“America is already great”

Nothing could more vividly illustrate the fact that Hillary Clinton is the candidate of the status quo than her pathetic rejoinder to Trump’s “Make America great again” slogan: “America is already great.” The system is fine, we just need a competent and experienced manager to oversee it — and Hillary is certainly competent and experienced at doing the kinds of things the US generally does, both domestically and abroad.

From this perspective, her invocation of the “spirit of 9/12” — which, to satisfy the internet’s demands that every single piece of online writing be completely standalone and not presuppose any familiarity with the author’s views or previous writings whatsoever, I should have more roundly denounced in yesterday’s post as utterly obscene and frightening and contrary to all my political instincts, which were initially forged in total, unqualified revulsion and horror at the crimes of Bush and Cheney — shows just how much the state of emergency in which we live has become the norm.

Under Obama, you could almost forget that the War on Terror was going on, but though he preferred drone strikes to ground troops, he was still pursuing the bipartisan foreign policy of restoring chaos in the Middle East. But neoconservatism with a human face is apparently not good enough for her. Plausible deniability is not good enough for her. She wants the fear, the panic, the uncertainty, the pliability of a public openly at war — an endless war to no rational end.

Am I going to vote for her? Yes, because — unimaginably — Trump could very well be worse. Even if he drops out and they replace him with a “normal” Republican, that would still be worse (on domestic policy, if not on foreign policy). But all that can be said for this particular status quo is that at least we know what it is. It’s not an alternative to chaos, but a slightly more managed and familiar chaos. It will destroy lives, but destroy them predictably — whereas no one can be sure which lives Trump will destroy, only that he will destroy as many as he can.

This is the end result of Clinton-style triangulation: the lesser evil is openly and indisputably evil. The devil we know is very clearly the devil. And we should choose it because there is no hope, because there is no alternative and no other option. The Democratic Party doesn’t know how to do democracy, only democracy as blackmail. And meanwhile the guy who was supposed to be our savior is devoting nearly all his energy to tinkering with the primary process.

Our only hope is that Clinton continues Obama’s halting steps on climate change, so that the planet remains livable for future generations to enjoy the benefits of endless war, market competition, and deficit reduction — forever.

2 thoughts on ““America is already great”

  1. It would be funny to add some continental jargon to accentuate the a priori nature of many such claims, and change it to “America Is Always Already Great.”

  2. On continuities between Bush and Obama foreign policy vis a vis War on Terror and CIA covert resources (e.g., drones) see Jeremy Scahill’s Dirty Wars. Long, but good book. In essence: Obama is the same, just better at managing and hiding it.

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