A Nation of Used Car Salesmen and Fractured Tribes With Guns

It’s that time of year again.  You don’t know what I mean – nor need you know.  I do and I remain faithful to the minor burden I laid on myself so long ago I really don’t recall doing so.

The “why,” the meaning, the seeming futility: “Vanity of vanities, said Koheleth, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

“הֲבֵ֤ל הֲבָלִים֙ אָמַ֣ר קֹהֶ֔לֶת הֲבֵ֥ל הֲבָלִ֖ים הַכֹּ֥ל
הָֽבֶל:”

all of that – I do it to talk to myself, my Self, and HaShem, my G-D beyond all knowing.  Take stock, bear witness, lament, argue… to no point now, perhaps for ears not born (perhaps not) – I speak to the wind.  It goes where it goes and takes on its own life, its own meanings I cannot fathom.  There may be no home for these words, no understanding.  I do not know, so it is done for its own sake and value.

Hunter S. Thompson, in the age of Nixon, uttered some simple words, a judgment, that proved prophetic:

“The polls… indicate that Nixon will get a comfortable majority of the Youth Vote.  And that he might carry all fifty states.
“Well… maybe so.  This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
“The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes […], is one of the few men who’ve run for President of the United States in this century who really understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon.”
from ‘September,’ Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail
San Francisco, Straight Arrow Books, 1973

A note about “prophetic words”: The value of actual prophets — the Nevi’im — and lesser, everyday “prophets” is not in whether their messages come to pass.  Christianity, in general, misinterprets this, being unfamiliar with Judaism in general, and mis-instructs any culture it affects, even should that culture become secular, even agnostic or atheistic.

Prophesies, their value, does not lie in whether they come true.  That is not, in general, the standard nor is it why the message or messenger was sent.  No, prophetic utterances are warnings:  “This is what will come to pass if you do not change your path.”

Amos, for example, was sent to prophesy “against” Israel – to warn and deliver a terrible, terrifying message:  To call his people back from devastation and the abyss.

Yonah (Jonah) was sent to Nineveh — enemies of Israel, people whom Yonah (Jonah) himself despised, if not feared, to warn them of their doom.  The Ninevites were not Jewish, were cruel, and were at war with Israel: Yonah personally would desire nothing less than their collective death… hence attempted to avoid delivering the message.  But he wound up doing so… and the Ninevites repented and avoided being destroyed.  No, they did not convert, change gods, culture — they sincerely lamented the evil they did and stopped doing it.  That is all that was required of them… or anyone, really.

So, the prophesy did not come to pass.

Yonah (Jonah) was an effective prophet, a success in spite of himself, his ego, his own conscious preferences.  The message he brought was heeded; the terrible events predicted did not come to pass.   If the warning is heeded and the prophesy does not happen — well, that’s the main point of getting such messages.

Even if one has no religious beliefs whatsoever, does not even believe in the reality of such beings as Deity, thinks the scriptures of any and all communities are myths at best and stupid falsehoods at worst, I think one can grasp that “prophesies” as a metaphor are real things and meaningful.  A warning, one who speaks against his own people, not out of hatred, but out of care, out of a desperate hope for an unlikely but better future than the one obviously on the horizon — I think that can be grasped by any intelligent person from any background.

Hunter S. Thompson delivered such a warning.  Probably without seeing the depths hidden within it — that is the way these things go.  Truth chooses the strangest vehicles through which to make an appearance.

A nation of used car salesmen — an entire people who are liars and con artists — with enough money for weapons to murder anyone who bothers them, questions the legitimacy of their feelings, desires, their hustle, greed, hatreds, and prejudices.  That was his warning, his consistent warning.

His own generation failed to take it seriously enough being far too optimistic and convinced of their “rightness.”  And, so, The Boomers sold out, became little Nixons… and worse.  They put Reagan in office and the movement to laissez-faire capitalism, the worship of money and fame coated in the veneer of “Christian morality” – “family values.”  Until we finally ended with Trump, a cheap-suited, bloated Nero-wannabe.  A nihilist willing to support any and every group of white trash nationalists — even Nazis, even to the point of wrecking the institutions of a liberal democracy, this constitutional republic, hollowing out law, fragmenting the people further against one another based on little more than “identity politics” and the lie of race.  (Just take a genetic test to find out where your tribe came from to find out with whom you really belong, which gang to join.)

All for what?

So each group can fight like starving dogs in the streets to murder or subjugate the others while Trump and company loot the country, do as they please, and die famous with a tomb larded up in golden kitsch.  All intending to dispose of the others and seize power so that they, too, may “do as they please.”

A nation of used car salesmen and fractured tribes with guns.  Guns we will turn on one another in a massive spasm of violence, eventually.

A people who find nothing common among themselves, no unifying, truly valuable beliefs to rely upon, reject reason, dialogue (not debate – dialogue) — that people is damned to murder one another.

That is all that is left, followed by a military dictatorship to impose obedience.  Obedience to some monstrosity of an officer’s authoritarian commands.  Perhaps an officer or junta backed by a foreign dictator… called Putin, probably.

The end.

With humor.  We’ll doubtless laugh insanely as we cut our neighbors’ throats, this being the age incapable of seriousness.  The irony will not be lost on us; we will not care, as irony for its own sake is all that seems left to most of us, believing nothing exists apart from our limitless, aimless desires that is actually of value: standards to be lived up to, burdens to be voluntarily taken upon ourselves….  No, nothing except whatever we can get away with and dress up in some parody of a story.  Preferably a “morality” tale involving “victimhood” to rationalize each gangs’ vicious choices.

***********

I wrote more; it did not “save.”

You get the point. Or you do not.

6 February 2018

Richard Van Ingram

 

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Your President – Not Mine

 

Trump, President of the Invisible Empire of the KKK
Trump, President of the Invisible Empire of the KKK

Trump, President of the Invisible Empire of the KKK

It’s not his mental fitness, people. It’s his MORAL fitness that is at issue.

He is evil, filled with hate, greed, racism, prejudice, stupidity – and is satisfied with it.

Worse: The Republican Party put him in power and praises him and supports him.

Worse still: A great number of US citizens voted for him – because he is a mirror of their own shameful prejudices, their hidden – and not so hidden – hatred and nihilism.

Someone argued with me, when I made this, that “you can’t find a picture of him wearing a Klan hood.” No, you can’t. Because it is invisible, but AUDIBLE.
He is the President of the Invisible Empire – how the KKK always refers to itself. It is an empire of idiotic, monstrous beliefs, beliefs that aim to murder and enslave and diminish and declare other humans different than pale & “Christian” &”straight” to be “not human.” Other. Disposable.

This is proto-Nazism. Fascism. White trash supremacy. Trump is NOT my president; and those who keep him in power or put him there are a menace to humanity, truth, justice, mercy, and all good things that make life worth living.

I am a stranger in a strange land. I always have been, but this land has become even stranger over my lifetime. This is not my country – I am, as Diogenes said, “Kosmopolites”: a citizen of the world.

No man or woman is foreign to me. It is “we,” not “I” and certainly not “us.” “We,” in our beautiful variety.

But not in this hatred, this fragmentation, Balkanization, tribalism.

That, I will have nothing to do with.
Nothing. To that sort of person, I am a stranger, indeed, and unwelcome in “their” land. By their choice, I am their enemy. Proudly, I am the enemy of any rejection of my brothers and sisters who are perfectly fine as they are, on their paths, working out their divine destinies in their own ways.

I am a stranger in a strange land. I carry my home within me. I break bread with anyone who seeks justice and true peace.

But I would rather eat my crust alone in a hovel than feast in a palace where injustice is worshiped and meaningless, valueless things are declared, selfishly, more valuable than any sacred human being.

#notmypresident #antitrump #antiklan#amerikkka #antinazi #antifascist

12 January 2018

Richard Van Ingram

 

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Trump the Woman-Hating Racist, Neo-Nazi, White Trash, Klan Suck-Up.

Has Trump screwed the pooch,finally? It appears he’s screwed everything and everyone else with just as little care.
Yes, this version [link below] has all the “dirty words.” You didn’t care about him summoning up every white trash supremacist piece of shit in the country; you did not care he summoned up every neo-Nazi in America AND Europe; you don’t care he hates Muslims; you do not care he hates Latinos; you do not care he hates black people; you do not care he is the most openly racist candidate since Strom Thurmond, if not more so and casually.

He is an authoritarian.

He is in love with dictators, including Putin.

He has elevated conspiracy “theorists” — liars and mythologists –to high levels in his party.

He has destroyed the RNC and converted it nearly completely into a party of White Nationalism.

Mike Pence, the ultra right-wing Conservative Evangelical theocrat, pretends he doesn’t say or do things that are on video and taped — probably so he can run next go ’round, being as opportunistic as Trump. And you were STILL going to vote for this shithead.

But “dirty words” and obvious misogyny — as if we haven’t seen 16 tons of misogyny out of him for 40 years — that’s going to be the “last straw”? I doubt it. I don’t have that much faith in humanity or “white” Americans, to be honest or them who suck up to them.

He’ll fake an apology and you’ll say, “but Bill Clinton” — as if Bill Clinton is up for office in this election, and you’ll say “Hillary is horrible” — as if that’s not the outcome of 35 years of right-wing propaganda mixed with Hillary’s occasional fuck-up… even though, morally and in terms of character and judgment, she’s STILL a paragon of virtue and intelligence when compared with the bully boy in the 70 year-old body.

I hope he doesn’t drop out. I hope he and your worthless white trash party loses, goes on the junk-heap of history, and you conservatives come to your senses. Reform your party. Purge the Tea Party, the nihilists, the Nazis, and go back pre-Goldwater and start all over looking to Eisenhower for something like guidance. Or maybe Lincoln, but, of course, he’s too damn liberal for you, so let’s take it slow.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/donald-trump-access-hollywood-vulgar-comments-hot-mic

7 October 2016

Richard Van Ingram

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NOTES FROM THE LAND OF THE FREE

In 1993… remember 1993? I remember some of it and it looks like some of it remembers me. About $40,500 worth of it. In 1993, I borrowed $20,000 to work on the first year of my PhD at the grand and glorious University of Georgia, and proud we are of all of that.

I had to drop out after a year for a couple of reasons after that first year — poor academics was not one of them, thank you — but I had become simultaneously full blown manic, didn’t know it, and then quickly became barely functional.

In 1994, I got stiffed on a job I spent all year working on and then in 1995 made $500.00 as a writer/illustrator/editor, wound up diagnosed and hospitalized in August through September, and divorced by the end of October. I was pronounced partially disabled by a psychiatrist who wouldn’t allow me to work full-time for three years, so I drove a van for minimum wage and barely made enough to live. (Thank you friends for keeping me alive.)

I wound up defaulting on that loan — it really didn’t matter to me and struck me as a reminder of failure. Later, I got some forebearances after I felt like dealing with it, and then went back into default. I made payments for awhile whenever I had money, but then they wanted an amount equal to more than half my pay in a month and would not reduce it so I File 13-ed their letters.

Then I asked for another forebearance — I qualified, but they said you can only do that three times. I offered to pay less. They offered to have me pay it all at once. They started seizing my income tax refunds and I haven’t seen one since — that was about 2002. I just gave up.

Loans got sold and resold and sold again and again — I had no idea who had them for years. But that tax money went somewhere; I figured it was at least paying the allegedly limited interest. But, then, a couple of months ago, I got a bill — they want $40,000. As if I make that much if you added up several years of income together. A new buyer acquired the loans. I have no idea how they jacked up those loans by twice. “Fees,” I’m sure.

And yesterday, I got more mail — in two months, the amount went up to around $40,500. Why not shoot the moon folks and ask for a million? I’m going to try to get the thing dropped due to the fact I had to drop out due to chronic illness and will never get to go back. They’ve ruined my credit in ways you would never believe. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try a fundraiser, even though I swore never to do that again. I own nothing of value. Teaching ethics and philosophy doesn’t pay an adjunct hardly anything. Art = $0 and comics have only cost me money to make and sell.

Writing — hell, I can’t give it away.

Financially, I’m fucked if I lose this appeal because they’re going to garnish 15% of any wages I make until I’m in the dirt and then sue my “estate,” which means it would pay for my wife to divorce me before I die.

Ain’t life grand? About 40 grand?

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