by Mike Meyer
It’s really too bad about Joe Biden. He is one of the last of the old American Democratic politicians who thought people should actually be represented. He followed the rules and played the game the way they said it should be played.
Having been on the national scene since 1972 he arrived in the last days of American dominance and was there through the beginnings of failure in Watergate, the long exhausting collapse from Reagan through both Bushes. Without any real polices beyond just keeping on with keeping on until Clinton turned the Democratic Party into a true conservative liberal organization, Joe found a home.
It would have been all ok if things had stayed the same. But that is the story of America at the end of the 20th century. Although the fall of the Soviet Union was supposed to be the end of history the reality of the overall decline was apparent and picking up speed. Joe didn’t notice but, then, few people did.
The essence of sadness in Joe Biden’s world, excluding personal tragedies that we all face in one from or another, was the acceptance of superficial change as a solution to America’s racist foundation, lip service (literally in Joe’s case) to elimination of misogyny, and the constant affirmation that this was, with a little jiggling, the best of all possible worlds.
Barrack Obama embodied all of those positions with style. As the first multiracial president, born and raised in Hawaii, America’s one, true, non-white state with a childhood in Indonesia Obama was proof of American exceptionalism. Joe found his man and became what he was always meant to be, the prefect side-kick from our childhood memories of American Westerns.
Roy Rogers and Andy Divine foretold Barrack Obama as the hero with Joe Biden as his helper and comic relief. Joe carried the banner of the ruling, white, male, elite with full pedigree and years of experience in political rule. He knew all the people and was friends with all of them. After all the differences were purely political and they were all members of the ruling elite. Joe didn’t notice as those friendly fellow white males became darker and more criminal. Fascism wasn’t supposed to be in the script.
Obama’s real goal was to be a constitutional scholar and statesman in the style of America’s dominance. Unfortunately that world faded away in the 1980s and was only a memory when Barry and Joe came to power. But by talent and sheer showmanship they kept the illusion alive for many.
But the show is over. The brutal collapse into a parody of fascist insanity with a rich bumpkin, failed political gangsters, and Russian money made it impossible to ignore what was happening. The massive technical, social, scientific, and planetary changes had reached a critical mass that would allow no going back to an earlier, happier, time.
Obama’s great failure was not being too conciliatory but in believing that a dying late 18th century political entity that had reached dominance as leader of the 20th century could go on without structural change. Needless to say Joe is still a true believer and dedicated to this delusion.
Yes, dark irony appears on the scene again. After three years of growing destruction people are desperate to return to the, now perceived, golden age of Obama. The long awaited trickling down of small wage increases may mean that good times are in reach, just like in the past. All of Trump’s lies, craziness, damage to society and the environment can, if we act quickly, be reversed. America can be saved and the good times will return.
Well maybe they weren’t, in retrospect, that good but they were sure as hell better than what followed. Maybe enough of it is still there if we pretend hard enough. Maybe the Democratic Party is not the thin veneer of progressiveness crippled by the aging and fearful that we know. Maybe the world didn’t really change almost out of recognition. We all must learn that you can’t go home again.
But side kicks rarely succeed as leaders. They were the henchman for back room deals too dangerous for the main man to handle and, always, the comic relief with a touch of human interest. They are fillers, not the hard stuff that is needed for tragic times and desperate survival. People will come to realize that just as they realize that the evil allowed to root itself in our government will not just go away because of an election. That means nothing to those people and they think that they can do what they want.
Joe Biden is not the man to deal with that. In fact I don’t think any of the American men being presented now are able to do what needs to be done and make it work. I think it will take a hard woman who can stand to finish that painful job. This is a family in chaos and the future is not clear. Very special talents are needed and then tend not to be male talents.
Enough people, with Russian help, were fooled by the siren call of the imaginary past in 2016 and have watched in horror at what that really meant. The counter illusion is not an answer or even an effort but a surrender to immediate failure. There is no reachable past and no compromising middle.
We are faced with radical and massive change. Either we do it or we fail and others will do it for us. The failure of the American political system is a reality and no amount of hope and prodding will cause the carcass live again. We must take control of and rebuild our planet. That is a very different thing from keeping on as if keeping on were good enough.