Independence Day, July 4th, 2020: this year an oxymoron commemorating freedom to infect others. How to celebrate a country self-captured and self-defeated first by its big pharma-induced opioid crisis mostly impacting lower economic caste victims and now by a mutating bio-virus intravenously self-injected with elected and appointed leaders using polarizing civic tissue and cell cultures?
A capitalist autocracy, liberal democracy no longer, that just reached 50,000 new coronavirus cases on a single day, well underway on a self-induced glide path to attain the Fauci-predicted 100,000 daily new cases benchmark. Partisan defined independence marked by red, white, and blue bunting competing with yellow crime scene barricade tape sequestering those dying and buried alone in overrun hospitals and cemeteries across the land.
“O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light”,
2.8 million Americans infected,
130,000 Americans prematurely dead,
Black bodies cut down by embedded racist, militarized policing.
A country of conservative evangelical protestant pulpits and partisan political echo chambers channeled by Murdochian-Mordor Fox News instructing its cult listeners that first the virus didn’t exist and then it would just go away. Misquoting the bible as constitution to impart that the fullest expression of personal freedom means the unalienable right not to wear a mask in the company of others no matter what health hazard outcome develops. Prosperity gospel transactional churches trading spirituality and moral responsibility algorithms for cash donations, sinning in unison until they can sin no more.
A country committing citizen kamikaze following the guidance of its White House and most hardcore red state “freedom-loving” governors starting with imperially smirking Marie Antoinette of South Dakota. A country without adequate or even coordinated PPE, testing, and tracing – each life loss meritocratically earned through prevarication, cowardice, and corruption on the field of leadership, trust, and honor. A country of premature commercial openings justified especially in red states whose previously defunded social services for purely ideological reasons now require more public treasure not to mitigate canceled culture but to dispose of canceled lives.
A country too poisoned by its own sanctimonious hypocrisy and false mythology, too drunk on its own culturally diluted and polluted manifest destiny Kool-Aid to sober up and get straight with itself. A country too internally self-weakened, polarized and distracted by “winners take all” campaign collaboration and most likely subsequent policy treason to prevent Putin’s Russia from twice destroying its electoral democracy while offering bounty payments to Afghanistan’s Taliban for dead American soldiers.
A country of corporate Ayn Rand and Frederick Hayek self-righteous wannabes so individually selfish to their monetizing technology ego-core that facilitating upfront manipulation of America’s business-prostitution economy is “second nature to them now, like breathing out and breathing in”. U.S. corporations voluntarily surrendering taxpayer-funded intellectual property, homegrown labor achievements and accumulated good will for privatized public profits flowing mostly to Shareholder Primacy Primates at their own country’s greatest expense. Played for fools by Xi’s China, willing to kowtow to anything and anyone for an extra buck.
Globally pitied for its delusional incompetence, the world’s self-proclaimed most powerful and indispensable nation lies supine and prostrate by the COVID-19 pandemic boot on its neck, in mass death more socially distanced from a successful nationwide healing resolution than ever. Five months away from whether the global community will witness another banana republic stolen and subverted election, America’s 45th oval office occupant, himself a virile “mobile Covid-19 hotspot” (Michelle Goldberg/NYT), serves as the material wealth envy Messiah for a political base growing poorer and more infected by the minute because “everything he touches dies”.
Meanwhile, the neo-confederate South parties on, line dancing and strip teasing suppression and repression in front of America’s highest judicial body to block easing voting restrictions in Alabama and voting by mail in Texas. Physically as well as morally sickened, failed states export their civic ”Cooties” to a malignant body politic where the sum of the defective parts mortally weakens the whole (https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/04/john-roberts-supreme-court-coronavirus-election-crisis.html).
“Making America Great Again” rings true for undertakers, health insurance companies, body bags and gun manufacturers, flower shops and drugstores selling consolation cards. America’s dystopic economy made real in the flesh. MAGA families without recourse, having already signed a campaign pay to play, “assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19” waiver, stare at kitchen table plateless place mats.
The country’s latest media pornography of grief holographs coronavirus victims offering socially distanced guidance and caution from the spirit world, killed in action for not wearing masks while shopping, beaching, barhopping, congregating, and attending presidential campaign political rallies. Betrayed by blindly trusted leaders, manipulated by misleading nostalgia symbolism, callously commoditized for someone else’s brand. The standard Hobbesian choice of either a good or environmentally safe job morphing into either a subsistence gig or coronavirus contagion. Even worse, the devil’s bargain either to wait in line as long as it takes to exercise the right to vote or abstention, remaining partially medically safer but wholly less free.
This July 4th’s illegal Mount Rushmore fireworks on sacred tribal badlands, those “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air”, so proudly “hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming”…”gave proof thru the night” that America’s heart and soul are not there, missing in action, lost in translation from principle to practice. Not even allowed anymore to escape beyond its own borders, the country is on global lockdown imposed by global edict. The world judges all Americans as unwanted tourists and illegal immigrants, medically unqualified to pass customs, babes in the pandemic woods staring behind the steel bars framing cramped cultural cages of their own making.
Michael A. Peck
July 4th, 2020
Locked down by full consent of the governed in Alexandria, Virgina