Le vent se lève

Whenever it was, a year and a half ago or 30 years ago, I titled a post “Improv pandemi-coup-cession” which I think was a pretty credible impression of the multiple car pileup of alarming events and chaos. Right now I don’t even know where I would begin to attempt the same thing.

A big obstacle to bothering, with lots of things, is a high degree of confidence that the disruption right now is scarcely more than a brief sketch of the immersive 3D which is on its way.

A nuclear-armed state is moving toward mass invasion of a U.S. ally, accompanied by a global barrage of socioeconomic sabotage, gaslighting and brain-bending trolling.

It is difficult even to comment on the political crisis in America, which except for brief and pretty much meaningless jolts, is continually hypernormalized even as it deteriorates further and further. I actually have a more or less complete manuscript of a book of comment on this, yet it is difficult to do anything with it. I never saw much point to the project, anyway, in the sense of belief that circulating it would really change anything. But now it feels kind of like completing a manuscript on the fragility of Europe’s 19th-century long peace, in August 1914.

It is challenging to do much of anything amid this, certainly anything involving initiative.

I’m hardly the only one with a deep sense that it’s all going to shit. We can see that it’s all going to shit, and I’m not sure we can see means for reversing that any time soon. Plenty of people still imagine that they can see such, which I regard as part of the problem.

Right now the pandemic seems almost like it has been shoved plain out of current events, honestly, but along with not actually considering it “over,” I think attitudes about it are also still a very relevant illustration of the cultural inability to process the unfamiliar. It seems to me like so much of the shouting around COVID-19 policy is, in different ways, a hands-over-ears demand that “old normal” must come back and nothing else can be accepted. Obviously this is easy to recognize in the “declare covid over, end all pandemic policies for good and go back to the first half of March 2020” demands. Yet a lot of the contrary outrage, while recognizing that fiat won’t return us to the first half of March 2020, seems to insist that we stay in the second half of March 2020 i.e. in emergency mode until COVID is simply gone from the world and, thus, conditions really are back to the first half of March 2020. That isn’t happening. The belief that we might suffocate COVID out of existence, if we all just held our breath long enough, is a meaningless fantasy.

Rationally, I believe that there are perspectives and policies which recognize and adjust to the reality that we’re long past any part of March 2020; I appreciate those writing about and working on them. But it seems like the patience to listen and give that kind of thing a chance is running way behind outrage and denial.

In Ohio, feral government is more in-your-face than ever, with the state supreme court just yesterday threatening leaders of the other branches of state government with being found (very accurately) in contempt. The state’s political reporters are basically at a loss. But then, they’re hardly alone.

I always feel kind of bad quoting myself, but here goes: “…no one seems to have a credible theory of the case. Republican elites probably come closest, with their states-and-courts strategy for hollowing out democracy—while abhorrent it’s a strategy and it’s working—but even they seem to have a tiger by the tail.” My expectations remain low for Trump, his associates, or Republicans experiencing any significant consequences for the Trump crime-cult they have all wrapped themselves up in. But their endless appearance of worry, on that score, seems somewhat less irrational when e.g. Trump’s accounting firm breaks up with him, very noisily, on Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, putting everything else aside, let’s just say that their worry intensifies.

Who is ready for this? Trump and his associates responded to the prospect of merely being evicted, from the White House, with a coup conspiracy and violent insurrection, which has since metastasized into a simmering insurgency. What do people think they wouldn’t do in response to the prospect of being placed under arrest?

Of course, one might well ask “how should we prepare, how should we respond,” and I don’t fucking know. As with a lot of things, “I wouldn’t start from here.” I wouldn’t recommend enabling, for so many years, Russian government’s transformation into a thuggish crime cartel convinced of its untouchability. I wouldn’t recommend enabling, for so many years, the growth of a not coincidentally similar cartel within America’s feeble and fumbling political system. Etc., etc.

But here we are.

Le vent se lève, il faut tenter de vivre… I guess? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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