Orange Man – Orange Jumpsuit?

  • June 16, 2024

Very soon, we will find out whether the Orange Man will be wearing an orange jumpsuit. And accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for (s)elected dictator – which is what the American presidency has become as a matter of practice.

Ostensibly – constitutionally – the president is supposed to have no other power than to see that the laws passed by Congress are “faithfully executed.” That is, imposed and enforced. But we like to pretend it’s something more civilized.

At any rate, the president has no constitutional authority to make laws. But presidents have been doing just that for decades, via (among other things) what are styled “executive orders.” Which is a politically sanitized way of saying I – the president – order. President Bush explained it thusly:

I am the Decider.

Stalin was, too. And – let’s not forget – there were (s)elections in Russia, too. Because it is politically necessary to pretend the people have a say over who “executive orders” them around. The similarities between Soviet Russia and the Sovietizing United States wax rather than wane.

The current (s)election process is proof of that. The members of the ruling Politburo squabble and maneuver to have their favorite put forward as the new (s)elected dictator for the next four years. In the old Soviet Union, it was Trotsky’s faction vs. Stalin’s – and everyone knows who ended up on top in that (s)election. And what happened to those who didn’t.

In the Sovietizing States of America, it is a contest between the authoritarian Right and the authoritarian Left to see who will be executive ordering the populace around for the next four years. Will it be the orange-jumpsuited Orange Man – live, from Rikers Island? Or will it be the American Brezhnev, again?

A better question to ask, perhaps, is – what difference will it make? And there are many answers, none of which we’ll be able to know were right or wrong until after the (s)election takes place.

There are some arguably sensible reasons for hoping it’ll be the Orange Man’s faction that comes out on top. Orange Man is an authoritarian – but his authoritarianism seems less a threat to people who are not themselves authoritarian-minded; i.e., the people who’d just like to be left alone. Not that they will ever be left alone, by the Orange Man or any other man who is (s)elected for elected dictator. There would still be executive-ordering and other such things. But some of this might be preferable to the ordering we’ll be getting if America’s Brezhnev is (s)elected again. In part because America’s Brezhnev is actuarily unlikely to make it another four years; in which case, something even worse might be (s)elected as his replacement.

Orange Man, it is said by his enemies, will go after his political enemies if (s)elected. Of course. Why not? They have gone after him – and only a fool turns the other cheek to an enemy. We are long past the time when due process could solve problems in a manner that could be reasonably described as just. The gloves have come off – and it no longer matters who took them off first. When you find yourself in such a fight, if you do not understand that you are in the fight of your life, it is probable you will lose your life.

Axiom: You do what you must in such a fight in order to not lose it.

Like him or not, the Orange Man is probably the last chance we’ll have to land a potentially fatal blow on the authoritarian Left. If, on the other hand, the Orange Man fails to destroy the authoritarian Left, it will destroy him – and us along with him.

This is the (s)election we’re facing. It is not materially different from the (s)election presented to the factions favoring Trotsky rather than Stalin. Or Franco rather than the communists. Who, it’s worth mentioning here, were oilily styled “Republicans.” Just the same as communists now style themselves “progressives” and “liberals” (the latter once-upon-a-better-time meaning people who believed as Jefferson did, in less rather than more government).

It is not an especially palatable (s)election, but that’s what’s on the menu and there’s nothing else we’ll be allowed to pick as an alternative. Yes, of course, we can choose to direct our own course to the extent it is in our power to do so. And that is an excellent course to take. It does not, however, change the fact that a (s)election will be made and that (s)election will have consequences.

As the old knight who had spent 2,000 years guarding the Holy Grail advised Indiana Jones – do not choose poorly.

. . .

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