History takes the long view. The present, of course, is merely experience. But humans are notoriously unable to comprehend short-term past and future. Analysis is for the birds, typically inaccurate, full of contradictions, but profitable for consultants and pundits and insider traders. That is to say, most of what the Q has to say should be taken with a pillar of salt. Cuz I'm not even a PROFESSIONAL consultant or pundit. I get paid in late-night refrigerator raids.
We, dear frenemies and enemends, are living through a year that will be studied for centuries - if there is anyone left to study such things. The problems of American society have become open sores. Was a day one could sweep it all under the petroleum-based Astroturf, were you so inclined and even modestly well-off. Before I describe what I'm seeing in our beloved 'Bush itself, let me just restate the case that the whole course of modern America took a perilous turn in fall of 2000. Most young'uns can't remember the anxiety of that moment, not knowing whether a climate-woke genteel southern upper crust white man compromiser with a stiff professor-manner or a congenial dumb-ass white man with faux Texan bonafides would win the White House. At the time everyone I knew said it didn't make a difference, they were all the same. Many voted for Ralph Nader, who was really the Bernie Sanders of his moment. And we've since learned, twice this century, a leader's choices have enormous influence on the day-to-day mental well-being of the Citizenry. Bush and Trump. Who could have known that those weeks of hanging-chad tug-o-war would have such consequential consequences? I mean...(looking back, can there REALLY be any doubt that a hanging chad is a vote?)
A Gore presidency would have been an easy Democrat transition, with many of the same players in positions of power, and there likely would have been a smooth and steady stream of reliable analysis. It's hard to imagine 9/11 unfolding in the same incompetent vacuum as the neophyte Bush & Co. But even if it had, the response would have been entirely different. A new international consensus on terrorism would likely have emerged. Torture wouldn't have reentered the American lexicon. And endless wars would not have begun. Let's face it; 9/11 fucked us up in the head. But the legacy of that day - its Islamaphobia and conspiracy theories - ignited the modern political schism.
So there's that. Then there's the Internet. A development in communication so utterly overwhelming as to make both Black Lives Matter and White Supremacy movements, Occupy Wall Street and fascist memes, into powerful new weapons against the Liberal Democratic Orthodoxy. So much promise and good; so much hate and misinformation. Do they cancel each other out? Creating a dialectic not unlike those of decades and even centuries past? Maybe. That's for the historians. Right now it just feels like war - a real information war, not so much of government against the people, but rather People against People, aided and abetted by an insecure government and a profiteering propoganda-class. But here's one thing I'd note - the glorified vioence of internet trolls rarely (I said rarely) makes it into real life - people feel comfortable spewing hate online. But they tend to think twice about real felonious mischief. (Remember I said "tend." It's a big country, and sometimes the sociopaths forget it's all "in good fun." There's a very real and dangerous anti-social white supremacy movement out there. But it's not synonymous with Trumpism. They just use each other, and I don't actually think we're headed for civil war. Just more randos killing people. You know, the American usual.)
In a couple weeks we'll know which direction we're headed. Unlike many of the black friends and pundits I've listened to (yes, listened) I don't think there will be much true citizen-on-citizen unrest. The "State," both Deep and Shallow, is too ingrained to allow for full-on war, or even battles. The Far Right will go back where they belong - grumbling and underground. The Far Left will be silenced by voices of moderation and consensus. The Middle will once again prevail, but maybe it'll finally be time for some serious tinkering with health care and income inequality. That's it. That's what I predict. Boring, right?
As for the Cops...I've always disliked them. I've feared them, truth be told. But never mortally so. And I'm a big white guy who LOOKS like he could be a closet Trumper. And I've felt entitled to talk back to them on occasion. But mostly their whole purpose, far as I can tell, is to create a background noise of fear to the underclasses. Don't mess with our stuff. Don't come in our neighborhoods. Don't get too Uppity. Sorry bluefellas. That's how it is, and in your souls you know it. You got into this game to keep certain people down. You're not heroes. You're barely "civil" servants. Fuck you, and anyone who thinks the Cops is a decent way to make a living. YOU made it a dangerous profession. It never had to be.
We need to start all over with police; detectives, okay. A certain number of socially aware protectors of the peace? Maybe. Mostly we need interrupters and specialists in disputes, because isn't that really what the cops are for? Only experienced cops with proven restraint should ever carry weapons - and what's with modern tech not creating safer tasers or some such? You put a computer on the moon but you can't safely incapacitate a man with a gun (or candy bar)? And get rid of the unions in the cops. Sorry, but this is one place that unions don't belong. Maybe some sort of bargaining panel, but not something that can protect police from scrutiny and punishment. No one should have a badge who has even the hint of sociopathic rage. The badge should be given as a medal for decency, not a license to kill.
There essay done for now. Back to the neighborhood...oh, and vote will ya?