Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant!
How does the Gladiator’s Salute relate to a standout track from Steve Earle’s 1990 MCA contract-fulfillment live album Shut Up and Die Like an Aviator (and earlier Copperhead Road studio effort) in any way that ties into a WPT header essay-worthy topic?
Reductivism coupled with rccursion. See, both the salutation and the title amount to spitting into the eye of Death, which amounts to what the Trump administration and Republican Congress has done since Jan. 20, 2017. Then, you confront the reality of false promises. Gladiators rarely fought to death; they killed prisoners instead of each other. The huckster quoted in Earle’s song outright beseeches his gathering of rubes, “If you ain’t impressed yet, tell me what ya wanna hear.”
Which drives home the actual point that despite the falsehoods someone does die, someone does gets fleeced, and someone does benefit from cruelty and fraud. And if “someone dies, someone gets fleeced, and someone benefits from cruelty and fraud” does not succinctly summarize U.S. federal policy and lawmaking over the past 11 months in 12 words, nothing ever will.*
The tax bill with a 99 percent chance of becoming law next week literally robs working and lower middle-class citizens to shovel money into the bank accounts of billionaires, but the Republicans sell the systemic theft with a burner website called — no lie — “Paycheck President.” No one buys it, as confirmed by the plan polling at 26 percent support nationwide on the day the actual text got dumped at 5:30 pm on a Friday.
Signing the bill into law will result directly in the early and undignified demise of several million Americans because it guts health care in numerous ways. It also all but guarantees a Democratic wave election in November 2018, which loomed anyway. McConnel knows he has this one last shot; Ryan plans to cut and run; McCain and Cochran will actually pass away, probably before year’s end. They know they have nothing to lose, so they decided to go down in blazes of glory while bringing the temple down around them.**
Spiraling out from the Capitol, one detects the nihilism of the current U.S. regime in everything from radically shrinking the Bears Ears and Escalante national monuments in Utah to permit the resumption of economically needless, environmentally racist, and deadly uranium mining to ramming through federal appeals court judges who know nothing about trial procedure despite the hard fact that an appeals court judge does almost nothing but rule on the appropriateness of trial procedure. And let no one forget that the current secretaries or administrators or directors of numerous departments and agencies devoted their previous careers to shutting down the organizations they now head.***
A final shaped charge strapped onto a keystone of liberal democracy and republican democracy has appeared with the imposition of real, honest-to-Baal Newspeak. Science agencies cannot write reports using terms such as “warming” or “climate change.” Budget writers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must replace every instance of “fetus” with “future Trump voter.”^
So use your internet while you still can to rage and rail here before doing more necessary work in real life to end all the madness. After all, [however you say, “Determined to live, we say ‘Fuck you!'” in Latin].
*Uvular pats self on back. Does not quit while ahead.
**Hadn’t mixed a metaphor yet. Got antsy. For the record, no one equates to Samson in this scenario.
***Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Education, Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Interior, others.
^Probably. The Washington Post article sickened and angered Uvular too much to allow him to finish reading it.