Remember the late 90s, when everybody was in a tizzy over the imminent end of the world because the geeks hadn't fixed the clocks in computers? And remember how we woke up on January 1, 2000 to an intense hangover of continuing life, our money still in the bank, electricity still thrumming through the grid.. and most important of all, intact and crystal clear cell phone and Internet connections?
This time around, the disaster hysteria revolves around the very slim chance that a different kind of virus known as Donald J. Trump will usher in Armageddon. If Trump is elected, Putin will invade America, take over the Internet, and super-rich people will be fleeing the country in droves. It couldn't get any worse than that last part.
And it would be all your fault because, even if you personally voted for Hillary Clinton, you obviously didn't work for her hard enough, guilt-tripping your friends and neighbors into voting for her too. This failure to work for free for a quarter-billionaire is the new original sin. Because only Hillary can save the planet. The Guardian said so right in a front page editorial over the weekend.
What really had the serious people freaking out over the weekend was revered odds-making guru Nate Silver giving Donald Trump about a 35 percent chance of beating Hillary. As a result, he is being declared a jerk and a traitor by the HillHuffPo. How dare he crunch numbers that are not, at minimum, one hundred percent favorable to Hillary Clinton? Nate Silver is causing unnecessary "waves of panic" all across the landscape. By putting his thumbs on the math scales, he is almost as dastardly as FBI Director James Comey himself.
The declaration of treachery in turn unleashed an F bomb-laced, 14-part Tweet-storm from Nate Silver, who in his own defense was even forced to partially plagiarize Michelle Obama.
"When you go low, I go high 80% of the time, and knee you in the balls the other 20% of the time," the math whiz fumed.
But Nate Silver's feelings getting hurt is nothing compared to the angst that The Market is experiencing in the End Times. They're in a downright shuddering frenzy. With Donald Trump's poll numbers improving, the S&P 500 was down for the ninth straight day on Friday, something that hasn't happened since 1980. The Donald Bug has led to the most prolonged selloff in stocks since the '08 financial crisis. Even the manufactured Y2K Bug-Panic of '99 didn't have the power of Trump.
So it's only natural that media pundits would also be scared out of what passes for their wits.
Frank Bruni, who only last week vowed to quickly get over his Trump coverage addiction, isn't quite there yet. He admits to being "terrified" by Election Armageddon. Even if we all wake up Wednesday morning breathing a sigh of post-Trumpian relief, our fear will linger on like a really bad case of the measles:
I know exactly what he means. The FBI, which has been in its own frenzy of fear-mongering through entrapment of marginalized people into fake terror plots while ignoring warnings of real terrorists like the Tsarnaev brothers, is a prime example. It's been such a well-regarded public institution for well over a century. And just look at it now. James Comey's re-opening of the Clinton email investigation and meddling in our free and fair elections has seriously tarnished its stellar reputation. It has effectively neutered its recent noble accomplishment of secretly scanning millions of our Yahoo email accounts. If we can't all be considered terrorists until never proven otherwise, we might as well become atheists and refuse to recite the Pledge. If we're going to be divisive, we may as well go whole hog and be boldly divisive.There’s no end here, just a punctuation mark, a measly comma between the rancor that has built until this point and the fury to come. And there’s no way to un-see what all of us have seen over these last 18 months, to bottle up what has been un-bottled.Election Day will redeem and settle nothing, not this time around. No matter who declares victory, tens of millions of Americans will be convinced — truly convinced — that the outcome isn’t legitimate because untoward forces intervened. Whether balloons fall on Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, there will be bolder divisions in America than there were at the start of it all and even less faith in the country’s most important institutions.
And the rest of the world respecting us? Forget about it. Donald Trump has been such an embarrassment. He is doing untold damage to the reputation of Barack Obama, so beloved throughout the globe for his humanitarian wars and drone assassinations. If Trump wins, the rich and famous people had better think of emigrating to Waziristan so they can huddle in the safety of the tribal regions. Better to hear drones constantly buzzing above your heads than to have to listen to Donald's potty mouth all the time.
In its recent survey of global attitudes, Pew researchers discovered that the majority of residents of other countries strongly disapprove of both the Obama administration's drone attacks and its widespread surveillance upon ordinary citizens. Trump would seriously erode these ratings, because he would probably be prone to bragging about the atrocities. The United States might not get as many Likes in the global popularity sweepstakes under Trump. It would lose the favorability it still enjoys, against all odds. Even Nate Silver might be flummoxed.
And what a toll a Trump presidency would take on freedom of the press. His serial insults of news agencies and reporters might even cause the USA to drop from its current dismal 41st place in Reporters Without Borders' annual ranking list. What a dreadful blow to our national reputation it would be for Mauritania or Slovenia or Niger to beat us in the event of a Trump victory. It's already bad enough that the highly ranked Scandinavian countries are as transparent about informing the public as they are generous in their "people first" social welfare programs.
Of course, much of the fear-mongering about the Trump of Doom is for crass purposes of last minute fund-raising for the Democrapublican Party and its respective offshoots. So any email you're receiving slugged "Dead Heat!" is bound to contain a panic-stricken appeal for cash.
Here's former Bernie Sanders supporter Robert Reich mongering on behalf of MoveOn, one of the biggest Democratic veal pens in existence:
Even the normally cool President Obama is siding with Nate Silver and pretending to push the Trump panic button. “This should not be a close race, but it’s going to be a close race," he warned North Carolina voters last week.By now, we all know the stakes of this election—and the choice between a dangerous authoritarian demagogue or a woman of great experience and commitment, running on the most progressive major-party platform ever.We all know the real threat that Donald Trump could win. The polls have tightened to a dead heat this week, with Trump ahead in many battleground states.
Obama should just relax.
I, for one, am feeling very relaxed. I just mailed in my ballot, and feminist that I am, voted for four fine women: Jill Stein of the Green Party for president; Robin Laverne Wilson of the Green Party for U.S. Senate; Zephyr Teachout of the Democratic Party for U.S. House of Representatives; and Pramilla Malick of the Democratic Party for New York State Senate.
(Malick is really something of a miracle in these parts. Although the GOP incumbent has run unopposed for decades, more people have chosen "blank" on their ballots than have actually voted for him. Senator Blank has been the real victor for way too long. So it's nice to actually have a real human choice for change.)
I'll be back after Election Day... assuming that there is no shocking TrumPutin Armageddon and I still have an Internet connection.
Vote! And don't let anybody tell you you're throwing your vote away if you choose to diverge from the Duopoly. That line of bull got stale a long time ago.
As Corey Robin lays out in an excellent post, we mustn't let the inevitable gaslighting by Hillary supporters get to us:
Liberals in the media, academia, political circles, and on social media who support Clinton act as if your one vote—out of the more than 100 million cast—determines the fate of the republic. If you vote for Stein (whether in a safe state or not), you are personally responsible for Trump’s inauguration.
These voices are often the very same people who, when challenged about Clinton’s voting record in the Senate or Obama’s policies, will say: Clinton was only one voice in a Senate, out of…a hundred voices. Obama was one lonely man arrayed against…three veto points.
Somewhere in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith has a passage about how we identify with the trials and travails of a king, giving him all of our sympathy and understanding, yet are so repelled by the tribulations of the lowly that we can scarce understand what they’re going through.
|"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens|