Pick your adjective: unsustainable, unworkable, ungovernable, maybe even unsalvageable.
Any one of these words describes the floundering American empire of 2022.
Yes, we all know that studies have shown that “an empire survives, on average, a mere 250 years.” And because America recently celebrated its 246th birthday, this means you may want to reassess your hopes of chanting, “USA! USA!” into the next decade.
OK, the data on that 250 number is questionable, and some might boldly insist that America is not an empire. But what remains beyond doubt is that we can’t have a functioning government when one political party believes in science and the other believes in Jewish space lasers and cyborg slaves of Satan.
Now, many progressives have been heartened that the congressional hearings into the January 6 riot have revealed the irrefutable story “of a president and his close advisors who planned a coup, sent an armed mob to the Capitol, approved of calls to murder the vice president, and had to be forced to call the mob off.”
Furthermore, after first condemning this seditious, homicidal attack that everyone in America saw with their own eyes, the “members of that defeated president’s party decided not to hold him accountable for doing so.” Indeed, most of them “largely ignored or even repeated his lies about the election,” and a few begged for presidential pardons—which is what totally innocent people do.
Well, that all is straightforward enough. But it’s worth asking: Was there ever “any doubt about Trump’s amorality?” For most of us, the most intriguing development of the hearings is “not the revelation of guilt, but the long-known fact that the country was saved by pure indolence.”
What will actually change because of these hearings?
Certainly, the Republican Party, which is assembled of “the most pathetic men in America,” will continue to genuflect before “the biggest crybaby ever to toddle across history’s stage.”
And conservatives will continue to plot ways to overturn a future election, which represents “the most serious threat to American democracy in many decades.”
And the nation will continue to be subjected to the right-wing whims of a Supreme Court whose “latest term was its most conservative since 1931.” Of course, a century ago, conservative jurists were trying to thwart Roosevelt and his new philosophy of government, which made them, well, conservative. Today’s reactionaries have no principle behind their decrees, just a desire for theocracy.
But apparently, we have to live with all of this because “a president voted in by a minority of the population appointed three radical-right Supreme Court justices” who have decided that our 21st-century society must strictly adhere to the opinions of white men who have been dead for 200 years. We have no choice but to interpret our laws “by the standards of 1787—an era before the introduction of semi-automatic weaponry, steam power, penicillin, automobiles, trains, electric lights, and indoor plumbing.”
This will not change anytime soon. You see, America “has built so many checks into its political system that it has become… a vetocracy.” This means that a minority party has multiple ways to veto anything it dislikes, for any reason, thereby preventing even a modicum of societal change. Please note that “other advanced democracies tend to have simpler parliamentary systems, so when a political party or coalition wins an election, it can quickly pass laws to act on its promises.”
We don’t do that commie stuff here, damn it. Instead, we have an archaic system where Republicans “control a disproportionate share of political power due to a combination of institutional bias and savvier political organizing and manipulation.” As such, American democracy is in a “troubling place, largely as a result of the Republican party’s lack of respect for democratic norms and institutions.”
Oh yes, what of those sturdy institutions and hallowed traditions that were supposed to save us? Well, they held up surprisingly well for a while, but lately, “America’s democratic institutions have failed to represent solid majorities on the environment, guns, and abortion,” and this “negligence allowed a revanchist Supreme Court to impose minority rule.”
And that’s why 30 percent of the population gets to tell the rest of us what to do, and there is shockingly very little we can do about it for the foreseeable future.
Once again, conservatives don’t care that most Americans hate their ideas. They don’t care if their names go down in infamy. Hell, they don’t even care if they destroy the country and obliterate the planet.
They are quite willing to do anything just to maintain power and own the libs.
At some point, of course, it’s not possible for an increasingly multicultural, progressive, and urban society to continue acquiescing to a dwindling population of old white conservatives living in rural states. Something has got to give.
But no one knows when that point will be reached, or what the pushback will look like. We can say, however, that it will probably be unpleasant for everyone involved.
In the meantime, there is just one thing that Americans of all political viewpoints can agree upon: that “The Cyborg Slaves of Satan” would be an excellent name for a rock band.
Featured image by Geoff Livingston/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0