Last month’s midterm election has soured me on American politics.What with the growing inequality between the rich and … everybody else; with the increasing police violence and “open carry” of firearms; with the growing respectability of organizations such as the NRA and the Ku Klux Klan—with all this and more I think we as a nation are transitioning toward a really, really bad time that is just now waiting in the wings, waiting for the Confederate battle flag to be hoisted on the Capitol Building in Washington, perhaps?
I’m not so simplistic as to think that a Hitler-like dictator is next. But with such a small number of Americans exercising their right to vote, maybe we’re just not that interested any more. We have our own cabaret: We take it with us on our smart phones and MP3 players. Maybe we won’t replicate German history of 75 years ago, but we may come close. As long as Taylor Swift is cooing in our ears, we just don’t give a rat’s patoot about anything else.
We call the ultra-wealthy the 1%, and they’re much like the mustachioed tycoon in George Grosz’s illustration above. Note that the poor man on the left is getting the boot. Today’s styles might be different, but the direction is substantially the same.
I will of course resist. I vote in every election, even when I don’t detect a clear demarcation between the varying candidates. We live in the world described by William Butler Yeats in his poem “The Second Coming”:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.