Thursday, August 24, 2017

Reflections of Evil

In the realm of science fiction, evil takes many fantastic and horrifying forms.

In real life, it takes the form of Nazi storm troopers, Klansmen and white supremacists marching in torch-lit parades chanting their messages of hate.  And, the name of our current president.  Their great white hope.  That kind of situation was once the stuff of science fiction as well.  How things change.

Here's a science fiction idea:  What if the desires, hopes, ambitions and secret longings of the people could become palpable reality through artificial intelligence?  Vast clouds of nanites, perhaps, inundating the air we breath, reading our thoughts and assuming some ultimate collective form which was the sum total of what the majority...or those with the strongest desires, perhaps...wanted most in an idealized center of society?

Donald Trump is like that.  He's the sum total of the desires of a disenfranchised middle-American industrial, uneducated white working class.  In him, their anger, cynicism, disillusionment, frustration, bigotry, fear and hatred have come together as one in defining the values of the society they want.  And, what are those defining values?

Racism, that's one up front and certain.  All men are definitely not created equal.  Klansmen and fascists chant Trump's name in the street.  White school children bully minority kids, following the president's example.

Lies.  Alternative facts.  Orwellian double-think.  The truth is malleable as clay.  The press is fake news and fake news and wild rumor are the truth.

War and torture and police brutality are good.  The president loves them.  He has said this.

Close the borders.  Foreigners not wanted.  No more "send us your tired and poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free."  We don't care about anyone but ourselves.  Selfishness and xenophobia are our new creeds.  Our country over all.  Familiar?

Threats of Armageddon.  Of fire and fury such as the world has never seen.  Idle threats, or Nero about to torch Rome?  Who can say in a world gone mad?

No rules, anymore.  Just the wild emotions of the public, usually confined to the cathartic cyber-space of the Internet, now given flesh and bone (and, nuclear weapons) by a time in which reality blurs with the monsters of the Id.

The primitive demons of hate and unreasoning fear of the outsider, of scapegoating the foreigner, of the gun and the wild rush of the kill have replaced conventional governance.  Organized anarchy.  Every last shred of dignity and respectability have been stripped from the once noble office of the presidency of the United States.

A president who tweets.  Who offers a divided and bleeding nation only the most perfunctory readings of pre-written speeches of brotherly love and anti-racist platitudes, his eyes never straying from the teleprompter, then reverts to a raving madman who sees no moral difference between Nazis and those who protest against them, who sees the American free press as the true enemy, not fascism.  A president who makes excuses for fascists and tyrants while attacking one of the pillars of our democracy.

Then, he offers national unity in the form dictators and demagogues throughout history always have:  war.  He hopes a clarion call to arms, and more dead American heroes in flag-draped coffins will rally the nation around him as it did around George W. Bush.

And, of course, the dictator's other old ally:  hate.  He'll kick the transsexuals out of the armed forces.  Rally, oh legions of haters and killers.  Wrap yourselves in the flag of hate.  Let ours be a nation united in common hatred, for we have forsaken love.

Hail the future.  It comes cloaked in darkness black as death.

No comments:

Post a Comment