Today, a gaggle of armed fascists and white supremacists managed to break through four fences and a line of armed police to swarm into the Capitol Building. At the time of writing they are still occupying Congress. There is, in my view, little likelihood of them changing the results of the election, of Joe Biden being confirmed as the next president. But that is not the main takeaway.
Entering Donald Trump’s world felt like entering into a bad fiction. For me the feeling was amplified given that news of the elections reached me, in real time, high above the planet’s surface. Months before the 2016 elections I had booked a flight from Chicago (where I lived at the time) to London (where I was speaking at a conference) on election day. Like most people I was under the foolish impression that this puffed up billionaire reality star didn’t stand a chance.
Not only have we turned the corner, / I know what lies on its other side. / So divine is my inspiration, I can tell you with certainty: / democracy is for chumps. / Jack, you’ve stirred your last chicory. / Armies of clogged noses stand behind me, / and they are formidable… so long / as they stay on their god-dang knees.
Compared to the hellish turn events have taken over the past four years, the Great Clown Panic of 2016 is easy to forget. But as I wrote at the time, this bizarre phenomenon – part prank, part media hype, part soccer mom moral panic – was not as alien to America as it appeared. Far from it, it seemed to be symptomatic of a country whose already threadbare psyche was completely unraveling. If you believed in omens, it would be easy to see this as a preamble to something far more menacing in store.
He has survived. This braying, sniveling coward whose vindictive petulance has led to the deaths of over 200,000 people, has survived. Of course we always knew he was going to. He has access to the best treatment imaginable – round-the-clock care, experimental drugs, even a hospital room that looked more like a suite at the Waldorf. A few caveats aside – “not out of the woods yet,” his shortness of breath – Donald Trump has survived Covid-19.
From now on every autumn / will burn / The only question / will be whether the flames / are set by figments / or by nature.
In some ways, it’s surprising that something like this has taken quite so long to happen in this election cycle. Almost a year after Poway, eighteen months after Pittsburgh, two-and-a-half years after Charlottesville. No, a flag can never do as much literal damage as a loaded rifle or a speeding muscle car plowing through a crowd, but to deny that they now exist on a continuum is the kind of vulgar materialism reserved for those who want to wish away just how bad things have gotten.
I had no idea who Marianne Williamson is before Thursday night’s Democratic debate. But I have seen Marianne Williamson before. We all have. We’ve been seeing her for nearly thirty years, occupying that liminal space that is marginal but still mainstream, crank but still credible in the post-kombucha world. She is the voice lecturing an exhausted Whole Foods … Continue reading She Has Come For Your Uncool Niece
The world is an unsafe and painful place. Warsan Shire’s description of what the atlas answers when she asks where it hurts – “everywhere / everywhere / everywhere” – is impossible to deny. Britain: two terror attacks in just about as many weeks. Both claimed by ISIS, both during an election campaign in which a leftwing, anti-austerity … Continue reading Cut Threads
An observation: in today’s world, “pretentious” is normally code for “this is something I would rather not think about and therefore I am going to judge it harshly without considering it.” During the 2016 American presidential election, a poll was conducted that jokingly included an option for a giant meteor. In other words, it was asked whether potential voters … Continue reading The End Has to Begin Somewhere