The etymology of the word “Soviet” comes from a word meaning “governing council.” It may not be too much of a stretch to change that definition to “governing committee” and if you’ll allow me that, you’ll allow me to make another one of my bold predictions.
The United States is heading down the same road to ruin that caused the Soviet Union to collapse in the early 1990s.
Still with me? OK, let’s go.
Back in high school, my History teacher (a staunch Republican and a terrific man who appeared in full Civil War regalia in the film Gods & Generals) would crow about how Reagan’s policies against the Soviets was actually brilliant. Reagan’s boasting and overly muscular foreign policy, he reasoned, made the Soviets felt like they had to keep pace, and eventually they just couldn’t fit the bill and sacrificed the well-being of their own people to keep putting up a strong front to the world. Now, we didn’t often see eye to eye on politics, but I’m starting to think he was onto something, there.
Mainly because I see it happening with America.
Much like the Soviet Union, we’re being forced by outside actors to constantly bulk up to hold what tenuous grasp we have on our international status. Like the Soviet Union, we’re getting involved in countless prolonged and protracted brushfire wars (Afghanistan, anyone?) that are draining our economy. And, like the Soviet Union, we’re cheating our people, leaving most of them in dire poverty, in order to keep being the cock of the walk with our bombs, missiles, and what have you. The only thing missing is the big silly missile parades, where instead we leave our tanks to rot in the sun.
Is the US on its way to bankrupting itself the same way the Soviet Union did, by putting a muscular stance above all else? One look at the hawkish notes struck by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the recent election might hold the answer. From Trump’s famous “bomb the shit out of them” line to Clinton’s insistence on a no-fly zone in Syria that could have potentially touched off World War III, it seems for all the world to see that America is thrashing about like any empire in decline, still trying to convince us all it’s still got it. But, as Donald Trump ascends to the Presidency in January, I think it can be very safe to say we’ve lost it.
So, how did we get here? Well, as I said earlier, Soviet can be a word meaning “governing council,” and no governing council failed quite so completely in 2016 than the party apparatchiks in the Democratic National Committee in their bullish defense and elevation of the ultimate loser in Hillary Clinton. In a perplexing move, the word has gone out that it’s not the campaign’s fault that Mrs. Clinton lost, but rather the fault of the voters. Some didn’t vote enough, some didn’t vote correctly, and some, they reckon, were clearly acting with hatred in their hearts. Now, call me crazy, but I don’t remember anyone blaming working-class voters for their lack of fealty when Walter Mondale crashed and burned in 1984. For what might be the first time in American history, we see the mighty governing council shaming us for not loving the chosen Dear Leader enough.
These tactics do not bode well for the political future of America… or for its economic future, for that matter. The time has come to reject identity politics and the politics of team and group and Soviet and start to do something that might seem revolutionary both in a democracy and in a Soviet system: actually listen to, and appeal to, what they people want. A genuine appeal to the people, as opposed to Trump’s already-crumbling sideshow populist facade, can and will win the day, but any deviation back to a Soviet of well-heeled mandarins who claim to know what’s best for the masses will be nothing but a recipe for disaster.
dasvidaniya, Neoliberalism. The Berniecrats welcome you with open arms. You have nothing to lose but your chains… and your donor wealth.