If aliens landed on earth from another galaxy, I am sure they would think that the ills of the world started when Trump got elected. They would report back to their mother ship that January 20th, 2017 was the day when planet utopia exploded and was replaced by a dystopian nightmare that witnessed earthlings opt to elect the first orange president. Racism, inequality, wars, injustices, sexism, immigrant children being separated from their parents; all these things and more suddenly appeared the minute Donald became the 45th man to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Before him, humanity had heaven on earth.
This is how some on the “left” would have us understand politics. Even people on the right use Trump as a convenient strawman, as long as he is occupying our minds with his shenanigans and his latest sophomoric taunts, they are betting that we will keep being glued on one man as we overlook a system that is eating away at the bottom 90%. The president is the perfect red-herring, he distracts us from the maliciousness of crony capitalism and the excesses of despotic federalism. Trump is straw that stirs us into derangement, he is the court jester who keeps us occupied with his doltish behaviors so that we stop at the surface and don't dig deeper to discover the roots of our problems. Click To Tweet
Obama was foisted on us to give a broken pyramid system one more chance by using hope to give cover to the largest wealth transfer in the history of this planet. Barack used his telegenic smile and teleprompter speeches to lull us into compliance as he gave $14 trillion dollars to the same crooks who bled our economy in 2008. We should have seen this coming, billionaires do not part with their wealth and give money to politicians who actually want to deliver change and give reprieve to the suffering masses. Wall Street invested in Obama because they knew he was their man—they hit jackpot with the Bank First President.
Trump’s role is completely different, establishment voices know that the general public will not abide another politician using the ‘hope and change’ shtick to yet again deliver Wall Street by sacrificing the rest of us. Besides, they can’t pull off another con job and save an imploding economy with the injection of tens of trillions of dollars like Obama did with Quantitative Easing, ZIRP and bailouts. Interest rates are at near 0% and there are no buyers if Treasury wants to start another T-bill selling binge. Our economy is once again in record territory as it was in the months preceding the Great Recession, look throughout history and you will see that market highs are always the precursors to market retrenchments.
When that time comes to pass, there will be few buyers of last resort to stimulate the economy through wealth transference schemes and Keynesian spending sprees that were the linchpin of Obama’s economic blueprint. An market correction could turn into a depression that will make the one from 1929 seem like a hiccup by comparison. Some of the same economists and journalists who warned about the 2008 crash are yet again waving the red flag, they know that our economy is headed for another whiplash. Sadly, voices like Richard Wolff, Glenn Greenwald, Cornel West and Chris Hedges are being drowned out by carnival barkers in corporate media who are back to their old ways of selling us on the notion of perpetual growth.
What saner voices are warning us about is the same thing that the gentry are losing their sleep over. What happens exactly when the “free markets”—which is really a managed economy that benefits corporations while harming the citizenry—reach a tipping point and tailspin downward? What will be unleashed when we finally realize that capitalism was really nothing more than a system of wage slavery for most and greed mastery for the neo-aristocracy? How will the people react when we wake up to wiped out savings and 401(k)s? Will there be a mass awakening followed by a mass-insurrection similar to the French Revolution? These are the questions that the plutocracy fear more than losing their health.
In steps the perfect distraction. The best way to keep our minds diverted from an oncoming train wreck is by implementing a reality show clown as tap dancing conductor. Donald Trump is like the band playing on the Titanic, the same way the quartet played on to lull second and third class passengers into a false sense of safety while the first class passengers were calmly boarding their life rafts, Trump lulls us into complacency with his melody of unending lunacy as the 1% fortify their walled off compounds. One tweet is enough to send the punditry into a collective tizzy; each time he blathers some incoherent sentence, he occupies headline status and in the process gives cover to the continued fleecing of our nation and the pillaging of our planet. The political class gladly follow suit, the ills of the world are pawned off on one man and sadly too many fall for this bullshit.
In all honesty, it’s not the fatuity of Trump that gets my goat on any given day. I’ve come to accept his pathological narcissism and refuse to bite when he intentionally stokes emotions for the sake of getting our attention. What grates me more are these media hounds and ivory tower demagogues who pretend to be outraged at Donny. The same crowd who were mum when Obama was droning around the world and giving trillions to the oligarchy are all the sudden running around with their hair on fire as if these things were all wrought by Trump. The truth is they love Trump; this is what Michelle Wolf was getting at when she shellacked the White House Correspondents’ Dinner a few weeks ago.
Today’s latest media driven kerfuffle involving Roseanne Barr and Valerie Jarrett is a perfect example of how the debased (I refuse to call them the elites going forward) continuously manipulate our emotions with manufactured outrage and indignation. For the record, I care not one iota about what one millionaire says about another millionaire. Valerie does not represent me nor the millions who suffer from Chicago, Baltimore and throughout every city and town in America. Hell, Valerie spent the better part of eight years advising Obama on how to screw over all of us irrespective of identity and ideology. We should be focused like a laser on policies both parties are passing instead of gazing like mindless zombies on the dust ups between the rich and famous.
Alas, too many of us fall for this nonsense and get riled into frenzy while the establishment laughs all the way to the bank. It would be funny if it was not so tragic, you have liberals sounding like Joseph McCarthy and conservatives swearing by the words of QAnon as if he is the second coming of John the Baptist. Instead of letting morality dictate politics, people would rather let their politics dictate their morality—ideology has a way of turning humans into pretzels. Democrats now chant Russia as if they are Rush Limbaugh Dittoheads at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Meanwhile Republicans are standing by their man Trump—a serial cheater who can’t get enough of porn stars—like Hillary stood by her husband. If the Left and the Right can’t get enough of bashing each other, it’s because they are shadow boxing their reflections in the mirror.
This is a type of cult of personality that makes the Kool-Aid sippers in Jonestown seem downright rational. Whether or not one is for or against Trump is inconsequential, the only thing that matters is that he is capturing our collective attention. It’s working perfectly too, instead of debating the merits of policies and finding solutions to the issues that vex society, we expend all our energies arguing over one infantile septuagenarian. The whole thing is an act, last week the Boston Globe featured a story that revealed Trump’s staffers are the ones who Tweet on his behalf—mangled grammar, typos and all. The joke is on us, we keep arguing over an orange herring as the iceberg cometh. Cognitive dissonance awaits all of us. #OrangeHerring
“Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.” ~ P. T. Barnum
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.