The presidential election hangs in the balance, and its outcome symbolizes a blinking cursor on society’s sanity meter. We seem crazier than usual. It’s a boil that needs a lancing. It’s a war of ideological, historical, and political fantasies that serve to mask and justify acting on base emotions so common to American culture: greed, fear.
There is a lot to be afraid of and right now it seems that our shared fear motivates a desperate drive for simple, often demonstrably false, explanations for how things came to be this way. Scape goats must be identified. Names must be named. The guilty, shamed and excluded. So say we all. Or some fragment of the all. Much has already been said about Trump’s political strategy so far, and how it resembles Hitler’s use of propaganda and fear in his appeal to the German people in his rise to power.
It’s dangerous to talk about the truth because it’s impossible to say anything that convinces anyone because there is no truth. Truth is deader than ever. Truth has never been so brutalized, downtrodden and traduced. An absolute relativism divorced from any shared understanding of how cause and effect functions has taken hold to justify the current irrationality that informs the cultural discourse. The election is like fracking. It pumps noxious affluent into the deep regions of language and memory and it’s causing upheavals.
Hillary’s political fantasy is traditional, an analog fantasy that attempts to resonate with Washington’s marble monuments and ground it all in material reality of history and manifest destiny. Trump, on the other hand, plays the part of Daddy Warbucks come to save the world with the white man’s business acumen. But he is an emperor of ice cream. How much fantasy do we need? How far will we go? What of the earth?