International Policy Digest

Photo illustration by John Lyman
U.S. News /15 May 2020
05.15.20

America the Suicidal

Maybe it is time to retire “America the Beautiful” folks. That description no longer fits us. There has been nothing beautiful about America for the past three years and it does not look like there will be anything beautiful about it for some time to come. How about “America the Hateful”? Granted not all Americans are hateful, but we have a president brimming with hate, and it would be a good bet that millions of us hate somebody, or something, these days. “America the Stupid”?

Not all of us are living in a fool’s paradise, but those who are have the upper hand. The president wants to open schools right away. But do we really need schools when ignorance is worshipped, and know-nothingism is the coin of the realm? A steady diet of Fox News will give the kids all the “facts” they need to know. “America the Delusional”? Sounds a bit better than “stupid.” In order to be delusional, you must have at least some functioning brain cells. No, still not right.

“Suicidal,” how about that? Sounds cool and clinical. You don’t have to be stupid or hateful or even delusional to be suicidal. But what if you’re suicidal and don’t know it? Or refuse to believe it? That would be more like “clueless.” I am going to stick with “suicidal” because suicide is what America is currently committing. So far as I know Americans have the right to commit, or at least attempt, suicide, but they surely do not have the right to kill others in their enthusiasm to do so. That would be more like mass murder. During my hard-partying college days, a popular toast was “Drink ‘till You Die!” These days it should be “Drink ‘till They Die!” The “they” being a random selection of other people who may include, but not be limited to, your parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers, friends, classmates, and perhaps even your current boyfriend.

All of which brings us to Wisconsin. The first of our fifty states to openly and legally embrace suicide. I grew up in neighboring Minnesota, so I used to think I understood Wisconsin. That it was pretty much like Minnesota but with beer for 18-year-olds and better cheese. Not quite as liberal as Minnesota, but the home of the Progressive Lafollette brothers. The founders of the Progressive Party and the stomping grounds of “Tail gunner” Joe McCarthy? That should have tipped me off to the true nature of Wisconsin, but I was young and thoughtless, so it didn’t…then.

Now I see the light. Wisconsin is the Schizophrenia State. No not Schlitz, Schiz. The good, respectable Progressive folks in Madison have been trying to keep the dreaded family disease secret, but now it has gotten loose and is running amok. Just look at the horrifying results. Milwaukee with a grand total of five polling places in the recent primary election. That should have been the canary in the coal mine. Daring voters to risk their lives to cast their ballots? Who says Jim Crow was confined to the post-Reconstruction South? Now Old Jimbo’s alive and well in the Badger State. Alive, well, and aided by four State Supreme Court Justices who should be wearing hoods and white robes instead of black ones. Is there another “Tail Gunner Joe” out there hiding in the woods ready to take up the banner of cockeyed conspiracy theories? Or are all the “Joes” already in the State Legislature?

But I’m being too hard on Wisconsin. Other states will soon be joining their “victory” party. Many state legislators and state judges are already hard at work supported by the Republican National Committee and rightwing PACs seeking ever more creative ways to keep the “wrong” people from voting. Trump and all Republican candidates know that they cannot win if all eligible voters cast their ballots. He even admits it publicly. The South Will Rise Again! Or at least its old racist political system will rise again. In Wisconsin. And not only in Wisconsin. But what if the coronavirus kills off the “right” people? Surely all the youngish party animals taking their inebriated “victory laps” on the TV news will survive the “fake” pandemic…or will they? What about the flabby AR-15 toting shock troops besieging state capitol buildings? Or the grey-haired guys and gals with the MAGA hats standing behind the Prez at his now “temporarily suspended” pep rallies? What if those mouthy “experts” and “scientists” are right, and Rush Limbaugh is wrong? What if the coronavirus is not a Democrat plot designed to make Our Dear Leader look bad?

But never fear, Trump lovers. Better days are just around the corner. The Fourth Quarter’s gonna’ be great! Until that time let all true brave “victorious” Americans party on until the bill for their partying comes due and must be paid for in blood. “Drink ‘till You Die!” America the Suicidal.