Persistence of Time
By Michael Melchor – 04.03.2017
The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.
For whom the bell tolls, is that the way the story goes? 85% believing all the videos. For those that remember me writing online way back around the time Charles Guiteau shot President Garfield at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station, you may remember me using introductions very similar to that. In fact, I could have sworn I’ve used that line for an intro at some point, but damned if I can find it out there in the world wide web. That’s okay, though. I probably didn’t mean it as much or in the way that I do now.
Because it’s that quote from one of my favorite Public Enemy songs that symbolizes, to me, how we’re in the political situation we’re in. It’s not the only reason Donald Trump became the 45th President, but it certainly is one of them.
No matter how much people loved or (especially) hated him, they couldn’t shut up about him. Trump is famous for a reason. He knows how to play the game. That shrewdness and his ego – the desire to be the center of attention – led him to the White House. No matter what facts were out there, they didn’t matter. Hell, the man was caught on tape suggesting we grab women by the pussy and still got elected!
He did it because he played the fame game, which is what matters nowadays. It’s not about truth, it’s about volume. And during this election, no one broadcast louder than Donald Trump.
Another thing that got him elected may be disheartening to some, but may also come as a relief a generation or two from now. Because that’s when opponents of Trump and what he stands for (in public, anyway) may get their wish. In vomiting all over Twitter and giving the media an endless source of
income–wait, outrage–dammit, I meant stories, sorry – Trump managed to tap into a wellspring of people who don’t like things have gone.
The Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage. Religion isn’t the sacred cow it once was. Things have progressed since the 50s, but Trump has galvanized the folks who want Ozzie and Harriet back. They’re tired of having their values trampled on and they’re not gonna take anymore! So, they latched on to the guy who (convinced them that he) felt the way they did.
So now, conservatives have control of not just the White House, but the Capitol building as well. All is, in their minds, as it should be. We should be going back to the “good ol’ days” any moment now.
Except we’re not. Those that were around in the 1980s remember thinking back to the 1950s as a bygone era. The same way we reflect on Ronald Reagan and Oliver North today. In the eyes of millennials, the ’50s may as well be the Jurassic era. The heyday of Iran-Contra and Nicaragua is probably seen as the Cretaceous period.
Each generation progresses farther and faster. That’s been the course of human history from jump. With the prevalence of Twitter and Facebook, social change has already multiplied exponentially. Leslie Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos both can attest to how far things have come and how much this generation will and won’t tolerate when it comes to how many choose to apply the values of a “bygone era.”
With services like Snapchat and Instagram now joining the party, that mentality will only grow as the old guard is phased out with the passage of time. The same technology was used by Trump to seize the moment will also fuel the changing values of the world and render the current administration as a bump in the road in the eyes of history. A last gasp for both Ozzie and Harriet.
The progress that’s been made has come too far to be stopped by an egomaniacal reality TV star and a goof troop of legislators out to line their pockets with their constituents’ beliefs. That greed and self-serving is already toppling what some see as a house of cards. It’s also one of many reasons that what we’re witnessing now is the last grasp of power by old, rich white guys.
The operative word there is “old.” Many lawmakers aren’t spring chickens. Trump himself turns 71 this year. Human beings do have a certain life expectancy (Jeanne Calment notwithstanding). No one’s talked about wanting to do Trump like Guiteau did Garfield yet (Madonna notwithstanding), which is a good thing. But no matter if it’s Donald Trump, Louise Slaughter or any of us, time will catch up to us all sooner or later.
None of us are immortal. Many who realize that want to keep their power as long as they can. They’re not afraid to rally – and dupe – the sheep to keep it. Time marches on, as do generations. The ones that spurred on progress will be the ones in power soon enough and the ones in power will fade. No amount of spin doctoring, attention whoring, social media mastery or yelling can change that fact.