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Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Moment of Truth: The Unseen Country

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink. 

Jeff Dorchen is damp. Not even sure how to go about carving into this nonsense. Shirthole countries. Did you hear about Donald Dump's complaint about shirthole countries? The racism, the colonial, imperial, capitalist disdain and hatred. He really needs to find his fat face at the end of a swinging baseball bat. He needs a dentist, a dentist who uses only baseball bats. That's the fever talking. Delirium. And with the heartburn. For days I've eaten nothing but a few select oddities. A dozen roasted potatoes. A plain bagel. A cookie. A pizza. Plain green beans. A pear. Chicken soup. Blueberry pancakes. Ginger beer. A varied diet, but somehow it hasn't nourished me. 

The temperature changes radically, moment to moment. The pillow is hot, the air is cold, the blankets are hot, the sheets are cold. The head is thick and full of fuzz. In the parking garage of Trader Joe's, where I'd gone to get ginger beer, a customer was doing a noisy but conscientious job of collecting errant shopping carts and bringing them to the cart corral. I passed her just as she completed her task. "Damn," I said, "You really earned that free parking!" 

Shirthole countries! Y'know, I'm in no condition to pick apart this event, but I don't know if there'll be a future. Dump. A sizable amount of people on Earth considered him the worst sort of human being, decades ago. I don't believe he's won any converts since then, he's just fattened up the ones he already had. It's just not nice, that's what it isn't. For a president to say about people's homes. Shirtholes. 

This may be the delirium talking, but isn't it safe to say that we've never elected to the presidency the best person for the job? Think about it. The actual best person to be President of the United States, the person who could delegate and diplomatize, be an inspirational figurehead, guide the economy to a sustainable course – that person is probably too old or young or female or transsexual or bald or black or deaf or queer or Buddhist to even enter the running. We've never elected the best person to be president because the process is designed to prevent the best person from even running. We're not looking for the best person. We're looking for someone who can convince the largest number of people that they're the best person. We're looking for a con artist. And boy, are we ever succeeding. 

Given the limited types of people allowed into consideration – follow along, here – given that it's a group with a very few superficial characteristics: Whiteness, for the most part, Maleness, for the most part, Christianity, or a pretense thereof, no divergence from the most generic physical form of a middle-aged adult heterosexual white person, for the most part – given that we're mostly, come on, we're mostly choosing from among a very small group of over-forty, white, goyische sociopaths – stay with me – given this limited sampling, we know we've never elected the best, but have we, in fact, elected the worst? 

That's the real question. Because, I remember under the George W. Bush administration, I thought Dick Cheney was the worst president we would ever have, and I couldn't have posited then the flaming school bus full of screaming children our world has become under Dump. But is Dump really the worst we can do? 

True, our process of choosing public servants has been described on this very program, in this very segment, and by this very voice of mine, as seemingly designed to attract people of weak character to public office. It certainly doesn't do much to discourage them. It seems that no self-enrichment through one's office is out of bounds anymore. Revolving doors, emoluments, bribery is institutionalized, and should the public grow concerned enough for it to concern one's fellow officeholders, a simple apology and a token reimbursement of frowned-upon fees will suffice. No one ever went to jail for accepting a speaking fee, regardless how exorbitant. There's a way bad things used to be done, and you don't even need to do them that way anymore. Want to charter a government jet for vacation? Do it. Want to charge the government to house your own security team in your hotel? Do it! Want to make deals overseas while ostensibly on official business? Do it! The sky's the limit – in this case, the nadir, the bottom part of the sky. Eh, there's no limit. 

Even the one area we've made progress in recently – calling out sexual abuse of power – hasn't created repercussions for Dump, accused of multiple rapes and sickeningly abusive to women verbally in public. He's the perfect storm of bad character. He's what a person with no integrity looks like, sounds like, acts like, and he's reached the apex of achievements for such a person. Whereas in another society he would be commander of a ship on wheels, his head crowned with bells, or perhaps a cigar-chomping paranoid in a pinstripe suit, planning a massacre for St. Valentine's Day, yet, here in today's United States, we've made him President. 

The horrifying question remains: is Dump the worst we can do? I'm not saying we're going to have to open up the field to women and ethnic minorities, disabled people and balding Jews. We don't have to dip into the off-brand deplorable barrel of Dinesh D'Souzas and Ann Coulters, though they have made remarkable strides in horribleness for their respective populations. The structure of the selection process – in fact, the false meritocratic framework of our whole sick society – ensures that the worst possible people to rise to the top will be white men. I know it sounds racist, and it is! Because the system is racist! And sexist too! How can you tell? Look at what we have for a forking president! 

How could he be worse? What form would that take? What attributes would he display? Remember, I'm delirious. I've been gripped by fever for five days. I've been beaten by demons and tempted by centaurs. Penguin-poodle-human hybrids have spoken riddles to me in the desert – stupid kid riddles, like, "Why did the chicken kill himself? Because he hated eggs!" I've felt the breath of the serpent of cosmic destruction burning my face as it roared Shakira's "Ojos Asi" in a nightmarish Spanish karaoke. 

Should I really find any obstacle in conjuring a worse president than the lumpish Dump we have hoisted into that gilded cage? A thousand grotesqueries should I vomit forth. But no. 

The imagination balks. The imagination founders. It stops dead in the water and sinks. 

I don't know if this means we've at last achieved the secret dream of the Founding Fathers: the absolute crappiest President of the United States that could ever be – and therefore we can scrap the broken republic and start again. Or if it only means I don't dare let my mind wander into that unseen land. Because I've seen it. So technically it's not unseen. Not even technically. It's been seen. I saw it. But it is awful. 

Let me warn you, as one who has traveled into that distance: let's not go there. This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Moment of Truth

 

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