Wednesday, February 19, 2020

We Weren't Waiting for Bloomberg

“You must go on. I can't go on. I'll go on.”
― Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable

The political slog right now feels like Waiting for Godot. We're waiting. We're always waiting for The Dude. But Godot will not be coming tonight, though he will surely come tomorrow. You know what? He ain't coming.

Samuel Beckett.
Photo Jane Bown, The Guardian
That cheerfully bitter Irishman Samuel Beckett wrote Waiting for Godot. It's bleak, but it's also funny.  It's what I've heard called "the black Irish mood," where there's also always uproarious laughter. The Beckett quote above is not from Godot, but it might as well be. Some days during this season of discontent I think I can't stand it any more -- the full blossoming of Twitterman's lawless and unaccountable power-bender in the White House, that plus the left's incessant, habitual, not to forget suicidal bashing of fellow Democrats as if they are enemies and not in fact coalitional allies -- sometimes I want to turn off all screens, change the locks, and light out for the territory. Say goodbye to political science, and even voting, in some new Crystal City.

But I'll go on. I can't go on. You must go on.

Seeing three current and former mayors of Raleigh endorse Mike Bloomberg seems like Beckett-style absurdity. It adds to my fund of experience a kind of bumfuzzled acknowledgement of the contemporary reality: Money trumps everything. The world of tomorrow demands cash. Nothing else matters. Not history. Not mindset. Not proclivity. Democrats began selling out to Wall Street decades ago. Now embracing the likes of Mike Bloomberg.

Bloomberg's relentless TV spending convinces even some of my close friends that he is The One to successfully pound Trump into atoms. I think that's the main attraction. Most Democrats of whatever brand like seeing Trump roughed up, called out, pinned on the autopsy table. Even I can be appreciative that there's this real billionaire who has the unlimited funds to run all those attack ads against Trump. But put another rich man in charge of the Republic? I don't care he's good on climate change and gun control. I cannot believe he is the man to reform structural inequality. He's not the one I've been waiting for.

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