Last Tuesday, if you listened closely, you could hear it whoosh across the Internet, the enormous sigh of collective relief, as social liberals, center-leftists, and other “progressive Capitalism” fans received the news that it was finally over. Bernie Sanders and his fanatical legions of hopped-up, all-white hacky-sacking Bernie Bros had at last been banished from center stage, which the media immediately set about striking, and dressing over for the main event, wherein Hillary Clinton will save us all from Hitler.
I provided a preview of the upcoming season of America Saves the World Again: Trumpocalypse! in these pages earlier, so I’m not going to go through all that again. Let’s just say, it’s going to be a doozy. According to the mainstream media, Trump and his army of downmarket racists are on the march and headed your way. The Guardian reports that frightened Americans are making plans to flee the country. The New York Times, Washington Post, and a host of other “serious broadsheets” are apparently competing to see who can get in the most Weimar Germany and Hitler references. Not to be outdone, Reuters reports that Trump is both Hitler and Mussolini. The latest is, former Bernie Bros, many of them anarchists and nihilists, are rumored to be defecting to Trump, mostly out of hatred for Clinton, and presumably affluent women generally. According to the New York Review of Books, we’re in a state of “national crisis.” I’m not kidding, you can google this stuff.
All of which, of course, is fantastic news for the mainstream media and social liberals. Imagine the emotional strain they’ve been under, having to pretend to feel uncomfortable about Clinton’s shady Wall Street ties, or pretending to approve of some of Sanders’ ideas … like single-payer healthcare for all Americans, free or affordable college tuition, and regulating the investment banks.
Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and imagine being forced to pretend to care about Obama and Clinton fomenting coups, and otherwise destabilizing other countries, or assassinating pretty much anyone they like, anywhere they like, with complete impunity, or unequivocally supporting the State of Israel, and our friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and whichever other despotic regimes we happen to be supporting at the moment.
Not that Sanders was ever going to change the nature of U.S. foreign policy, or be able to achieve his domestic agenda. As Jeffrey St. Clair wrote in his recent piece, this was always “a rhetorical revolution.” Words, however, do not amount to nothing … not completely nothing, anyway. And Sanders has been saying a lot of stuff that folks in the international spotlight are not supposed to talk about publicly, and definitely not on television.
See, the thing about being a social liberal is, it’s incredibly important to convince yourself that you actually care about other people, and that you’re not just mouthing whatever platitudes are making the rounds in liberals circles as you enjoy the fruits of global Capitalism, which at some level you know are being made possible by destroying a lot of other people’s lives, which you need to deny or rationalize somehow. Oh yes, it’s extremely complicated, and stressful, being a social liberal. It’s so much simpler for folks on the Right, who can come right out and admit they have no qualms about killing and exploiting other people, as long as they can profit from it.
Social liberals do not have this luxury. No, in order to continue to feel good about themselves, they have to twist themselves into emotional pretzels and tell themselves all kinds of crazy stories. One of their favorites is the one about “reality,” and being “an adult,” which means being a capitalist, as Capitalism, for them, is the only reality … it’s more or less a religious thing.
Mostly, these stories do the trick, as social liberals — like most other people — tend to socialize with others of their kind, and so reinforce whatever narrative their social circle is telling itself, which, of course, is how “reality” is created.
The only problem is, when you’re a social liberal (which you probably are because part of you still has not made its peace with dominating, exploiting and destroying a lot of other people in order to profit off their suffering), is that sometimes someone like Bernie Sanders starts running around all over the country, not to mention TV and the Internet, mouthing off about the corporate plutocracy, and demonstrating how American “democracy” is really just a giant simulation to dupe people into believing they’re “free.” For social liberals of all varieties — but particularly for the affluent variety — this has been extremely embarrassing, and emotionally triggering, and they would like it to stop.
Which is why the end of the Sanders campaign comes as such a relief for social liberals, especially for those in the mainstream media who have a “respectable” image to maintain. In order to justify shilling for Clinton, they have had to resort to some ridiculous tactics, like implying that Sanders and his supporters are racists, or that Sanders’ ideas (e.g. single-payer healthcare and free college tuition) are “unrealistic.” As any American who has spent time in Europe knows — I’ve lived in Berlin for close to twelve years now — most European countries provide these two things to their citizens and residents as a matter of course. And while Sanders clearly failed to connect with the majority of African Americans and Hispanics, incompetence doesn’t make one racist, or no more than average. It just makes one incompetent.
In any event, that’s all over now … or it will be soon, once Sanders concedes, and breaks the hearts of a lot of young Americans who were trying to play by the rules of the system … those whose faith in American democracy hadn’t already been crushed by Obama’s “Hope-and-Change” con. Which is sad, but … well, we can at least look forward to Hillary Clinton’s “Love-Trumps-Hate” thing, and to eight more years of corporate plutocracy dressed up as “historic progress.” Perhaps the Nobel Prize Committee will award her the Peace Prize for her “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” and … whatever.
Welcome to “reality,” kids.
(originally published in CounterPunch, June 14, 2016)
DISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our self-appointed political pundit and in-house satirist, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views or opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its management, staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns.