it will be someone else.
So in this futile light it seems as if the only purpose in voting at all is on social grounds, because during the last 7 years of the Obama administration we have surely seen some sweeping cultural shifts (which on the surface might indicate an increase of freedoms and human rights, but the keen observer senses early-stage moral decay and disintegration of our national identity, all under the watchful eye of the surveillance state which misses nothing and records everything).
For nearly 15 years we have let our might be used to steamroll innocent countries whose only sins were that of geography and being imperfect, and our collective reaction has been either to double down on blind jingoism or to revert to a tribalistic hedonism intent on sticking as much ink, drugs, and other body parts into every crevice of one’s own body. How can we possibly “make America great again” when half of the population thinks the last 30 years of industrial dismantling can magically be undone by building a few new domestic factories? Can we really expect much from the army of baristas with stretched earlobes and chestplate tattoos headed back to school at age 33?
It’s a surreal time where one’s thoughts echo with the words “this will not end well” but in any grocery store you can find organic food and craft beer. For a pittance you can buy devices which give you access to the entirety of human knowledge and artistic output, but they can also be used to track and incriminate you. We’re standing on the razor’s edge of a shift in history where in one breath we’re being exponentially wrenched forward but then still find ourselves checked by baked-in biological limitations and prey to that nagging sensation that despite our savvy ways we too are merely players—or was that pawns?—on life’s stage.