The Next Shoe

Clay Banks for

Let’s see what happens’ replaces ‘I can change this.’

I usually vote Democratic Party but candidate (fill in the blank) is a business (man, woman) so I was ‘won over.’ We need someone from ‘outside’ to come in and fix the problems.

Business acumen, a rare commodity in late-stage capitalism, can save America from the false governing pocket-liners called ‘politicians.’

How often has one overheard this explanation of defection and solipsism? If in another era ‘possession was deemed nine-tenths of the law,’ the new era of “me-mine” has ushered in its neighbor, ‘perception is nine tenths of ‘the law.’

As much as the J6 Committee has hammered away at the perception that January 6, though unfortunate, was primarily an outlier, the ‘We don’t overthrow governments in America’ as subtext has won the day.

“So, January 6 never happens again,” sounds hollow and self-congratulatory.

Why is this? Where are ‘we?’

If ‘we’ are waiting for a court decision, we may be waiting for a long time. No society has entrusted recently so much anxiety in an outcome than Merrick Garland’s decision to indict Donald Trump. The sad truth is that whatever indictment Garland and the DOJ decide to bring, it will be fought, appealed, stayed, negotiated to the point that parties will lose memory of what happened, to whom or what: deliberation will be replaced by language twisting. Even now the ‘highest court in the land’ is selectively stripping precedent, harboring public disdain with ‘shadow dockets.’

If ‘we’ are waiting for an electoral outcome, we may be waiting for a long time. America, the experiment, the political “what-cha-ma-call-it” will lurch towards more division and less healing. Majorities take time to build, little time to lose, so in this regard, 2024 looks less threatening, if one is checking threat fever.

The chaos mongering, however, will not stop; relief from being shouted down in public is not on the horizon.

If ‘we’ are waiting for getting in touch with “our better selves,” we may be waiting for a long time. The first stage of repression is hypocrisy, and here we are: removing any doubt about our cruelty and inhumanity. We know who we are, what sets us apart — don’t mess with us.

And then the waiting stops and the doors slam shut, and ‘we’ have infinite moments to ponder, ‘why didn’t I stop this?’

November 4




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