This is the first in a possible series of posts in which I sound off on an almost entirely impossible or logically indefensible opinion in completely unvetted and unedited fashion for my own personal amusement. Today’s hot take is a simple comparison that I will shamelessly add to the mound of Russophobia currently trending in the western world. That is, could there be an analogue between late stage USSR politics and our own current straits under Trump and his legion of complicit ideologues? For the purposes of being a dickhead, let’s go ahead and say yes. Yes, there fucking is.
The only thing Trump and Yeltsin do not share is a rampant alcohol problem, but our glorious leader might have a rampant cocaine problem – so let’s just call it square. The fall of the Soviet Union under Yeltsin, the catastrophe of the transition to, and then the subsequent establishment of, a mafia-style capitalistic regime, was due in large part to his unconcern with the operations of government and his cluelessness as to the extent of those operations beyond the campaign to have them radically altered. Much like Trump, he seized upon a popular dissatisfaction, trumpeted some nonsense phrases, and got enough power to plunge a good chunk of the developed world into poverty and chaos. Does the road sound familiar?
There is a worry that has not yet made its way around the liberal thought circles, far left or otherwise, and that is the notion that the existence of our democracy is as changeable and vulnerable as an executive order. People forget that the rule of law was invented, just like the words and languages down through the years that made the fomentation of law possible. What if that rule of law, through a meeting of officiating dickheads, was dispensed with? What if a collection of authoritative voices judged any amount of our legislative democracy null-and-void? Is that possible?
Probably not, but it’s worth bearing in mind that no piece of legislation or even a hoary old document we’ve thought sacred and secured for hundreds of years is ironclad. All it takes is the right amount of political leverage or some other system of bureaucratic lawyering (read: gubernatorial Constitutional amendment process) to cross the threshold into complete Trumpian hellscape. No one thought the Soviet Union would disappear overnight, but it did. That political leverage is verifiably much harder to secure in the United States, of course, but we’d be fooling ourselves to think that it is somehow set in stone. Which brings me to my next point.
There is the possibility that the end of American democracy may come from a currently unlooked for direction: the West. Neither left or right or even our feudal power brokers on Wall Street. Imagine Mark Zuckerberg as your next President, that’s all I’m saying. Perma Boyman-Fishface esq. Think about it. With the devolution of our government at the federal level, and by extension everyone else due to the funding strings connecting the tippy top of the federal ladder to the lowliest village government, corporations would be right to be poised (and probably are poised) to make an argument that vast incompetency in elected government is interrupting the daily lives of citizens and the function of the nation (read: the market). This would be the terminus of everyone’s fear, the absolute event horizon and ultimate worship of the market, but perhaps more likely than a Constitutional amendment declaring Trump imperator in perpetuum. How likely? Who can say. For myself? I just want to become aware of a timeline that isn’t on a trajectory for an alternate dimension more absurd and shitty than Philip K. Dick could dream up on the highest grade of LSD.
Whatever happens, whichever hell we arrive at, if we arrive there at all and not just wind up in some kind of shitty purgatory where we can’t even hang out with figures from Greek myth, I think we can all agree that everything is just going to suck until a massive political reformation is brought about. And that is the perfect segue into my next hot take: A Blueprint on the Back of this Napkin for How to Make Things Not Suck with a Massive Political Reformation. Tune in next week.