First the Fodder

Just as Die Zeit describes the losses yesterday on the field of battle for democracy: losers, losers, everywhere losers. Democracy a loser, the Democrats losers, the American system of (former) separation of powers loser, the people losers and govenment of, by and for the people, loser.

How sad is this? I just cannot say in a word. Everything that I knew growing up (born before WW2 in 1941), gone or now in danger. Remember that great ad years ago about stopping littering: a native American stands by an expressway where there is litter lying around. He may even see some being jettisoned from a passing car.

And wordless tears begin to run down his face at the loss of the pure nature he had always known. Same here but for the polluting of the sweet air of liberty by this right wing almost coup.

Throw onto the pile Brexit and England. There was even a Fuck Brexit Party in Brussels yesterday, before the Brits got out. Brits who lamented this painful step wrote moving letters to the EU. EU members read them and shed tears.

Why?

First, it is a sale of Republican Senatorial souls to the devil. The devil –the man in the Prez Office is best described by a few immortal lines in a 19th century German drama — the premier work in all of world literature about evil, Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832–statesman, government administrator, international traveler, natural scientist, poet, dramatist, novelist, celebrity. It is a work on which he wrote and rewrote for all of his mature adult life–decades. The more he knew of the realities of human life, the more he had to refine his work. Only his death finished the drama. He knew what he was writing about.

History since then has been confirming Goethe’s wisdom over and over and over.

In the first part of Faust, Doktor Faustus, a learned man who has exhausted all the fields of learning and yearns for more and more experience, is visited by the Devil, who is called Mephistopheles. Slowly Mephisto plays with Faust, to lead him into selling his soul in return for the experience that he, Faust, craves — and more. Mephisto is not at all the medieval red horned, hooved, devil with a tail, not at all. He appears as an attractive man, but one who to Faust has some sort of agenda. Faust finally wants to know, who are you? Mephisto answers: Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint: I am the spirit who constantly negates.

There could not be a better description of the man in the Presidents Office. And the situation is just like that of the advent of that man in DC: luring people who crave something else into selling their souls to him in return for more position, power, status and prestige: keeping their PAC money, keeping their Senate sinecures and not having to think it all out on their own any more. The Mephisto/DT appeal is just too much to resist.

When Faust learns of the proposed contract, his question is: how will I know when the deal has been signed? Any Republican Senator after the vote yesterday not to have live evidence against DT, could have said to and about DT what Mephisto says that Faust would have to say: verweile doch, du bist so schön — stay on with me, you are so charming. And in not so long, Faust says it, just as the Senate Republicans clearly said it yesterday.

So that is a first reason: selling out to whatever devil happens to show them the apparently easier, softer way.

If you don’t like that, try this from Bertolt Brecht: erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral — first of all gorge ourself on fodder, and then maybe get to morality (my translation). Same deal as selling your soul in return for keeping your Senate Sinecure: a sad but realistic capturing of what moves the quietly desperate mass of men.

No wonder Mark Twain wrote something to the effect that there is (was then) no native American criminal class — except Congress. The Senate Sinecure Republican Peanut Gallery proves Twain’s point. Same for those who jumped onto Johnson’s isolationist dream wagon in the now hardly great Britain.

And we wind up all losers, losers, losers — at least for the time being.

Are we really split in half across this nation a small group of independents in the middle? What is it that leaves us Americans vulnerable to autocrats? What can we do about it if we want the oldest experiment in multicultural democracy on earth –the USA– to continue?

Stay tuned, but fasten your safety belts in the meantime. The road to happy destiny just lost its smooth surface and dirty flood water drainage systems. Or maybe it was already gone but we still were in denial about that large loss.

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