Welcome to The Way of The World

There’s a throwaway scene in the 2019 Romanian documentary Collective, where the country’s new Minister of Health is watching a news show on television, and, at a podium, the mayor of Bucharest is denouncing the decision made by the administration to send patients to Vienna for transplant surgeries, and not maintain the patients in Romania and perform the surgeries locally. In the scene just prior to it, too, a “journalist” stood at a press conference and combatively raised more or less the same issue with the minister, not because she sought a response, but obviously to make him look foolish and destroy his credibility. Basically, everyone’s trying to brand the guy a f— up, and convince the public that he and his department are a bunch of liars and sh–heads.

Now, this particular point raised by these two women has absolutely nothing to do with the actual plot of the film, which was about exposing and then fighting massive state corruption within the healthcare system. Of which the new minster was at the fore. Of fighting.

Funny thing is, by this point in the film, everyone watching has been able to very clearly see, by all the evidence that’s accumulated and mounted, that not just the local government but the nationally popular Social Democratic Party (of which the mayor is a member) is so mired in and malignant with corruption—and the decision not to send patients abroad for their surgeries had been made by those very same corrupt politicians and administrators—that you get the feeling you’re watching some kind of half-assed fictional film drama, and the mayor’s character (or anyone like her) is written to be so evil that she can’t even see the forest of bullshit for the bullshit of trees in her way, and that she has to keep dodging them but also get her opponent to ram his speeder bike into them and die first, Return-of-the-Jedi-style.

But it’s not fiction.  It’s a real-time documentary film. 

You slowly begin to realize: this is how the world of politics works.  The world of politics which, of course, runs everything in the world. 

Therefore, it’s how the entire world works.

The elected and powerful officials know only one thing when confronted with challenges and cracks to their power—regime, empire, party, junta, cabal, whatever.  F—ing lie about everything to everyone, straight-faced, even regarding issues, points or facts about which you know nothing, and rabidly attack the credibility and character of anyone who asks you about those cracks, or anyone (like an inspector or public safety group, say) who walks up to them with a flashlight and says, “No, see, these are cracks.  Right here.  This isn’t a sound structure.”

It’s a rule as old as politics itself.

And perhaps the most disturbing thing about it?  It’s going on right now, 2023, in the United States and elsewhere. 

For the fourth time (fourth time), former president Donald J. Trump got backhanded with a multi-count indictment for doing something stupid where he had a witness to see it, sometimes a recording device, and, for the second time, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan sent a vaguely threatening letter to the relevant prosecutor’s office, telling them the committee (he) would now like to review their records, to view to what ends they’ve interacted with federal agencies and special counsels, because, in this way, the committee will best be able to engage in a largely well-known practice on Capitol Hill known as “retaliation”. 

You think Jim Jordan thinks with a clear and rational head?  This is the same man who, when asked in an interview about Trump telling lies in public, said he’d never heard one come from the man.  Ever.  A Washington Post article from early 2021 would say otherwise.  30,000 some, by their count.  And that was just while he was president. 

Same thing in the state legislature of Georgia.  In an exercise of irony obviously lost on a stuffed-shirt, monkey-doesn’t-see-or-hear-but-does-what-it-wants-to body of supermajority, career politicians, lawmakers in the state are now trying to fire DA Fani Willis for being too political.  Because she charged someone whom a grand jury indicted, after the grand jury saw much of the same evidence we all did, and would have done exactly the same thing.  Assuming we weren’t wearing the same tinfoil hat Jim Jordan wears when no one’s looking.  With ‘I ♥ Donald Trump’ scribbled on the inside of it.

They don’t have to worry, though—you can’t fire the entirety of a lower chamber for doing things in the name of politics.  Or interfering with perfectly-legal legal matters in the Fulton County office of the district attorney.  Especially when they rule with authoritative impunity on their side.

Speaking of corruption and backwards politics: Russia.  Again.  Aside from the bullying a much smaller country who just wanted to be left the hell alone because of—I don’t know (does anyone?)—racism, fanaticism, politics, greed, madness, Stalinism, the Putin regime has been doing the same sh– for 20 years now.  We won’t have to go down the list of high-and-low-level Russians Putin has so very, very likely hamstrung or ordered killed because they opposed him, we’ll just give two of the most recent: Alexei Navalny and Yevgeny Prigozhin.  Poor Navalny made his first string of world headlines when he tasted Russian poison in Germany in August, 2020, and now he’s just had his bogus, crimeless sentence increased to 19 years by a Russian court, simply because he was (and still is) Putin’s biggest political threat.  And Prigozhin finally got what everyone was thinking out loud he’d get after publicly double-crossing Putin and Russia’s war machine: a fiery plane crash (or bomb explosion or car crash or car explosion) straight to hell. 

Elsewhere in the world, we’re seeing it: In the run-up to the presidential election in Guatemala, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has been going down the line of candidates, pointing their (I’m assuming) gold-ring-laden, bony fingers, going, “Nope, nope, nope, nope,” knocking out one after the other so those candidates can’t interfere with the country’s well-heeled political establishment.  The ironic thing is, the candidate that emerged from nearly the bottom, and who currently stands as its president-elect, is about as anti-establishment as they could have possibly feared, the son of former progressive president Juan José Arévalo, a gentleman named Bernardo Arévalo.  And, of course, almost immediately after winning, he began weathering a legal challenge to the existence of his own political party by another Guatemalan court, who evidently has the right to do it, and who obviously doesn’t want the dirty, corrupt establishment to change hands to a pair of cleaner ones.

Same thing in China, although you get a lot less public information out of those tight-necked dictators in forced smiles and suits.  Needless to say, high-level-or-high-profile individual after individual being dismissed or temporarily disappeared by the Chinese Communist Party does beg the question, “Those people got something to say, don’t they?  And that something is critical of your authority, isn’t it?  And the best way to stay in power, to keep people brainwashed, is not just to smear them, but to make them disappear from the public eye, and strong arm them into changing whatever tune they began singing to your disapproval.”

Okay, fine.  That’s all well and good, you say.  Politics, you say.  That’s the way things work, you say, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. 

Not so fast, I say. You want to be a woman and go to Antarctica, and then have recourse after being sexually assaulted? You want to be a female member of the armed forces who needs an abortion? You want to report a toxic workplace to your human resources department in Hollywood? You want to pass a ginger mint to your mom during a ballot count? Or be any kind of whistleblower, and not get an inordinate amount of flak for it? Outside the political realm?

Without retaliation by the people in charge because all they believe in is abusing power to keep themselves in their positions of authority, whoever they may be?

Forget it. 

Welcome to the way of the world.