A Pendulum Dystopia
Louise Mensch tweets fake news columns promising the end of days for the GOP via a massive RICO case involving Russian money laundering which will swallow the party whole. Claude Taylor live tweets from the scene of FBI raids that aren’t occurring. Slowly, the drip of desperate leftists absorbed into such magnificent prognostication becomes a cesspool of lunatics celebrating an impeachment that isn’t happening. The similarities to such notable conspiracy mongers such as Infowars and Breitbart are staggering — bold headlines over graphics so tabloid they have a horn blasting “this is bullshit” you can hear from a mile away. But people are believing it.
The anger toward Russia is real. Russian infiltration into American democracy in the 2016 election has been compared to September 11th. At a time when Russian influence is seen around the world, entertainment media has become fixated with “The Russian” again. Shows such as Fargo, Orange is the New Black, & the Americans feature shady characters born of the dark days of the Soviet empire who never really changed when given a taste of Western freedom. Even wrestling has brought back this trope. These characters are cold, rigid stereotypes seemingly lurking in the shadows of middle America. They can be anywhere. And now that we know actual Russians did influence our election with their nefarious deeds, they are lurking everywhere. Ready to take from us our freedom if triggered to do so by Moscow.
The Trump administration continues to dole out punishment to Democrats via senseless acts of spite. The exit of the Paris accord. An repeal of the ACA. Defunding Planned Parenthood. Even in his most meaningless signing ceremonies, in which non-binding statements affirming religious freedom and the privatization of the FAA are presented to the media, the message resembles a conquering army smothering a defeated enemy’s face into the mud. From border walls to travel bans, this is the first administration whose sole vision & focus is to pursue measures with no tangible benefit to their stated purpose but to give the finger to the various groups of people who make up the Left.
As the media, the education system, science, and even the elected government become symbols of distrust, the scope of what is true moves further from these establishments of peer review and more into the realm of whichever charlatan can scratch the population’s itch. We burn witches to these new Gods of social media. Some die in hate crimes. Others are tarred and feathered in digital doxxing. There are now so many lines to step out of and so many men to come take you away if you do.
If there was a failure in the way in which authors such as Orwell or Bradbury painted the dystopian future it was the assumption that tyranny would be driven by a single set of principles. The Thought Police and the Firemen reported to one master party. There was only one pig to run Animal Farm. And a “brave new world” was a collective order.
If we assume that democracy is a pendulum, the danger of normalizing a Trump presidency is in the trajectory we can anticipate the pendulum swinging when it turns the other way. In a swift and brutal backlash, “fair” is the game that would turn Russians into the new Muslims and target churches for the loss of tax exempt status. Gun control isn’t a waiting period but a series of burdensome taxes with no specific rhyme or reason to how they’re applied. The President can tweet insults to Israel and share intelligence information with Iran. No need for Planned Parenthood when a federally funded expansion creates clinics in every neighborhood on your tax dollar. And all of this within a blizzard of misinformation by opportunistic bloggers fueling violence and hatred as they churn out endless hit pieces on the crimes of your Russian neighbors and the alleged pedophile parties in the basement of your local evangelical church.
As we’ve learned over the last 18 months, anything is possible and only the worst of it seems to come to fruition. Familiarize yourself with calling your congressperson. Your future will be spent taking turns pleading for your rights every four years in between periods of jubilation as your neighbor’s rights are stripped away.