Blog post by Dominik Lenarcic
Content warning: Cynicism, Coronavirus (or the Rona for short), Donald Trump, and Leonard Cohen
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
The 2020 US presidential election was a mess. If I were in a particularly sour mood, I would call it a travesty of elephantine proportions. In this travesty we had to deal with constant incitements, verbal hiccups, question dodging and one-sided media coverage. Meanwhile, the spectre of the dreaded Rona hovered above it all. The first debate was, simply put, a disaster, and the following confrontations between the candidates were only better in the sense that they were an inexpensive alternative to sleeping pills – that is how predictable they were. That the stars of the debates would act inappropriately did not come as a surprise. The expected emergence of discourse around the Electoral College, the frankly outdated voting system of the US, also did not come as a surprise. They talked about how unfair it is as a system, but we all know that in a year we will just forget about it until the next election. And despite its unfairness the populace will once again vote for the lesser of two evils. The fight is fixed. Everybody knows that.
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking. Everybody knows that the captain lied.
Trump was losing his grip on the nation even before the Rona. George Floyd may not have been a saint, but he was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Violence ensued. One side pointed to the vast injustices still uncorrected. The other side turned a blind eye to the problems and continued its anti-leftist rhetoric. Violence continued. The words and actions of the president did nothing but make the problems worse. What’s that Mr. President? The second civil war is about to begin, and you would like to take a picture with a Bible? What an excellent idea, sir! Meanwhile, Biden shot himself in the leg by claiming that one is not black if they do not vote for the Democratic party. The elephant in the room (or on the streets), the duo of economic hardship and systemic injustice, went unaddressed. The country was divided for eternity. Everybody was talking to their pockets. Everybody knows that.
Everybody knows that the Plague is coming. Everybody knows that it’s moving fast.
The Rona finally hit the US in March. The country’s response and everything surrounding that response was truly something to behold. It seemed that the administration and its various echo chambers did everything in their power to worsen the epidemiological situation by exposing the vilest aspects of neoliberal capitalism. It does not matter if people die by the hundreds, we just need to make sure the shareholders stay happy. The wheels of our glorious machine need to keep turning at all costs. As if that was not bad enough, you had people from one camp comparing social distancing to communism. Free market good. Big government bad. Economic growth essential. Human life non-essential. The complete disregard for human life displayed by those people is straight out of an outlandish satire from a stage. The scene is dead. Everybody knows that.
Everybody knows that you’re in trouble. Everybody knows what you’ve been through.
In some ways, the travesty of the 2020 US presidential election was the perfect send-off for this abysmal year. It was a non-sensical and yet a depressingly predictable charade of an event filled with uncivilised words spoken and questionable decisions made, topped off with a faint glimmer of light at the end of the rancid tunnel. And even that light is muffled by the realisation that it is still not quite over. The pandemic still ravages the land. Trump continues to be a sore loser. Biden will be a better president than him. To be honest, standards are at their lowest. I do not think it is all coming apart. But optimism’s corpse is staring to rot. Everybody knows that.
It is astounding how timeless this song really is.
Cohen, L. and Robinson S. (1988). Everybody Knows. On I’m Your Man. New York, New York City, US: Columbia Records.