The Era of the Asshole
by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ March 4, 2021
The Previous Guy attempted a return on a recent Sunday at a shrunken CPAC. It was an open question of what he would do, but it was what it always has been. When the Previous Guy is losing and depressed, he reads the teleprompter and tries to imitate a normal politician. It doesn’t work.
All the articles describing the keynote speech at CPAC on Sunday noted how boring it was to hear the same old same old. It was the old familiar lies of a has-been mobster. The fascists have moved on without Trump except for the ones still worshipping at the feet of a gold totem.
The racism, hatred, and insanity are still out there, and an ugly threat, but the lack of anything positive or any goal other than oppression gets boring quickly. That is why fascist movements need an ugly face and fear generated by constant outrage from someone with an endless demand for destruction and human suffering.
This was ironically visible at CPAC by the effort to make something out of nothing with the theme of canceling cancel culture. That left them as the butt of their own joke when they canceled one of their own speakers over extreme antisemitism. At least there was some limit to bigotry acknowledged.
While this is old news, it is interesting to watch the evolution of a multi-layered disaster. Every human society has people who are abusive, aggressive, and obnoxious. This is often a temporary condition caused by stress or various other problems. We all have our asshole moments often directed at our own families or friends.
Most families of any size and all communities have members prone to this condition. There are, however, individuals and groups that come to define themselves by their bigotry and assholeness. Every large family has someone who takes this role as their mission in life. These are the people who we all dread at family gatherings. They are mostly ignored.
Rarely, however, do we see a large, powerful nation dedicate a large number of high-profile political positions to the asshole demographic. While there are assholes everywhere, and anyone may have a fit of assholeness at certain periods of their life, America has one of two national parties that has defined itself as the asshole party.
Assholeness is a matter subject to interpretation, but I’m unaware of any other historical period when a major power took assholeness as a major, in fact, the only criteria for positions of authority. Normally this situation arises in what has long been called ‘banana republics,’ but these are small and powerless. A handful of assholes, a rather evocative phrase, can take over a small, impoverished country, but their minority status usually keeps them from dominating larger nations.
American exceptionalism does, again, exist in the number of assholes in national positions of authority. Assholes are bloated on their own importance while committed to demeaning and threatening all around them. This, combined with their own ignorance, tends to limit their success, but there are exceptions. Some assholes have the native ability to achieve professional education and succeed in inserting themselves into important positions.
Rarely, in modern times, does a major national political party define itself as the party of assholes. Some define all politicians as assholes, and there is some truth to this. Still, some politicians actually pursue the common good and take some pride in meeting their constituents' responsibility.
The Republican Party should change its name. It isn’t easy to find anyone still active in that party, particularly in Congress, who isn’t a breathtaking asshole. A truly amazing example of egregious exceptionalism.
To stand out in that party is a challenge given Trump's standard as a preeminent ignorant and seriously mentally disturbed asshole to which they all aspire. Texas Governor Greg Abbot is definitely working on being the largest and most deadly asshole, which causes me to point out that we don’t know, despite Biden’s apt description, that Neanderthals were assholes. Their ignorance of public health standards, given their prehistoric existence, can be assumed but assuming that they were also assholes on Abbot's level is unfair.
The list of disgusting assholes in Congress, without even descending to the state level, includes almost all in Congress from Cancun Cruz to the lowest, as shown by Qucumber Greene, who seems to be an embarrassment even to the normal Republican assholes. It is interesting that being more of an asshole than the other assholes is not something that generates respect.
As a group, assholes have rights, too. But, as noted above, they are naturally well represented among politicians and more so than normal among American politicians. That they have taken over one of the two major political parties in American suggests social and economic distortions are so far out of control that there may be little hope of recovery.
This is particularly true as Biden’s primary authority comes from not being an asshole. This is dangerous as he is surrounded by and has a long history of being periodically, a manipulated asshole himself. It is troublesome that in an age of the dominance of assholes in America, the best we can do to counter this trend is a mild asshole.
I suggest that anyone with no claim to fame other than being an asshole should not be allowed to run for a major political office. This is possible as the level of assholes that we are concerned with is blatant and permanent. These people, again with Trump as the iconic standard, are unable to hide what they are.