They’ll never learn

That Kamala Harris was chosen as Biden’s VP last week was not so much news as antinews. The absurdity of the Democratic convention is barely worth commenting on. The unbelievable strangeness and surreality of this moment is self-evident—but one thing struck me more than anything else watching the assemblage behind Biden (& Co) over the last week: these are all losers.

It’s a convention of losers: the losers who failed to remove Trump by shouting “Russia!”; the losers who failed to impeach him; losers who worked for Trump until they didn’t; losers who were forced out of the GOP because Trumpism left no room for their “respectable conservatism”—which just so happened to presage and create Trump; losers whose era of superficially progressive identity politics is long over. That’s what the Democratic Party is (manifested more than anything in its convention, held virtually): a big tent of losers.

So what makes one think they’re going to win?

It seems in the last week or so we (societal, media we) have collectively reevaluated this assumption—or at least have maybe begun to (or, well, maybe not)—in the face of Trump & Co’s increasingly brazen attempts to steal the election, coupled with that recent poll which showed Biden, despite the pandemic and literally everything else, polling merely four points above Trump. Or maybe it’s the fact that déjà vu is finally setting in and people are thinking: “wait, haven’t we done all this before?” I will self-centeredly note that I personally have consistently been extremely skeptical about Biden’s chances (do we not have any context?—can we not remember what happened merely 4 years ago, not to mention the world-shattering events of the last 4 months?) and am on record saying so.

For the briefest of moments in 2016, immediately after HRC’s loss, I thought the blatant delegitimization of the Democrats’ neoliberal program would be impossible for the “party” and their adjoining media apparatus not to face. How wrong I was; here we are, nearly four years later, doing it all over again.

They (the Democrats, et. al.) cannot do otherwise. It’s not in their DNA. We all know this, and we all know why: they are a confluence of corporate interests, contractually, constitutionally obligated to do as they do. (Which is what, exactly, if they perpetually lose? To play impotent foil to the Republicans, to keep the illusion of mass democratic participation alive?) This suggests, one might say, the impossible conceit of the Bernie program, the futility of “turning the party left,” and the ongoing impotence of the “progressive” (meaningless word, let’s discard it) attempt to shift the party; it cannot shift. They can only be what they are.

This is not an argument to vote or not vote, but frankly, this clown-show is not worth paying much attention to. They are marching off again, proudly ignorant as the Republicans, oblivious as ever.

“Consider the Greenland Shark” (Katherine Rundell)

“In​ 1606 a devastating pestilence swept through London; the dying were boarded up in their homes with their families, and a decree went out that the theatres, the bear-baiting yards and the brothels be closed. It was then that Shakespeare wrote one of his very few references to the plague, catching at our precarity: ‘The dead man’s knell/Is there scarce asked for who, and good men’s lives/Expire before the flowers in their caps/Dying or ere they sicken.’ As he wrote, a Greenland shark who is still alive today swam untroubled through the waters of the northern seas. Its parents would have been old enough to have lived alongside Dante; its great-great-grandparents alongside Julius Caesar. For thousands of years Greenland sharks have swum in silence, as above them the world has burned, rebuilt, burned again.”

read in the London Review of Books

hottest year

American Flowers Week