Ochen horosho, Donald, ochen horosho.
Ironic that “oychen horro(r) show” is an English speaker’s rough pronunciation of “ochen horosho” (trans: “very good”) in Russian, and likely the words Putin relates to his main minion (aka ‘main man’) right about now.
Let’s harken back to the private meeting held in Helsinki last July between Trump and Putin (and State Department interpreter Marina Gross—whatever happened to her?). Imagine that Trump attended primarily to learn at the feet of the master surefire methods to secure his true calling as great dictator. His first lesson: how to undermine institutions that uphold, or at least appear to uphold, the rule of law. In the US, upsetting the court system with a Supreme Court nominee who could knock the scales of justice off balance would rate high marks.
“With my big brain I can do this easy (sic)…” I can hear him assuring his mentor. However, his narcissism proceeds to trip him up, as usual. Rather than go for a Federalist Society pick and shoo-in, Trump goes for the candidate most resembling himself. An excellent judge of lack of character, Trump’s choices for cabinet posts, as well as personal relationships, will always come down to who is most willing to bend to his will. True to Brett Kavanaugh’s spineless nature, so perspicaciously noted by Trump, his Supreme Court nominee found a new political nadir to descend to on Thursday, opening his guts before the world in a display that will go down as one of the most personally demeaning spectacles of self-humiliation in our country’s history. Meanwhile Trump’s high-ranking toadies, Graham, McConnell, Grassley et al, joined in as back-up chorus, disgracing themselves in shocking and offensive ways. Think Ancient Rome, when entertainments designed to please the emperor Tiberius, that fat old satyr who refused to die, were choreographed in a similar fashion.
Now, return to our present-day games, where, in the centre ring, we witnessed a Supreme Court nominee sucking a donkey’s cock for hours, with an occasional beer break to wet his whistle. And while BK required timeouts to weep and rend his garments, other senators stepped in to lick frogs, bite heads off live chickens, or attempt versions of the Devil’s Triangle featuring sex with a woman, a man and a rattlesnake, all to keep the rabble pumped up and the old emperor sated.
I am drawing obvious historical parallels here. Rome goes from Republic to a line of emperors, each one more depraved then the last, until the empire falls. Russia endured aristocrats replaced by a Soviet republic and ultimately by the likes of Stalin—today we have a different type of dictator, one who is ruled by a few immensely rich oligarchs. Amerikanskii people? I don’t know US history well enough to know if you ever had a true democracy, but I can tell you that what you have now is a dictator-in-training ruled by an oligarchy similar to Russia’s, if not exactly the same one. Your dictator is, by the way, decompensating in front of your eyes, but that doesn’t seem to matter. It didn’t matter with Stalin either, so there’s something to be said for the cult of personality. In exploiting that, Putin has a few lessons to learn from Trump.
If the naked display of power at the Kavanaugh hearing didn’t demonstrate that you have no voice, that there is no justice, that your democracy is long gone—then nothing will. Especially when it’s iron-fisted to its foregone conclusion. I suppose it’s up to someone like me, a person born and bred in a dictatorship, to pry your eyes open to the awful truth. What does a dictatorship look like? It looks like America. In the last few days you the people have all, once again, been gang-raped.
I spoke only yesterday to a friend who grew up under similar circumstances as my own (different country, same authoritarian rule), and he said, “It’s more difficult for Americans than it is for us. When our dictator did something egregious we shrugged and got on with it, but Americans don’t realize is that the ruling elite care little to nothing about what they think. The rulers will do whatever they want and the people can bleat as much as they want, but ultimately in a dictatorship the rulers get their way. This is very painful for Americans, in a way it’s worse than what we experienced.”
I entirely agree, but as a woman I am aware of yet another significant element of oppression. My friend, a man, knows that dictatorships aren’t good for the peasants, but as a man he still enjoys the maleness advantage conferred by the patriarchy. Being a man, no matter how poor, stupid or ugly, puts you one rung higher on the power ladder than any woman in the same dictatorship. In any dictatorship. And it’s been that way for millennia.
We need a way to fight back, but to fight back effectively we must first get some things straight about living in a dictatorship. No more pretending.
First: There is a ‘they’—that is, a ruling elite, a small group of people with vast wealth and the desire to wield power over people, and then there is everyone else—we the people. The 99.9% vs. the .01%.
Second: Many of the ruling elite are profoundly different from us. To the point that they have become a full-on subspecies of their own; I call it Homo sapiens sociopathensis. Common physical traits make them easily identifiable. 1) They live a very long time regardless of unhealthy diets and appalling lifestyles. 2) Their complexions often run the spectrum of pasty-white to shades of mauve, magenta, crimson and other colours advertisers use to identify lipsticks. Note how the colours often bleed into one another on the canvas of single face. 3) They are loathsome in appearance, even when fully clothed. Undressing any one of them mentally could be life-threatening. I don’t advise it. 4) Their expressions are wooden, providing visual proof to an emotional range limited to anger and insufferable smugness. Between bursts of rage, their eyes offer only depthless pools of vacuity. 5) They are predominantly—but far from exclusively—men.
The sociopathic part? They may be elected officials and high-ranking executives, yet they lack a conscience. Sociopaths know right from wrong, but their narcissism prevents them from makings choices and decisions beneficial to anyone other than themselves. They lie without a second thought and have utter disregard for rules and the law.
Where we want health care for all, they do not. In fact, killing off sectors of the public in need—the old, the very young, the poor—may even be desirable from their point of view. These “superfluous” people simply take up space and are not worth the expense .
Where we want to save an ecosystem hurtling towards heat death, they do not. Instead, their preference is to stockpile natural resources for themselves to weather the coming storms. Ecosystem disasters further weed out excess population, so bring them on!
Where we might want to avert impending mass species extinction, they do not. They imagine that selective extermination will preserve them, because they are superior beings.
Where we might think an end to sexual abuse is a good thing, they do not. Indeed, sex linked with violence is the only way they’re satisfied. BK’s claims to virginity well into adulthood is credible since it speaks to a sexual pathology. Rapists rape because they can’t have normal sexual relations and must resort to violence to find fulfillment. His virgin remark suggests an abnormal linking of sex and violence happening early on in his psychosexual development. I am surprised no psychologist has thought to open this line of inquiry.
Where we might think treating refugees with dignity, especially children, is a given, they do not. Caging children is surely the most truly unmitigated evil of the all the evils this hideous dictatorship has imposed upon us, yet we still seem powerless to stop it. Remember folks, dictators are always pushing the limits to see what they can get away with. So, where are we? It’s not yet Hitler, and we’re far away from Pol Pot—but we’re getting closer every damn day.
Resist now. Recognize the sociopaths in office. For the sake of the children in cages, people at poverty level unable to afford medical care, and life-damaging environmental injustices, let’s fight back with increasingly strong numbers and collective resolve.