Duplicity and Schadenfreude: The reality of modern America


Duplicity and Schadenfreude: The reality of modern America.

Gary William Hallford

As the political horror show in Washington, D.C. devolves into a bizarre cross between “Game of Thrones” and “Hee-Haw”, the American public has lost control of the government which is supposed to serve the citizenry.

The dictionary definitions of Democracy and Republic provide a concept of the ideals that a republic and a democracy are supposed to entail: ”A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.” (Republic); “A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” (Democracy). Those ideals have been usurped by some form of classist, income based, Plutocracy, defined as such: “A country or society governed by the wealthy.” These realities are blatantly obvious to any attentive observer.

Throughout human history those with economic means often become the controllers of the economic factors the remaining members of said society become dependent on within this economy. Whether or not the rulers have compassion for their dependents varies considerably for a plethora of reasons, some of which may provide a plausible rationale for the living conditions of the masses. Conversely, often greed and self-interest are the primary motivations of these plutocrats, resulting in the vast majority owning no real property or other tangible tender to stave off starvation or indebtedness which eliminates possible future security. Therefore, this is an age-old problem.

In the current American debacle, we are witnessing an absurdity beyond measure. President Donald Trump became elected primarily due to the electorate having no faith in Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) using pre-selected “Super Delegates” which had more power than the voters. This fiasco alienated many voters, and even though Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote, she lost in the electoral college, an ancient device created to empower individual states (thisweek.com).

The debate over electoral college existence continues, but the current crisis in the White House is palpable. Many Representatives and Senators have been considering impeachment for such a wide range of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that creating a cognizable list of Mr. Trump’s impeachable offenses could resemble the length of Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past”, but if you also include members of his cabinet and personal inner circle, the list of charges would more likely resemble the Encyclopedia Britannica. But this is where it gets even more complicated: if there is an impeachment and Donald Trump is removed from office, who takes his place? The line of Presidential succession is as such: #1. Vice President Mike Pence; #2. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; #3. President pro tempore of the Senate Chuck Grassley; #4. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; #5. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin; #6. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan; #7. Attorney General William Barr; and the next slots, #8 to #17 are assorted presidential cabinet officials. Some may not qualify for the Presidency, but this is the potential roster for who would take Trump’s place if he were to leave or be removed from office.

Of the list noted in the previous paragraph, all are extremely polarizing individuals. Mike Pence is a devout evangelical Christian; Nancy Pelosi is the sole Democrat on the list, but alienates many due to centrist policies and seemingly to always have a personal agenda; Chuck Grassley essentially parrots whatever the Republican party and his President want him to say; Mike Pompeo is a former C.I.A. chief and appears to be more hawkish than his position would dictate; Steve Mnuchin is a banking executive now overseeing the regulatory agency governing them; Patrick Shanahan is only an acting Secretary of Defense, but spent 30 years at Boeing; William Barr has violated the law by refusing a subpoena (washingtonpost.com), which is a criminal offense; and the majority of other cabinet members are deeply involved in the industry or circumstance they are supposed to be governing. If President Trump is actually impeached who is the most, or some may say least, acceptable of these potential candidates?

One thing is for certain: the 2020 election and the 2021 Oath of Office ceremony are now extremely interesting.


In text references: