Like many people, I’ve been pretty upset about this 2016 election.
Then a very odd post showed up in my Facebook feed this morning, and I was upset enough to watch it. I’m glad I did.
Here’s the link. It’s only nine minutes out of your life, and she speaks well. Go watch it, then come back here to laugh at me for listening to a psychic.
The thing is, I think she’s right. Let me cast her message in a slightly different light.
Who is Donald Trump? By himself, he’s just everyone’s asshole uncle. We’ve all met this kind of guy: we’ve put up with his rants, endured Thanksgiving dinners with him, rolled our eyes and talked about him when he wasn’t around. He’s a thick-headed ignoramus, he’s a bigot and a fool and annoying as Hell, but he isn’t much of a threat to anyone. He’s just an everyday asshole.
What makes Donald Trump different from everyone’s asshole uncle is not anything about the man. It is the mob that has flocked to him.
That mob is not a person, nor even a movement. It’s as much about the Latin Massacre in Constantinople in 1182 as it is about NAFTA in 1994. It’s about slavery in the seventeenth century, and the South losing the Civil War. It’s about Gandhi, and Hitler, and the Sack of Beziers, and Genghis Khan. It’s a collection of expectations and resentments with deep, deep roots. It is a force of history and nature playing out in particulars on the 2016 political canvas.
If Donald Trump were to drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow, this force would remain, and sooner or later, someone else’s asshole uncle would rise up and become the next Donald Trump. The same mob will form.
This is bigger than all of us put together, and it is going to play itself out.
Is it really 100,000 years old, as this psychic claims?
Very possibly. That’s roughly when “modern humans” made their debut, according to anthropologists, mixing with, breeding with, and eventually pushing aside the Neanderthals, the Denisovans, and perhaps many other early human species. Certain wheels were set in motion 100,000 years ago that are still rolling along: in particular, our explosive, exponential population growth as a species.
Does this force represent a perennial dilemma that we’re doomed to play and replay forever?
No, and the difference is rising population. It’s like rising temperature in a pot. It causes things to cook; it causes new chemical reactions to take place.
It causes transformation.
The human race has been through numerous transformations. There was a time before cities, when all people hunted and gathered and lived a very easy life: ask any anthropologist. Once cities formed, there was still a time before kingdoms and empires arose. Once the idea of empire was well-established, the nation-state came into existence.
People didn’t invent these things because they were a good idea. They invented them because rising populations forced them to find new ways to live.
We’ve now reached a population level where — as I’ve put it before — if everyone inhales at the same time, birds fall out of the sky. Human population is beginning to show long-term, global consequences on every aspect of life on Earth. We’re once again being forced to find a new way to live.
And we will.
In the process, however, the old way of living has to end. It has to die. Cain (the agriculturalist) must again slay Abel (the hunter-gatherer).
Donald Trump represents the dying scream of the old way of living as it is forced out of existence.
Unlike this psychic, I can’t claim to be very good at reading energy, particularly the energy of the entire United States, much less the energy of the whole world. So I can’t personally be quite as confident that the dying scream of Donald Trump won’t drown out the voices of the living for a while.
I am confident that the Trump energy is dying. Just as I am confident that capitalism is dying, and with it, all of the social perversions that have come with it, including our reckless endangerment of the natural environment we need in order to live.
So, let us acknowledge and even honor the Trump phenomenon for what it is: a desperate, dying scream of something that can no longer continue to exist in the world.
Then, let us — together — bury it.