I’m not a good person. I used to wake up every morning and mutter, “I wonder if Trump died of a heart attack in the night?” as a sort of prayer.
I know it’s bad to wish ill on anyone, but I figured it’s OK in Trump’s case because he wishes ill on me. Did I just invent the doctrine of pre-emptive defensive curses?
Now that Biden and Harris have been inaugurated, I’m going to switch to praying for Biden’s heart attack. It’s nothing personal, but I think it’d be just great if he burns through his mythical “political capital” and keels over, painlessly, and dies. He’s got what he wanted, he’s at the pinnacle of his life, it’s all downhill from here, and he wouldn’t have to deal with the odious Mitch McConnell. Of course, he’s a politician and a paid-up member of the oligarchy – he enjoys that sort of stuff. I admit, if I were him, I’d be burning incense and candles and praying for McConnell’s heart attack. I have long suspected that, emotionally, Washington DC looks like a circular firing squad, where everybody hates everybody else so much the air seethes with death wishes.
Am I being too honest? I’m not sure.
I don’t even care for VP Harris, so I guess I’d like to see her become president, “to own the servatives” or something like that. Mostly, I think Biden’s way past his “sell by” date and is probably being propped up by a team of scientists who are keeping him alive like some kind of animatronic special effect. Harris is, by virtue of her not being a demented old oligarch, a better candidate for president, and it’s as simple as that. Besides, nothing would make the conspiracy theorists heads explode more thoroughly than seeing their Qanon fantasy of Trump installing himself as fascist dictator turn into the ground-breaking presidency of a black woman.
If that happens, someone needs to start leaking rumors that it was all a set-up arranged by a secret liberal cabal. Never mind. That’ll happen on its own. But the fact is, the oligarchy won’t care – they’ve locked in their control of the american political system for another 8 years, and any reform of capitalism, labor laws, environment (serious environment) change, and scaling back the military are all off the table. We’re looking at the successful re-installation of the “divide and rule” oligarchy and the two party system. Hopefully, there will be a switchover in which the party of losers that beats itself up becomes the republicans, for a while, but it hardly matters.
Note: I am not equivocating. Biden/Harris is a huge step in a good direction away from Trump/Pence. The lesser of two evils has prevailed.
But, damn, I’m sick of the way they’re already pretending the Biden’s a great guy. And they’re already beating the “Unity” drums. I don’t want unity. I want the bastards kicked out, unemployed, and locked in cages so they can see what it feels like. I want careers ended. What we’re going to get is a return to business as usual. So excuse me while I pray that doesn’t happen.
And, what the fuck, can we stop celebrating inaugurations? It’s not a party opportunity for patriots, its a dance for suckers who have subordinated themselves to an evil political system. Who wants to go dance at their own abnegation? The only song they should play is, naturally, “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” except it needs to be updated to be less optimistic.
Does the word “inauguration” have anything to do with “augury”? Maybe instead of having Lady Gaga show off her voice, they should read Mitch McConnell’s entrails for portents.
PS – a special “Fuck You” to the Secret Service and FBI, who got all upset about a washed-up comedian doing a sketch with a fake “Donald Trump head” then turned around and ignored a real attempt at an insurrection. Go worry about what matters, you jackasses. And, please don’t take my “I’ll pray for Biden’s heart attack” as a threat. Delenda FBI.
“inauguration” does indeed come from “augury”. One of the main ritual functions of Rome’s college of augurs was the demarcation and consecration of sacred spaces (templa) in the city of Rome, and the pronouncement of public meetings as properly divinely favoured. So a temple building would be “inauguratus” when it was first used, and a meeting would be “inaugurated” by augurs confirming with ritual phrases that the proper rites had been carried out.
Entrail reading was haruspices though, not augurs. Augurs generally read patterns of birds in the sky or observed sacred chickens as they pecked for food (or didn’t).
consciousness razor says
I think that’s technically a “practical effect,” not a “special” one. But who knows? Maybe they’re using CGI too.
I really don’t wish for it, not even the exploding heads part, but I do think it has a decent chance of happening. Leaving aside his age – just a number after all – he doesn’t seem like he’s been in very good health. On the other hand, he’s been cloistered enough for the last year that it’s hard to tell. And I mean, I know that when I say some older family/friends “seem pretty healthy” I’m grading a curve. But we’re talking here about someone who’s still working full time, not just another retiree. And of course, being the president is an extremely important, time-consuming, and stressful job. Let me just say that, if I were a doctor, that kind of thing would not be anywhere on my list of recommendations.
Well, either way, I don’t have much hope for that. They simply don’t learn and don’t want to learn. It’s not much an exaggeration to say that “not learning” is a point of doctrine for them. A lot of them seem to take pride in it and are comforted by the sense of stability that it seems to provide, like Catholics with their rituals. (If we’re keeping it real, instead of “stability” you could say “stagnation and rot.”)
Because our two-party system is so thoroughly entrenched, it shouldn’t take long for even the dumbest Trump supporters to realize that strategically it would be a disaster for them to split off from the Republicans, as some are suggest. So they really have nowhere to go. And the more traditional corporatist Republicans don’t want them leading anymore, although they’d still like to take their money and votes as often as they can get them. That’s got to be a rather awkward conflict for them, especially given how trigger-happy all of these fuckers are.
Whatever happens there, on our side, I worry that we’ll be complacent, dismissive, in denial, etc., about the rightward shift of the Democratic party, which would go to great lengths to peel away a few more disaffected Republicans wherever they can find them. By “great lengths,” I don’t mean that they’d be doing great things, obviously. Not at all. I’d like to see something else happen this time, but I’m definitely not counting on it.
Robin Williams used to have a routine about Reagan having six guys from Henson’s creature shop behind him…
“I don’t even care for VP Harris, so I guess I’d like to see her become president, “to own the servatives” or something like that. ”
I’m reaching the stage where I get embarassed by all these “milestones” people or countries get excited or upset over. First female chancellor, first black president and so forth. If this were the year unknown and we’re excited by the first non-neanderthal firekeeper just six weeks after hominids have figured out how it works, fine. It was a breakthrough and now it’s a breakthrough for everyone. Well done, folks.
But in the 21st century with things that have been around for generations? Nope. If humans were more honest with themselves we’d go, “aww, broke the streak”, share a day of collective cringing over all the wasted potential and move on. Instead, somehow, celebrations. Yay, the regressives missed a step. Just one though and while they might stumble they never fall. Given prevailing trends we can look forward to such amazing milestones as first female chancellor/black president/[attribute] [job]/… in n decades. Maybe it’ll take long enough for the original names of the previous record-holders to be lost – someone ought to bake them in clay just to make sure.
@5 I don’t know — as a white male, it’s hard for me to fully appreciate the emotional impact that “Someone who looks like me is finally in a position of power” can have. If someone wants to tell me that it’s life-changing, or that if something like that had been around when they were kids it would have inspired them, or if a kid says that it gives them a role model they want to live up to — why shouldn’t that give me a good feeling? Along with, as you say, a wish that it had happened decades ago.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to prepare a link to Amanda Gorman’s poem to play for my Zoom class tomorrow.
Re: brucegee (#6):
Good point. I shan’t begrudge anyone their moment of happiness or relief after long-standing exclusion, much less any inspiration people might take away from it. But to me it’s still a sad state of affairs. Perhaps the privileged among us (which includes me) should focus on the cringing and leave everyone else to mark the occasion however they see fit. It would certainly be an improvement over the doom and gloom some people utter whenever something new and long overdue happens, some horrendous break in unspoken “traditions.”
“Now that homo sapiens have fire, too, things are going to go pear-shaped really quick. I’ll give it a megayear, maybe two.” (Possibly a bad example…)
“As a white male, it’s hard for me to fully appreciate the emotional impact that “Someone who looks like me is finally in a position of power” can have.”
We all rejoiced when Trump nominated Gina Haspel to be the first female director of the CIA. Fake news media didn’t even give him credit for this truly historic nomination. Finally a woman in power of one of the cruelst and most demonic institutions in the world. And she is just so darn qualified too. Overseeing and covering up US torture programs all over the place.
Let me say something about the sad state of affairs in the 21st century US.
I, too, was amazed by the worldwide celebration of the inauguration of Barack Obama. People were dancing in the streets. There was a song in Ireland, “There’s no one as Irish as Barack Obama.” ;) Closer to home, there was the group, ‘Bama bikers for Obama. (!) I had voted for Obama. I might have voted for McCain, except that Palin was clearly unqualified, and her remarks about “Real Americans” were a betrayal of American values.
I did not realize the depths of racism in the US. I had grown up as a White boy in the Deep South of American apartheid. But by the mid 1970s it seemed to me that the racism of the South had pretty well caught up to the racism of the rest of the US. I have spent almost all of my adult life in other areas of the country, about the last half in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I have a cynical view of glass ceilings. Breaking a glass ceiling, it seems to me, usually means that someone in an oppressed group is allowed to join the group of oppressors. Popular elections may be different, because the voters do not think that they are choosing their oppressors. Obama ended up putting his name to a Republican health insurance plan which was vehemently opposed by Republicans. Go figure.
Yes, the election of Obama was a milestone, but it was only mile 1, or maybe mile 2 or 3. We are still living in the racist backlash against Obama.
Trump’s effective entry to the Republican political stage was his relentless promotion of the conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in the US. Trump did not hide his racism, or his misogyny, or his cruelty, or anything else except his finances. For this he was rewarded as being “authentic”. Despite his obvious lies and bullshit. And he might well have been re-elected. It was a close call. But that’s Trump.
The opposition to Obama is usually defended against the charge of racism as merely being partisan politics. But to me one telling incident was when the governor of Arizona wagged her finger in Obama’s face on the tarmac. IMO, Obama should have put the bitch in her place. Likewise, Clinton should have put Trump in his place when he loomed over her on the debate stage. But somehow the Dems don’t do that kind of thing. Where is Harry Truman when you need him? Governors do not wag their fingers in the face of the US President, especially in public. There is only one reason the governor did that, and it’s not partisan politics. She regarded Obama as her social inferior. And why, pray tell, did she do that? It’s dollars to doughnuts because of racism. How is the US President, former US Senator, and former editor of the Harvard Law Review the social inferior of the White Betty Crocker governor of Arizona? He’s not. But her racism overcame all that. Afterwards she claimed no disrespect. Yeah, right. Even Fox News only said that she “waved” her finger in Obama’s face. Like, Hi. there, Mr. Pres. Welcome to Arizona.
Since that time the world has seen instances of deadly police brutality against racial minorities, famously including the torture killing of George Floyd last year by one policeman while three other policemen stood by. I use the term, torture, advisedly. Pressing is a well known form of torture and execution, but not, I think, in Anglo-Saxon countries. Ordinary citizens who were passing by certainly understood what was happening. The Black Lives Matter movement was already in existence, but that incident took it global. (Again, to my astonishment. I had not realized the depth of racism around the world.) Let me focus on the policemen who did nothing while a crime was being committed before their very eyes, and other people were telling them so. Most racism in the US today does not consist of acts of racism or racist animus, but of doing nothing in the face of those acts, thus lending silent support to them. Even worse, it consists of statements like, “Good people on both sides.” Yes, that’s true. Being racist does not make someone a bad person, in itself. But racism is still bad, and that comment excuses it.
Perhaps we are seeing a rebirth of the civil rights movement in the US. There is still much to be done. The lynch mob that stormed the US Capitol this month was spearheaded by White supremacist militia, who were egged on by the Hater in Chief. Racism has been defended and encouraged in the US by the backlash against Obama and by Trumpism. But many eyes have been opened in the past year. Still, it’s a long row to hoe. On Wednesday night, while MSNBC, CNN, and, yes, the BBC were showing the inaugural celebration across the US, Fox News was promoting “Liberty over Unity”. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Civil War, when both sides were “shouting the battle cry of Freedom.” But for one side freedom meant the freedom to oppress others of a different race.
Governor Wallace must be turning over in his grave. Yes, that Governor Wallace, without whom we may not have elected Trump as President. Wallace repented his racism. It is time for us to do the same.
Marcus, with you on most of it , (except Joe’s health). I think feelings like this are born of frustration and feeling powerless to change things. It becomes so infuriating when people won’t do what’s right, (at least to us), when it seems so obvious. I don’t know if being honest about it elevates us in any way. Maybe it keeps us from being hypocrites. So here’s an honest wish: I hope that cockroach Trump and his whole goddamn family spend the rest of their miserable and misbegotten lives in solitary confinement, where the comfort of human contact is forever denied them. (You know, as nasty as that sentiment was, it felt good).
Reginald Selkirk says
Kitchen knife made by cooking sand in a microwave oven
Marcus Ranum says
Kitchen knife made by cooking sand in a microwave oven
I should do a bit about cooking things in microwaves… It’s an interesting technique.
Cooked sand is dirty glass, I believe. “Who has a use for a glass knife?” – Larry Niven. I love that sort of stuff.
Marcus Ranum says
Marcus, with you on most of it , (except Joe’s health). I think feelings like this are born of frustration and feeling powerless to change things.
And why are we supposed to care that right wing gun nuts are getting dangerous because they feel left out of the political system? Awwwww! I also feel left out of the political system but I’m behaving myself.
Mitch McConnell is the only person I have ever fantasized about shitting on their face.