Opinion

Consumption and Collapse in Trumpland

In times of intense frustration, I return to one of my pet conclusions after many years of livin’, laughin’, and lovin’ on this godless rock we call a home: we are one of many species of apes and we are guaranteed nothing. “Nobody owes us a thing”: it’s a popular slogan amongst older folks and those who tend to skew conservative. One could argue the particulars of that phrase in the many different contexts it pops up in, but the arrogance we reap upon our earth seems to suggest that, as a collective whole, we feel entitled to continued survival at our current levels of consumption and comfort.

Unfortunately, that just isn’t going to happen. The center cannot hold. In spite of the ruling party’s favorite subject changes, I’m not bitter that Hillary Clinton lost. I’m not a paid shill. I’m not stumping for the Democrats. I’m beyond partisan bickering almost entirely. The deterioration of our only home in this vast universe is an issue that affects every one of us, in red and blue states, capitalist and communist countries, men and women and those who are neither, self-absorbed baby boomers and entitled millennials alike.

I raise criticism of the American Republican Party because their man is in office and he is rubber stamping all of their short-sighted, cash-grabbing executive order rapes and free market pillaging. There is a recurring myth that corporations are somehow benevolent and stifled by the fact that we dare to demand that they pollute only a certain amount. I point to Volkswagen’s multi-billion dollar fudge of their emission numbers as a clear indicator of a very inconvenient truth: if this is what corporations do when facing exorbitant penalties for misbehavior, are we really supposed to believe that they will take the higher ground when allowed to operate without oversight?

It’s a little quaint that the American holy trinity of Jesus and Ronald Reagan is rounded out by Ayn Rand, an atheist capitalist who thought we aren’t selfish enough. What a muse. The right in our dear, gluttonous nation has fully embraced the nihilism that description seems to conjure. I call our nation gluttonous because we consume a strong majority of the world’s energy and food, and it shows. It shows when you witness the flapping jowls and howls of rage when an American is inconvenienced for even a single second. In the drive-through, the checkout lane, the interstate. Simmering rage under everything, just a second away.

We are a spoiled nation in certain ways. Our healthcare is a Kafka nightmare without an end, even with Obamacare’s attempt to reign in the worst of it. Our roads are shit. Our educational system damns certain people from birth because of the accidents that surround said birth (their race, their family income, their sex, and so on). If there isn’t a slot a person can fill in our competitive, capital-obsessed society, they are made to feel small, insignificant, like some irritating burden. But you can’t have regular access to birth control or contraceptives. Abortions are being slid increasingly out of reach in many states. They want you born so you can fill some slot somewhere; invading sovereign nations halfway across the globe, in a private prison, or stocking shelves in some damn Walmart somewhere.

But all of that is an aside from the real issue glaring us in the face, stamping up and down with spittle flying everywhere. We are going to experience drastic changes in our lifetimes; changes that we are not prepared for. As always, indigenous peoples across the globe are paying for our continued colonialist mindset: barefaced environmental racism, a term that a million internet trolls chuckled away while it was still warm from its entrance into the mainstream political arena.

If whoring was the first profession, politics is the second, and the two are increasingly indistinguishable. Our politicians regularly accept large payments, on the public record, from the altruistic corporations who go so far as to send the exact language they would like to see in the bills presented by our lunatic Congress. The boneheads we elect to “represent us” can hardly be bothered to change the language, if they don’t just copy and paste it wholesale. Just this week, the ruling party voted almost unanimously to let internet providers sell our entire browsing history and habits to the highest bidder. Once again, not really a partisan issue so much as an alarming development for anyone with half a thought, but the pukes in the House and Senate found a way to make it one. Yours, mine, and the outdated masses who dressed in colonial garb to alert a worried nation about who even remembers. Notably silent now. Go figure.

I keep returning (and deferring) to the scientists who published a frustrating report that we could expect mass extinctions to begin occurring by 2020. Not 2050, not 2100, but before Ronald Grump’s first miserable term will even be up. A sobering thought. And, to defer to the vast left wing conspiracies to get Americans to stop destroying everything in goddam sight, the chance to reverse the looming world catastrophe is within our grasp. Not that this presidency will do a damn thing about it. Our methods of consumption require a near total rethinking of the way we exist, as consumers, producers, and vulnerable living beings. We are in an increasingly fragile position and it is not enough for individuals to recycle and reuse and reduce. This kind of global rethinking requires governments to stop the fear and bullshit and… well, govern.

I really can’t say why, at one of the most crucial moments of our human existence, we chose the dumbest path forward that we possibly could. I heard religious arguments, claims that the system should be destroyed and rebuilt, along with the usual tidal wave of malarkey that accompanies our idiot politics in this weird-ass country. And I’ve come to realize the one thing that all the holy books, political parties, and missing emails have in common: none of them will save our asses when it’s too late. And it’s nearing too late. To pervert the parlance of our game show host turned fearless leader, change is coming alright, and it’s going to be a total disaster.

 

The views expressed in this post are of its author and do not necessarily represent those held by Heft.live.


Featured image courtesy of a-w-i-p.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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