It’s a Saturday morning in May, 2023. The first seven days did not bring the political crisis envisioned in Charles W. Bailey II and Fletcher Knebel’s 1962 story, Seven Days in May. Those were a wasted seven days anyway, lesser evil triumphed there, or perhaps it was greater evil. It’s a matter of perspective. But it seems like a good morning to break rules, like the prohibition against mixing metaphors, so I’m playing with imagery involving mirrors, perhaps magic mirrors, perhaps not. But mirrors that give us slightly distorted but not wholly inaccurate glimpses of ourselves, of our realities, but also of our perceptions, whether truthful or not. Interesting topic for speculation: are truth and accuracy synonyms? My instincts tell me that’s not the case, although I don’t know why.
Once more I imagine what it must have been like for Troy’s princess Cassandra, after she was afflicted by Apollo’s curse, and she became uselessly clairvoyant. I imagine what she might have been shouting to disinterested winds, were she among us today. Perhaps something like the following with respect to the political climate in which our world finds itself, one where egocentric Paris has become the norm. Perhaps the following is what she might write, seeking to warn us, had she ever learned to write:
|Donald Trump’s bombastic pomposity and egocentrism is not unique to today’s major political characters, it is at least equaled by the Clintons and the Bidens and the Obamas, but theirs is more deceptive, more subtle. Obfuscated by the corporate media and thus, much more dangerous. Their respective followers (all furious) are comprised, on the one hand, of the mid to lower, less educated but much more hardworking classes that idolize the brash Mr. Trump, and in doing so, vent their frustration at their denigration while being looted, and on the other by the purportedly “woke” who follow the latter three, not realizing that they are, more than anything else, tools of the tiny oppressor class. “Woke” in the sense that zombies can be said to be awake, blindly and blithely following orders they don’t comprehend, but doing so relentlessly. Mr. Trump’s unpleasantness does not mean that his grasp of reality is less than that of the Clintons and the Bidens, the Obamas and their ilk. To the latter, reality is irrelevant, the only thing that matters is the narrative they weave and seek to impose, believing. Justifiably. that if truth us totally hidden, then its impact on the present and the future can be blunted, can be manipulated, at least for a while, reveling in Lincoln’s “you can fool most of the people some of the time”, and like Louis XV, rejoicing in the belief that such time is now, that it’s their time and to Hell with the future they’ve so thoroughly mortgaged. Their adherents, for the most part, do not plan on having the children who will have to bear that burden. Mr. Trump’s glimpses into reality, slight and distorted as they might be, recognize that the anti-Kantish state of perpetual war so profitable to the “woke’s” masters is disastrous for business, which is seemingly Mr. Trump’s guiding principle, and that a prosperous future requires mutually profitable coexistence with the “enemies-on-demand” that keep the military industrial complex humming, hence peace with China and Russia and North Korea is essential, and NATO is but an anachronistic white elephant looking to justify its existence, and that for the United States, the tax dollars wasted on defense spending and military bases and adventures abroad ought to be redirected to repair and modernization of internal infrastructure, on bridges and roads and airports and railroads, and public utilities. But his view is myopic and occluded when it comes to the Middle East, where whatever Israel does is fine with him, and whatever it wants it deserves and should get, so Iran has to go, at the very least. After all, what is one more genocide (of others) in Judaea’s long history? And, of course, Mr. Trump’s perspective is utterly convoluted when it comes to international economics which he treats like New York City real estate machinations, i.e., where the art of the bluff is key to “the art of the deal”. Perhaps, the abuses of both groups of bipolar bombastically pompous and egocentric leaders, as they inadvertently slip into the light as a result of their policy of mutual calumny, will somehow filter into the collective consciousness and, like an annoying morning alarm clock, jolt the electorate awake, although the Clintons and the Bidens and the Obamas hope that it is way too late for that to make any differences, and it at least smells as though they might be right, at least in the verisimilitude of democracy in which we live. Electoral manipulation through misinformation and information withheld, if not outright electoral fraud, has seemingly become the norm, covered in a cloak of impunity by a judicial system which equates the refusal to investigate allegations as definitive proof that they’re not only false, but deliberate lies. Not just errors in judgment, but deliberate sedition. And where the totally politicized judiciary has joined the totally politicized corporate media to throttle any attempts to change the profitably pro-perpetual-bellum quagmire in which ordinary citizens are trapped. After all, neither rules nor consequences apply to the extraordinary few, no talent needed, the awards and rewards are theirs to bestow upon themselves, and, of course, upon the groveling useful.|
Still; … even Cassandra seemingly had hope. The one positive thing that remained when Pandora’s amphora was unsealed (it was not really a box) and emptied. And even if only an illusion, or perhaps a delusion, hope apparently springs eternally-enough to keep things interesting. And thus, … Mr. Trump. “What a world”, as the purportedly Evil Witch of the West declaimed as she melted after exposure to the cleansing effects of water, “what a world” where apparently, the bombastically pompous and egocentric Mr. Trump represents the almost unattainable but much sought, lesser evil.
As an irrelevant but funny aside (at least we still sometimes have humor, as long as it’s not politically incorrect), someone innocently pointed out to me the uncanny resemblance on a number of levels between the current president of the United States and a character on the long running “Simpsons”, Montgomery Burns. That person may well soon find himself or herself (I need to protect my sources) in big trouble, although purportedly not having anything to do with such observation. That’s apparently the current price for exercising the right to freedom of expression.
“What a world” seems to fit the bill.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently the publisher of the Inannite Review, available at Substack.com. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.