by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV
As this article is on the verge of publication the United States Capitol has been occupied by protesters on the day of Electoral College’s presidential vote. It’s very exciting stuff, certainly, but an insatiable craving for excitement seems to have long been a major flaw of Western culture.
Few people are as guilty of greedily loving the short-term sugar high of daily news as I am – being a longtime hack reporter – but whether the immediate outcomes of this historic election week in the United States give you rushes or drops it’s important to remember that what’s really historic is just how far the US has truly fallen and will keep falling.
We all agree America on January 6, 2020, is certainly not an apex, but it’s only via constant spin, rationalisation and deflection that one cannot see that the US has so very far to go – this is not the nadir.
No matter what happens this is not even really over.
In my reporting from here it turns out the wisest and most pleasant of the “never Trumpers” – normally a very disagreeable lot – were right to say that they are not assuming anything about Joe Biden’s projected victory until after inauguration day, January 20th. Maybe the Proud Boys are going to blow up the Washington Monument next week – who really knows what will happen over here?
I have to add a last minute modification to that hyperbolic exaggeration: Maybe a peaceful “Occupy Capitol Hill” is a real thing?
If you want to read more Trump-obsessed hysteria you can always go to Politico’s “Trumpology” section, where everything before 2016 never was, but this column is trying to establish exactly where America as a whole really is: What should the globe’s global assessment be of the country which in 1991 seemed poised for a century of global superiority?
There is no doubt that there was a time when the US was really at the forefront of global political thought; when they were successfully enjoining many people to do good and forbidding a lot of bad – I am referring to 1776, the birth year of modern anti-imperialism.
The calendar has just turned to 2021. You would have to be so jacked up on Western Mainstream Media sugar spin to believe that – whatever happens this week – the US is somehow doing well, or looking well, or acting well, or was anything else but a society in decline, dispute, degradation and maybe even dissolution.
I think the latter goes too far but I include it to point out: this is not a country like France or Iran or China in that it’s still debatable whether the US has enough years under its belt to really consider that they have a unified sense of nationhood/culture given that this was never really a country but a unity of separate, self-involved, self-serving states inside America (which used to be the term used for the entire Western Hemisphere). This is the United States of America, after all, and Scotland is awfully close to breaking up the United Kingdom – so why couldn’t their over-the-sea brethren go in the same direction.
A short but exciting list of things US media would like you to ignore this week
– Their United Kingdom brethren/clients finally admitted they cannot hand over Julian Assange, the greatest journalist of my generation, not because the US will execute him but because they essentially fear that American prisons are so atrocious that he won’t be killed but that he will be tortured without end.
(Things like this are, of course, why the US and UK are the unquestionable arbiters of what “human rights” and “political prisoners” are.)
– Have money, join the duopoly, you will get elected: The Georgia elections were the most expensive congressional seats in history – they spent an estimated $900 million dollars, say the early returns. The only presidential candidate who ever exceeded that in their campaign was brand change golden boy Barack Obama, in a testament to what a huge role the rich, the 1% and corporations play in manipulating American elections.
(You have to have rocks in your head the size of Gibraltar if you are an average American and you give a single greenback to either of the duopoly – just so people like Kamala Harris and the Clintons can fund their lavish lifestyles.)
- The Electoral College emphatically does not have majority democratic support, as years of polls have shown that 60% of the US wants it abolished. Is it so shocking that as I type this the voting of this body has been stopped by upset Americans?
(However, my bosses and Iranian taxpayers are not entitled to ask for a refund on all my reporting on the fundamentally useless and incredibly disputed General Election presidential vote – I repeatedly warned that the US General Election vote totals are just a meaningless statistic and diversion.)
- The American intelligentsia is so unpersuasive, so ineffective, so overpaid and so distrusted that even if Democrats do capture both Georgia Senate seats – and thus the Senate – the anti-Trump “Blue Wave” they almost universally rammed down American throats for four years merely goes from a total failure to a major failure: In this decentralised country local states control local matters and conservatives captured the local legislative, executive and judicial branches. In a redistricting year, no less. The reason it was rejected, of course: the “Blue Wave” was fake-leftism and not real leftism – why would American lower classes get excited about that?
(And how many Congressional Democrats are so right-leaning and so desirous only of winning their own re-election that Republicans won’t be able to swing this very definition of “tenuous majority” by buying Democrat Congressmen off on countless key votes via things like promising to build more Northrop Grumman bombers in their home state?)
- The (apparent) demise of Trump actually does not totally destroy Trumpism, even though the chattering classes promised that voting him out for president is all it would take to end what they insisted was merely a Russian-orchestrated cult of personality.
(Four years ago the US chattering classes certainly didn’t have to accept Trumpism, but they could have at least taken Trumpism seriously. By refusing to have that honest and open conversation the US has wasted four years. The US has not progressed in this sense since 2016’s inauguration day – and, unsurprisingly, Capitol Hill is now occupied by angry citizens who feel they have been unfairly ignored and demonised.)
- It was just announced that the cops who shockingly shot Jacob Blake in Wisconsin in the back seven times will not even face a trial. Last night protests in Kenosha were calm, but what about tonight?
(My bosses have a tough decision to make soon, perhaps: Do I cover the political rebellion in Washington or the possible racial rebellions, if they break out again?)
A short, healthy conclusion to balance out this sugar high
That was not a difficult list to compile, nor an exhaustive one. I’m sure everyone wants to read about Capitol Hill but the short-term question (how much violence will they use to clear out this protest?) is not as vital as the long-term questions (how did we get here, how does the US heal from this), nor is it as vital for the world as the global question of America’s longstanding claim to global leadership.
Both sides of America have disgraced itself in the eyes of the world since 2016, with their only-low-blows cultural civil war. It’s not as if the world wasn’t already quite, quite appalled at American behavior since 2003.
2020 was indeed a woeful and unfortunate low point, but the consequences of 2020 are so very, very bad that who can say that it is over? Things were so bad a brand change or calendar change simply cannot fix things.
Who would say that America’s political cultural civil war is over? Who can say the dispute over electoral integrity is over? Who can say that 1%-rewarding, inequality-creating Quantitive Easing/Austerity is over? Who can say the endless foreign wars are over? Who can say the health care crisis over? Or the unemployment crisis, or the famine crisis, or the housing crisis, etc. and etc.?
Who is the nation which is modelling themselves on the United States and why on earth are they doing that?
Gerald Ford famously said as Richard Nixon left that, “America’s long national nightmare is over.” Less than a week into 2021 it should be dawning on the world that the American model produces an endless bad dream not only for their colonies and their clients but even for their own people. That makes sense, because that is precisely the goal of Western neo-imperialism and neoliberalism.
Whoever is the accepted winner of the Electoral College – assuming they ever meet again – is not likely to change that trajectory because American problems were not caused, and cannot be fixed, by just one man.
Dispatches from the United States after the presidential election
4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020
US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020
A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020
CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020
‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020
Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020
80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020
Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020
Mess with Texas via mail-in ballot? States secede from presidential vote – December 8, 2020
Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed – January 2, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.