Changing Tracks From Fast Apocalypse to Slow Apocalypse
Since Obama’s re-election, I’ve gone a bit quiet. Some of the pressure is off, along with some of the sense of impending doom that came along with the idea of a Romney win. I’m slowly trying to get re-oriented to a country that looks like it’s probably going to be OK for a while yet.
I came to term as a writer during the Bush Jr. years, a process I’ve written about here. My reality was defined by terror and the crushing weight of America’s actions post-9/11. Living in squalor in Queens and working at a company mongering conspiracy theories (Disinformation) did not help. My life was a blur and the country was spinning down the drain, every passing day announcing a new affront to decency. Guantanamo, the invasion of Iraq, the Patriot Act. The people who stood up to that got hammered hard. That experience has permanently marked me, and those who were awake during that period of time, in a way I think possibly more profound than the Kennedy assassination or Watergate did the people who lived through those events. It’s one thing to have your faith in feudal god-kings shattered by having one offed and the other steal some files. But, really, how can that compare with a fascist takeover of the country followed by “OK, so, we’re just going to torture the shit out of people now. You cool with that?” Seeing images of children covered with napalm in Vietnam is deep trauma, but compare a moment’s fire to images of children mutated by uranium bullets in the Middle East, bullets with a half-life of 0.24 million years?
Obama has, if anything, refined and even expanded this savagery. He has made Bush’s damage to civil liberties permanent in many ways; even Bush didn’t pull things like the NDAA, and we can now look forward to a century of mechanized warfare that completely removes soldiers from the ethical realities of choosing to kill.
But for all that, it bears remembering that Romney very likely would have led us into a nuclear exchange in the Middle East. That’s not an option that’s off the table—our world is so schizoid now that state tensions are erupting over YouTube videos, for shit’s sake—but in many ways I feel like the pressure has been lifted and, despite all of America’s failures and flaws, economic and military, we’re off the rocket ride to Fast Apocalypse.
Which means it’s time to get back to work on the far less glamorous task of circumventing Slow Apocalypse, and taking the consistent, non-dramatic, daily efforts required to route out creeping problems like Peak Oil.
We need clean energy, something Obama is thankfully stepping up to plate on.
We need to restore the damage done to the US Constitution by the last twelve years and, if necessary, re-establish a new charter of individual rights, one updated for the globalist world we live in and which offers protections not just from the state but from the rampant abuses of corporations.
We need to continue to fight back on the effort to clamp down on Internet freedom. It’s an increasingly shrinking window of free speech, generally the last one we have left, and one we need to protect.
We need to push back against a state defined by surveillance and drone warfare. (What is this, The Prisoner?)
And we need to re-establish America on more secure economic footing. My generation is completely useless for any task except self-promotion and getting likes on Facebook, raised by the children of the Sixties to believe that everybody can be famous, everybody can be cool and everybody can be the center of attention, an attitude of extreme privilege which has ultimately defanged us. We need to re-connect with the challenges of the physical world.
This is my proposal for doing these things. I hope it helps. Let’s see what shakes out of reality by the end of the year, and get ready to face the challenges of the new term.