US Presidential Debate

Can’t help but turn a voyeuristic eye onto democracy’s implosion tonight in the US Presidential debate. As populist insurgencies subsume reason, we have the Nietzschean messiah of identity politics facing off against a candidate so tarnished by the neoliberal system that she struggles even to fake basic humanity. The soaring rhetoric of hope is the first casualty, burned out by too many false dawns and we’re left with the choice between incoherent anger and the complete lack of any positive vision.

Truth has become a cruel paradox of feeling over fact and as the centrists try desperately to console themselves with the least worst option, we are heading into treacherous waters. If Trump wins, then we’re facing the biggest ideas crisis since the 1930’s – if he doesn’t, then that toxic current of hate will continue to grow, perhaps resulting in a far more terrifying and actually competent demagogue. Meanwhile, the status quo is on life support with neither the manipulative skill nor the veneer of progress left to sustain it.

It’s a dangerous state of affairs when no-one believes a word politicians or the media say – facts become subjective and hate can feel like the most honest emotion purely because it’s so visceral. With venom as a manifestation of fear, it takes a positive just as primordially powerful to combat it and macroeconomic statistics simply don’t wash. The Bernie Sanders movement was an abstract success but ultimately handed the mantle of ‘hope’ to Hilary Clinton, whose primary appeal seems to be that she’s not The Donald.

And as America mainlines angst, Putin has played a masterful hand, strongarming Syria into savage submission on one front while sowing endless discord on another, using nothing more than an angled mirror into Western societies to destabilise them. The vacuum is being filled by the most dangerous people out there – and solutions have never seemed more distant. It’s not often I think we’re all fucked – but rarely has it felt so difficult to grind out a positive vision of the future.

Quite the ray of sunshine this morning – Jesus.

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