IT IS A FUNNY THING that after decades of hollowing out the government, moving jobs overseas, downsizing, automating and generally crushing the American workforce, market solutions do NOT seem to be coming to save us from the plague. Could it be that 50 years of upwards wealth distribution has created a population so impoverished, and a system so callous, that it’s no longer profitable for capitalism to help people?
Who can say? Can you? No. If you were an economist, you would know that in the grand scheme of the Great Theories, your suffering is irrelevant. Stop complaining and start a business or something. Go get a loan from your parents, my friends.
I WAS WALKING HOME FROM RECENTLY, wearing a surgical mask and holding my coffee with gloves, like you do, when I saw a long line of similarly dressed people outside of the local CVS. They were waiting for basics (mouthwash, toilet paper), essentials (floss, batteries), and criticals (toothbrush, medicine). All the leaves were brown (the leaves were brown) and the sky was grey. Paranoid citizens carried bulging plastic bags of food, more than they need, in case society collapses and they needed eggs. That night, the clinically insane leader of the free world would brag about how high the ratings were for his Coronavirus press conferences.
That’s when I realized that we are living in a genuine dystopia.
THE PRESIDENT IS PRETTY OPEN ABOUT WANTING US TO DIE: And as I grow older(ish), I’ve come to understand that there IS such a thing as a slippery slope when it comes to morality and ethics in society. Never the most righteous of nations (such is the way of power), the wheels of America’s role as global paladin came started to come off right after 9/11, when we were quite willing (and eager) to embrace torture, extrajudicial killing, mass bombings, and pretty much anything that would get us justice (i.e. revenge).
We didn’t make anything better for everyone (certainly not the dead Iraqis), and, in truth, helped to destabilize a region of hundreds of millions of people. Not great, when the original endgame was to see a Wal-Mart in Tehran. No lessons were learned and no real justice was meted out to the perpetrators, though Obama would later admit that, “We tortured some folks.” Some people were even pissed at him for that.
And that’s how things have basically gone for the last few decades. After reaching a (semi) public consensus in the 80s and 90s that (at least overt) racism, sexism, and abuse of authority was wrong- though not without resistance (See also: ‘How come I’m not allowed to use the N-word?”)- we immediately began to regress after 9/11. Terrorists, immigrants, criminals, minorities and the like, always faced harsh treatment in America, but militarization and systemic brutality has now become fetishized. Our President, perhaps the most openly criminal one in our nation’s history, urged a gathering of policemen to smash the heads of suspects against the hoods of the patrol car when arresting them.
As things become more tense from COVID-19 and beyond; the War on Anti-Corporate Terror, COVID-20, Drug War II: First Blood, The Water Wars, The Mars Bars Wars, The Butlerian Jihad, and Drug War III: The Final Dimension, you may find that the Enemies List ends up including you, Jack! Bet you feel silly about supporting the repeal of the Bill of Rights!
WERE THIS A REAL COUNTRY, the government might be using this massive, planned stimulus package to innovate and facilitate businesses and opportunities of all kinds. Maybe upgrade the whole country to 5G? Provide grants to small businesses looking to building their online presence or transition from a physical space? More funding for public colleges? Repair our crumbling infrastructure? Save the postal system? Healthcare?
Ha ha! No. More money to billionaires and multinationals companies. They’ll need it for their space fortresses take flight, their pleasure fleets take float, and the rest of us go straight to Hell.
IN NARCOS: MEXICO there’s a throwaway line in which drug lord Francisco Arellano shows deep unease for clowns at a child’s birthday. This is likely an inside reference to the future, real-life event where El Chapo sent a siccario clown to assassinate Arellano at his birthday party.
We are all now that toppled drug lord. We are all now that killer clown.