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2008 Revisited

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012


[Taki’s Magazine]


Meantime huge smoking cities arose, innumerable.--E.A. Poe



We are facing another U.S. Presidential election, and we know who the two opponents will be. It is depressing how fast these contests come around and how similar and pointless they have become. It seems like only yesterday I was recovering from the 2008 campaign between Senators Obama and McCain. And now the game has started all over again. Why?


Certainly the year 2008 was an important one in terms of the American economy and politics. In that year, the U.S. economy derailed and Wall Street blew up, and the U.S.A. elected its first African-American President. By any standards, 2008 was a desperate year and marked a turning point in history.


In looking over my notes from the period, I came across a draft of an essay entitled "Agog with Politics". It is a fragment from October 2008, unfinished and not submitted for publication. A kind of aide-mémoire. It and its addenda are worth revisiting now, because nothing has changed in the interim.


We are being propelled through the same hugely expensive process, this time between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. If I were given even odds, I’d bet on Romney to win it. But it does not matter. Except for the victor and his extended entourage, and for the powerful domestic and foreign lobbies which already own both men, the outcome will make little difference to the citizenry at large.


***


«Agog with Politics»

[October 27th, 2008]


We are in the final moments of the first billion dollar Presidential campaign. This circus started two years ago. It came down to Barack "Slippery" Obama vs. John "Crackbrain" McNasty, in a quest to become the nominal leader of Ex America II, the lone surviving "Superpower".


It has been a deceptive choice which the Washington Establishment Party (WEP) presented to a confused, unwary American electorate. It must be evident to most neutral observers that the Democrat and Republican parties constitute little more than two WEP front organizations and that there is no substantive difference between them, save for cosmetics, style, spin and atmospherics. WEP is a revolving door for ambitious, career politicians.  


Representing the Democrats in one corner was the junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, an upstart mystery man from Kenya and the Midwest of America, then Indonesia and Hawaii and Harvard Law.


In the other corner, Arizona Senator John McNasty. He was a Navy brat from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Son of a famous Admiral, he finished at the bottom of his class. He fought and crash landed in Vietnam. Surviving prison camp, he launched a second career by cashiering his first wife and marrying the beer baroness of Arizona. Bankrolled and renewed, McNasty went on to become a permanent fixture on Capitol Hill.


BarackO is a brilliant talker, cerebral and crafty. A consummate conman. During the campaign he posed as an outsider, promising undefined "change". His career trajectory has been astounding.


McNasty is an ex-wrestler, an entitled roustabout with a hair-trigger temper. He seems intent on telling the rest of the world what to do, in imbecilic Neocon style. He is a bully like G.W. Bush; and, like Bush, McCain has more than a few screws loose. So there you are.


In case you are puzzled, Ex America II refers to the fact that the North American republic of 1789 is no more. It was obliterated by the bloodbath called variously "the Civil War" or "the War between the States" or by my Southern diehard friends, "the War of Northern Aggression".


The last terminology is most accurate. The conflict commenced in 1861 when President Lincoln decided to prevent a peaceful secession of the Southern States. Like any voluntary association, the right to resign is inherent. The War of Northern Aggression destroyed the Republic of Washington, Jefferson and Adams and along with it the U.S. Constitution. It is gone. We are at sea.


In its place came Ex America, which lasted from 1865 until the Big Brother regime of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s--or more precisely, until acts of serial high treason and malfeasance by FDR and his inner circle facilitated the "surprise" attack at Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7th, 1941.  


Since Pearl Harbor, the citizens of the U.S. have been living in Ex America II. It is a world of fear, fantasy and force, along the lines of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Charles A. Beard’s “perpetual war for perpetual peace” and Henry Miller's The Air-Conditioned Nightmare. I'm referring to World War II, the Cold War, and now Washington's crowning achievement, GWOT, the "global war on terror" in the aftermath of 9/11.


GWOT is predicated upon a hyped "clash of civilizations" between the West and the world of Islam. This is a contrived, self-imposed and self-fulfilling scenario, albeit widely accepted as authentic by the bamboozled and benighted. The conflict would evaporate overnight if Washington would stop doing stupid things. 9/11 or something like it was bound to happen in response to Washington’s harebrained policies.


It is this strange world that these two career politicians, BarackO and McNasty, were fighting over. It hardly matters which of them wins the prize. WEP will retain power. Whoever controls WEP, stays in power. Status quo ante. More fear, more fantasy, more force and deception. Endless war.


Edgar Allan Poe saw it coming from his vantage point within the time-frame of the original Republic, preceding Ex America. For example, in "The Unparalleled Adventure of one Hans Pfaall" (1835) Poe writes about the regrettable circumstance wherein "...of late years...the heads of all the people have been set agog with politics...." Poe was alluding to the overly optimistic and all-consuming Zeitgeist in the aftermath of the French and American Revolutions.


Poe was a loner, a dreamer and a boozer who got himself kicked out of West Point, for reasons which remain unclear. He was also a genius and a great writer who did not marry a millionairess. He longed for a golden age where humankind would care about beauty, art and philosophy--and less about money and politics.


Poe had not been fooled by the French Revolution nor by the New World religion called "democracy". Poe looked askance at “The Age of Reason”. He remained in dissidence. His death can be said to have vindicated his outlook. He died in 1849 while drugged and being utilized to perpetrate voting fraud in Baltimore, Maryland.


America’s current predicament at the dawn of the third millennium begs the question, "Can democracy be regarded as a waste of time, a wrong turn in the history of humanity?". My answer is that it probably should be regarded as such.


Think of all the time, money and effort spent on these elections, which wastage could be avoided if there existed a system like that of the ancient Venetian Republic, in which governance was left up to a patrician class composed of incorruptible, duty-bound individuals who elected a figurehead king, the Doge.  


In this manner, at least, the average person would not be bothered and caught up in the spectacle of irrelevant elections, which entertainment has resulted in putting mountebanks and opportunists into the White House and keeping them there for a long time. It is a charade. The problem is even more pronounced on Capitol Hill, where payoffs and lobbies are the order of the day.


The 2008 election confirms what has been suspected by thoughtful American intellectuals since at least 1900. Edgar Allan Poe knew it already in 1835. Please be advised that politics is passé and a pack of lies.