So, yeah, our holy land has devolved to this:
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In the ’80s, we fixated on greed, pastel sports jackets with sleeves rolled up to the elbow, Michael Jackson’s single glove, boom boxes, “Baby on Board” signs, mullets, penny loafers, Rubik’s Cube, and Top Gun. We fought a faux war in Grenada and financed a real war in Nicaragua, both of which were undertaken to wash the stink of Vietnam out of our underthings. (Rather like laundering with septic tank sludge.)
All in all, we were pretty silly that decade but we really hadn’t yet tumbled into a national psychosis.
The ’90 brought us Beanie Babies, dot-com startups, the “Macarena” (my apologies if you’re eating), the fanny pack, the ThighMaster, What Would Jesus Do?, and Dumb and Dumber. Silly, sure. At times nauseating. But altogether not the worst of times. In fact, we could be viewed as becoming a tad more sane than we’d been the previous decade.
The ‘Aughts opened with a presidential race won by Al Gore but lost in the Electoral College and a Supreme Court stacked with Reagan/Bush ideologues. There followed in quick succession 9/11, the Patriot Act. Rudy Giuliani. Paris Hilton’s fellatic aptitude, WMDs, and a quarter million Iraqis laid to waste. In ascendance: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and Fox News. Last decade should have given us ample warning — we were about to lose our freaking minds.
Now, it’s the ‘Teens. I needn’t run a grocery list of psycho-pathologies we’ve endured except to iterate that Donald Trump — Donald Goddamned Trump — is the Republican Party candidate for President of the United States of America in the year of his lord, 2016. I know, I still can’t believe it myself.
And if that weren’t enough, apparently there’s a national clown scare going on right now. This minute. As we speak.
You’ve read correctly. A national clown scare.
“The frenzy,” writes former TV journalist Melissa Chan in Time magazine, “was born in South Carolina in late August after unsubstantiated reports surfaced that clowns were spotted trying to lure children into the woods.”
South Carolina, natch.
Now, police departments around the country have had to respond to so-called clown sightings ever since. Schools and college campuses have been disrupted and even shut down. Barack Obama’s press secretary has been peppered with questions about the phenomenon. “Obviously,” the press sec’y said, acc’d’g to The Hill, “this is a situation that law enforcement is taking quite seriously.”
Of course, some armed citizens of this 2nd Amendment theocracy have posse-d up, looking for killer clowns. The situ. for professional clowns has purportedly become so precarious that a number of “Clown Lives Matter” pages have been started on Facebook.
This is what we’ve become in the second decade of the 21st Century, an era that was expected to be jam-packed with jet-packs, flying cars, colonies on the Moon, prosperity for all Americans, harmony between the races, the 4-hour work week (that’s right, 4, as in four), and other delusions.
Not This Year, Kiddies
For a hot minute, I thought the rise of Donald Trump as the possible next leader of the free world was the nadir of the American democracy. It ain’t. I shudder to think who’ll be the next populist candidate for president. One of the members of the Insane Clown Posse?
No, there’s really no telling how low we can go. We may even look back on the days of D. Trump with a certain wistful fondness, much the way a lot of liberals and progressives today think of the-then worst man in the world, Ronald Reagan.
Democracy was begun with good intentions. Get the people involved. The innate wisdom of the common man and woman. The citizenry will speak. Vox Populi. And all that risible bullshit.
We now know the end result of democracy is a mad contest to see how stupid we can become.