“Everything old is new again.”
Russia like USSR of old has gone back to invading other countries, and the good old USA is sounding so bullish and patriotic like Ronald Regan inveighing against the Evil Empire, and the Supreme Courtesans are dialing back 50 years of Womens’ Reproductive Rights and declaring that “stare decesis” means “WE decide.” A new prohibition era is upon us. Women’s votes might be next to go, and LGBTQ rights, and Plessey V Ferguson might be restored. Goodbye If its not in the Constitution??? Slavery is in the Constitution! Dred Scott,. Political Parties are not.
Our two leaders, one elected almost 79 and the other elected and then spurned, almost 76, these are 2 elder statesmen who should be more into golf and grandkids but who are still obsessively into power. It was the scandal of the one prompting the comeback of the other, like two old boxers who think they have one last bout left in them. The Thriller in Manilla downgraded to Vanilla and Milk Toast.
They have turned the White House into an aged care facility, each for 4 years trying to run a country they knew best in their prime, long before Amazon Prime, Tesla, the internet, email and I-Phones, a country they do not touch because it has long left them behind. They do not know the price of a loaf of bread and don’t give a hill of beans. The only thing they know is power and what it is like to win it, use it and lose it. Like many old men, they think they can mix it with the young guys on the fast court, not seeing who is playing slow, not wanting to cause these seniors a heart attack.
Who will tell a Joe or Jack or Jill President that he is “over the hill,” that Humpty Dumpty is toppling down, falling asleep, losing his keys, wig, screaming hysterically, passionately defending delusions. Welcome to The Don and Jo Show. Its like watching the Masters for Seniors. Actually, these players are still great golfers.
When a nation or an organization hands over power to grandpa, its not because Grand Father knows best but more like a nation is so divided, so stuck, that we need a pause while we make up our minds. To do that, we put in placeholders. The Church and China do it all the time. Trump loved doing it. He named so many Interim Heads of Departments that one visiting Prime Minister thought there was a Department of Interim.
Perhaps Grandpa Presidents means a final salute to their fading generation born post WWII who still hold the power and wealth that they accumulated over 40 years. Both men reaching the pinnacle so late, is it any wonder they can only desperately hang on to it, not hand it on or easily admit defeat.
Trump could not even run his companies except into multiple bankruptcies, but his last Everest shot was to run the country to see if he could repeat his success. And Biden failed for 40 years to get the top job and he gets it finally, as an Academy Award for life achievement, for trying so hard. They did not peak too early, that is for sure, and perhaps they peaked too late, like a Kentucky Derby winner of 1990 running in 2020.
Welcome to the interregnum presidency, 2016-2024 between 2 worn out anachronistic irrelevant mindsets, who are holding the space for a new generation of leadership that is getting ready to embrace the challenge of a rapidly changing world. It may not be better but it will be different. We can’t keep being led by people blind to change.
Life will always throw at us the challenge, Change or Die, and enough of us decided in 2016 to wait it out, to die rather than change. We were fed by the nostalgia politics of MAGA “Make America Great Again”. The way we never were, we could be that again.
Nostalgia turns decisions into mock restorations, to run the clock back to when JoDon had hair, when women did not work but served family at home, when ‘gay’ meant happy, when schools were all good and students were all above average and Lake Wobegone had more churches than school shootings, more bowling alleys than drug overdoses, more Beaver Lodges than gun or liquor shops.
They will do short term damage, but long term, it will flush every fox out of the foxhole, shamelessly reveal the Supreme Courtesans as the most politically corrupt organ of government, and an ineffectual President who talks like he has the world as his parish and is beloved by all. But “Uncle Joe” does not have enough votes in a useless Congress to do anything good or bad.
Joe at least can do what he has always done best, Be nice, decent and Talk. And Don can extend his TV celebrity career, but he was too lazy and unserious and incompetent to do anything much good or bad. Since 2016, name me one seismic shift a USA President has caused or decided? They give us plenty to talk about because they are mostly ineffectual.
We don’t have to push too hard for this pack of cards to collapse under the weight of its own hypocrisy. But the new must emerge from the ashes, not the excuses. It will get worse before it gets better because as Cornell West said, the system has shown itself incapable of reforming itself. A true leader will emerge but God give us all patience to watch the final dying out of crazy ideas and lame policies that we knew did not work 50 years ago. Overturning Roe V Wade is not a set back. It is a death spiral. The nation will decide that what the Courtesans decide is as irrelevant and out of touch to them as what the President decides.
Once the interregnum is over, we will have so much catching up to do, we will have to hold our breath. The time for talking will be over and the time for acting and doing the people’s business will once again be urgent. We can’t wait.
2Ira Weiss and John DiTomasso