Election Eve: Fear and Loathing 2020
by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ November 2, 2020
Facing the US election from hell, I miss Hunter S. Thompson. His Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972 was the start of Gonzo Journalism and my political coming of age. But that was long ago and in another universe.
I’m not even sure that I could read that book now without an emotional collapse. That collapse wouldn’t be over Richard Nixon or George McGovern or Hubert Humphrey but over the waste of Thompson’s razor-sharp satirical dissection of an absurd campaign populated by characters that could still be darkly humorous. What a waste.
There was as much concern with a reasonable supply of drugs and beer as concern for the nation's fate. The candidates proved to be a joke, but not even Richard Nixon’s intent was truly evil. He was just paranoid.
But the core of my emotional breakdown would be that Thompson would fail in the world of American fascism, white supremacy, and murder pretending to be the same nation and the same political system. There is a great gap between darkly humorous and viciously evil.
We had viciously evil as the Vietnam War stumbled to its excruciating end. 1972 was only four years after the My Lai massacre, where an entire village was killed to save it. But those things were still kept far away in someone else’s country.
America’s institutional racism was killing people, but we all thought we were getting better. We weren’t, but we thought so as we dreamed along to the sound of Marvin Gay’s What’s Going On?.
Fifty thousand American’s died in Vietnam, and we were appalled. How do you balance that against 300,000 dead from a virus that could have been controlled? And a regime that laughs at the deaths and works to spread more disease while our psychopathic criminal president rants to those infected.
The real loss is the death of satire in America. SNL still tries, but there is no humor in the smell of hysterical fear that pervades our daily lives. Another beer and another joint isn’t going to make it any better. The entire planet knows what we have done, and that we are dying faster than anyone else doesn’t help.
No one is going to save us or even try. Not with forty percent of our voting population exhibiting symptoms of psychopathic projection. All of this imitating an infantile narcissist who accuses everyone else of what he wants to do. The words of horror are debased and become, themselves, absurd.
What will we do if the election from hell never ends? How do we deal with that? At this point, I don’t think it will matter.