Black Sun (The Anomaly) is my newest project. Initially, I wrote two sentences here, all of the text that would accompany this project. But I felt it needed more and so, at just past midnight, I started to write that something more. The photographs should enlarge if you click on them.
Tomorrow is Election Day and “breaking point” isn’t quite the right phrase.
With “breaking point” I think of a branch, bending and bending in your hands, the arc ever-increasing until with a snap it breaks, an upside-down “U” now an upside-down “V.” Things break and then there is nothing.
“Inflection point” doesn’t work. A phrase borrowed from calculus, it suggests a subtle change from one thing to the next, the ramifications of that change to be made clear only through the course of time. Inflection points are more easily seen by later historians.
“Tipping point?” It’s a buzzword like you’d see in the business management literature, a field so very full of buzzwords. It’s a balancing act gone wrong, a refrigerator on a hand truck titled back to the limit of its self-correction and then just beyond that limit. Suddenly the weight is upon you as the balance fails, a great struggle to regain that equilibrium.
“Critical mass” results in an explosion. “Crossing a threshold” takes you from one world-state to the next. “Reaching a boiling point” implies it is harder to get much worse (since under normal conditions water will be two-twelve Fahrenheit at sea level no matter how long you boil it or how high the burner).
You know, I can see their point. They’ve been ignored, made fun of, taken for granted. I caricaturize them as “the white guy in Ohio” but it’s really an economic class more than a racial identity. It’s all the blue-collar workers, dumb schmucks, who didn’t go to college and if they did it certainly wasn’t Harvard. They don’t have an E-Trade account and they might have a 401k but they couldn’t tell you the difference between a bond and a stock nor why you should care. They eat Doritos out of the bag and watch broadcast TV and buy American and have never been in a Tesla.
In this day of identity hyper-sensitivity you can still make fun of them, call them racists, sight unseen, because they are white and live in one of those states that you don’t want to live in. They got screwed during the Great Recession, yet again, and they didn’t get bailed out, and they have five hundred dollars in savings, and their houses go up two percent a year and that is the right and natural order of things. It was the same for their parents and will be the same for their kids, incremental advances, things are always getting better all the time, except for the setbacks which come now with great frequency.
They can see us now, can see me here in California, with my property tax bill larger than their mortgage. They can see us and hear us sneering at them, at their infantile fear of dark-skinned people, at their perverted love of guns, at the hick unsophistication of their church-going.
I get it. I do.
Yet here we are, the day before the election and we are talking amongst ourselves, both Republicans and Democrats, about whether our democracy is endangered, whether something is happening now that will signal the end of whatever it was we had before and the start of this new thing, which no one wants. It’s just happening, everyone acting in their self-interest as good little capitalists bewildered by the creative destruction of our society’s institutions.
I called my mom earlier today. Her elderly friend, who was never interested in elections before, is worrying herself nauseous over the outcome of this one. It is the Great Team Sport of our time and you can’t debate anyone on the other side because all they shout is their political version of “go team, go.” They are wrong and we are right no matter what they say.
Liberals have their crazies and we don’t think too carefully about our paramilitary groups and we eat our young. But something really is wrong, so very wrong, over on the other side.
On the same call to my mom she mentioned another group of her friends who are voting for Trump since they are Republicans. I laughed with my mom. Republicans are the shipwreck survivors of the modern political age, a seemingly ever-enduring vessel suddenly foundering, sabotaged from within, former passengers drag-staggering out of the surf and onto the rocky shore, not comprehending that their ship is gone.
Talk show hosts of the Conservative Movement ridicule Republicans who haven’t adopted the Tea Party fanaticism as RINOs—Republicans in Name Only–mocking them with the fact of the Tea Party’s RINO-ism.
Every day I feel we are getting weaker, too, consumed with battles over symbols, still forgetting about those workers who used to be the sturdy backbone of our progressivism, antagonizing them in our Twitter-quest for empty victories that we share with our friends in real-time.
The election is tomorrow but we won’t have a winner. Trump, having encouraged his supporters to vote on Election Day in order to have their votes more quickly counted, may be ahead on the television by bedtime. By Wednesday he may have declared victory, pointing to the shifting numbers as the mail-in vote is counted as proof-positive of fraud and a coup. His supporters know that chaos brings opportunity and they will act. Their opponents, anticipating the action, will act as well. Somehow in the smoke and unidentified soldiers on the streets and with an electoral college that no one understands, not deep down like we should, and with competing narratives and talking heads and lies and confusion, we need our democracy to make it through.
Trump wins by winning the vote or Trump wins in the blackness of his own resistance. He becomes president or a shadow president, a political TV star, a modern Max Headroom demagogue at last. He has only the one road to follow to whichever outcome. Trump is a winner, always.
Meanwhile I’m thinking of moving but there is nowhere to go. I’m thinking of doing something but there is nothing to do. I’m thinking of saying something but there isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said.
I just watch and wonder at it all.