Goodbye, Obama. Hello, Trump.
Soon, the fearsome power to hurt many people for no good reason (and many bad ones) will pass from one very dangerous man to another very dangerous man.
At first blush, Donald Trump’s brand of militarism appears more obnoxious, dunderheaded and foolish than his predecessor’s brand of militarism. Specifically, the calls for updating the nuclear arsenal: Our species (and the species we speak for unilaterally) requires brave leaders everywhere to call for the abolishment of atomic weapons, not proliferation. Also troubling is the depressingly predictable nomination of Mr. Mad Dog to lead our “defense.”
But make no mistake, Barack Obama proved to be as aggressively belligerent to the rest of the world as his predecessor. The Council on Foreign Relations reported that, in the last year of his Presidency, the peace-loving United States of America dropped 26,172 bombs on seven nations, most of them falling on what’s left of Iraq and Syria, as well as the remainders of Libya. That comes out to about 3 bombs every hour, round-the-clock, keeping us safe and preserving our constantly threatened, cherished way of life. Paid for by your taxes. The ones that are too high to pay for national healthcare. These bombs receive tacit endorsement from our collective unwillingness to take a different path. And so they continue to fall in my name. And yours.
Then again, all those bombs were ultimately being approved by a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and that part was altogether marvelous.
Perhaps the moment that Obama accepted his award in Oslo was when America officially began satirizing itself, scripting delicious little details that some folks might recognize as ironic but find too on-the-head to be funny. Starts with an avowed proponent of transparency waging a vicious campaign against “leakers” and truth-tellers, culminating with his unrighteous handling of Edward Snowden. Same guy assumes more Executive Power than all the Bushes combined. Wins the Nobel Peace Prize and proceeds to authorize extra-judicial murders of American citizens on foreign soil, conducted, mainly, by brave men and women weilding joysticks in a remote basement, just like in the video game version.
The Country That Satirized Itself then elects a person who is himself a kind of satire of the American Dream. He proceeds to nominate for his cabinet the single worst candidate for each job. The climate denier for the EPA. The foe of public education for Education. The CEO of the global oil company for Secretary of State. Who also has a weird relationship with the evil Russian Dictactor.
It’s all too fulsome and juicy for any writer to outscript. And so we humbly step back from prognosticating and simply observe with wonder.
Having endured one war-maker after another throughout our voting lifetime, we’re more inclined than ever to agree with John Lennon’s assessment of the people controlling our world, the ones with the power to obliterate us all. He thought they were mad. Insane. Inmates running the asylum — a trope that’s always made for great satire.