“A political system devoted to decline instinctively does much to speed up that process.” — Jean-Paul Sartre
One does not have to be a supporter of Donald Trump to recoil in horror at the unprecedented attack that’s being waged on an ongoing basis against the new First Lady. The late night comedy shows are going to town at her expense in a way that we’ve never seen before. The presumptuous statements being made and the callous lack of compassion in vogue at present — making Melania into an unhappy captive of some sort — demonstrate our national decline as well as anything. Nothing remotely like it has ever taken place in the U.S.
So… why haven’t we seen a single woman associated with the new women’s protest momentum making a comment on the abominable treatment she’s receiving? And why isn’t it clear that all the humor and mean-spirited declarations demean all womanhood in denigrating her as a helpless soul?
Please, if I’ve missed some statement somewhere on this score which contradicts what I’m saying, do let me know. But I’ve been proactively researching respecting all this, and I doubt that there’s anything out there. Melania and Donald and all others in their quarters are conflated to make the easy joke. The main forces behind that are engaged in conflating left-of-center interests, as per the new Indivisible dynamic.
This is important because one cannot be simultaneously fighting for women’s rights and allow such disparaging treatment to go on without comment. No more than one can do right by women domestically while bombing innocent mothers and daughters abroad. And that latter point is one reason why Michelle Obama was not a good role model for young American girls; she very definitely supported her husband’s violence abroad. Still, one would be hard put to find a single word with regard to that. Go ahead, do your search, and do let me know if I’m wrong.
Why the double-standard?
We are operating within a political system that’s in decline, unquestionably. And we’re speeding up the process by looking the other way in order to partake in some sophomoric entertainment and/or by convincing ourselves that guilt-by-association is legit with regard to the Trumps, but not the Obamas. Then again, much of the vitriol directed at Melania’s husband is greatly energized by folks fantasizing that Obama’s indiscretions (read war crimes) do not warrant the kind of criticism that’s leveled against the new president.
Are citizens on drugs? Actually, yes, they are. And the proliferation of drugs throughout society is another factor contributing to our decline. Just as it was with regard to Nazi Germany.
The Nazi regime preached an ideology of physical, mental and moral purity. But the Third Reich was saturated with drugs. On the eve of World War II, Germany was a pharmaceutical powerhouse, and companies such as Merck and Bayer produced cocaine, opiates, and — most of all — methamphetamines. The same forces are bringing about the same results here and now.
And so… drugs really do account for people being able to look the other way, have it their way. They’re too blitzed to bother with the niceties that were obligatory for reasonable, educated citizens a relatively short time ago. When one couples the drug craze with everyone’s obsession with the popularity of telegraphic communication and high tech gadgetry distraction, well… you’ve got a sure-fire prescription for descent into Hell. And in that kind of realm the last thing that anyone is going to bother with is civility, whether it has to do with the First Lady… or anyone else.
That said, I don’t see this momentum being addressed in our educational institutions. I’ve been in academia for well over a half-a-century, and on all levels our collective crises are being virtually ignored, as students focus on what’s traditional and utilitarian. Nothing is transpiring anywhere in the country that’s slated to rock any boats. Yes, there are plenty of token gestures being made respecting environmental and social issues, but they’re all well within the parameters allowed by the corporations which are calling the shots on campuses nationwide.
And this status quo was the case during Obama’s years, as things got infinitely worse on all counts. Now that we’ve got officials in influential positions blatantly delving into Climate Change denial and the like, activists are forgetting that our decline was — for the last eight years — simply in slow-motion mode relative to Trump’s hard drive over the precipice.
Among WWII German army leaders meth proved to be particularly attractive. Meth was rationed out to millions of troops, and the elevated energy and feelings of invincibility associated with the high even help to account for the breakneck invasion that sealed the fall of France in 1940, as well as other German victories.
Today “the elevated energy and feelings of invincibility” are generated by other means (which include the influence of high tech gadgetry highs), but one must add to that the fact that troops are simultaneously exposed to all sorts of toxicity. That’s been well documented, firmly ensconced now as part of the public record, and contributes to the decline I’ve been speaking of.
Why isn’t any of this being addressed in educational circles? Well, when one’s point of departure for discussion is that the U.S. is a Good Guy functioning under the Imprimatur of God, a force which the world needs for leadership, there’s no way to detect decline. It cannot be seen. Add to that that the powers calling the shots have a vested interest in making sure that the most rebellious spirits of the lot are addicted, and you have a prescription for a blitzed population.
Oh, we can do things better, they say. Differently. We do make mistakes. That sort of thing can be admitted. But a rotten-to-the-core angle of vision is not permitted, of course. And to soothe our visceral sense that things are going down the tubes, we make fun of everyone and everything. Humiliate without hesitation. Hoping on some level not to notice what’s coming down, as we take another toke, or inject something warm.
That’s partly why Melania is fair game now.
Shame on those who are targeting her. Shame on those who are not defending her.
I always like to conclude articles, though, with something that readers can do to make things better. In this case, I believe it’s worthwhile to consider that the Drug War distraction, which all administrations have been complicit in, is a contributor to our collective decline that we can do something about. We can not buy into it. In various ways. But the bottom line must be that as long as we’re caught up with being one up on the easy targets among our political opposition, we’re not going to do anything together except go further down that downer of a road we’re on.
Activists can’t conduct a blitzkrieg of any kind with clouded vision and unsteady steps caused by wearing different size shoes — one for the left way too large, one for the right too tight.
Richard Martin Oxman has been an educator and activist for over half-a-century. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.