The Central Issue of Late 2024, Early 2025

by Shelt Garner

So, the idea of having exclusively in person voting is something that apparently has enthralled Trumplandia-in-exile. Such fascist thinking combined with their Schedule F idea where they want to fire everyone in the government who doesn’t agree with them politically, may be the type of shit that pushes America to the breaking point.

And, really, it’s shit like that which will decide if we become an autocracy or have a civil war. Will Blue States be willing to bend a knee to fascism like the type described above, or will they not?

I just don’t know. At the moment, I would say, yes, they will bend a knee to fascism and we’ll just turn, eventually, into a political clone of Russia. But, who knows. We have two years yet. It could go either way.

What Does ‘Woke’ Mean?

by Shelt Garner

Because the “woke cancel culture mob” has become such a massive abstract fear on the part of Traditionalist conservatives, and the idea of “wokeness” has been demagogued a great deal, it’s rather difficult to come up with a coherent definition of “to be woke.”

It really boils down to if you watch a lot of Fox News or not. If you watch a lot of Fox News, then your definition probably is something like:

Woke: the idea that all white, straight Christians — especially men — are evil and as such everyone should be Godless, gay and take their toddlers to drag shows.

Think of this as the “Red Pill” definition. This is the definition that is loosely used by Ben Shapiro and other leading conservatives.

Meanwhile, here’s the definition I would use.

Woke: a tendency to conspicuously note that America is browning and while acknowledging an increasing acceptance of LGBQ individuals in American society.

This is a far more accurate description of what “woke” means. But, of course, everyone wants easy, pat explanations to the complicated problems facing America. So, I don’t know what to tell you. Either you’re “Red Pilled” or you’re not.

The Greatest Story Never Told

by Shelt Garner

I used to think that great stories would somehow find a way to be told and now I don’t think that’s true anymore. Though, in fairness, I am using the greatest story I know as inspiration for a six novel series. So, I guess, in a sense it is being told — just not in the way I always thought it would be.

But the story I’m thinking about — what happened with me and Annie Shapiro in Seoul while we were working on our little expat rag ROKon Magazine — would be a great character study for someone at, say, The New Yorker to write about.

It was all so long ago that many of the main figures are dead or strone about by the four winds. But you could probably find enough people involved to tell what happened all those many moons ago. The passions associated with the magazine are long gone and you might get people who otherwise wouldn’t talk to you, to talk to you. (After they stopped laughing about how anyone would care about the short life of a zine in Seoul.)

So, I think I’m probably getting the best I’m going to get on this front. I’m using what I personally remember from those days to write a six novel series that ostensibly has nothing to do with what happened when I was in Asia, but actually is directly connected to it.

And any continued hope that the literal story of what happened with the magazine will ever be told says more about my lack of closure, long after everyone else has moved on, more than anything else.

American Politics Is Dead. (Now What?)

by Shelt Garner

It’s all over but the shouting when it comes to traditional American life. Either we slip into autocracy and cranks like me get shot in the back of the head by ICE, we have a civil war, or some sort of military junta is established.

That’s it. Those are our choices. There is no middle ground and — at least in my own family — politics is now dead. We never talk about politics because there’s a greater than zero chance that either someone is going to scream or someone is going to burst into tears.

So, this is it.

All that has to be sorted out is the details. Will MAGA Republicans take the House and how many times will they impeach Biden and Harris if they do? Will there be a Constitutional Convention? How many people will die in late 2024, early 2025 when we sort out which direct we’re ultimately going to go as a nation?

In other words, we are totally and completely fucked. There is no going back, no hope, not anything. All I can advise you is to get the fuck out of the country if you can. If you can’t — like me — then figure out what you believe in. The “woke” era is about to end violently with either a civil war, a military junta or ICE agents killing the types of people who would care about what their fucking pronouns are.

We’re completely fucking doomed. Totally. There is no middle ground. Pick a side or a side will be chosen for you. If you have any faith in our political institutions as this point, you’re a fool.

Why I’m Right

by Shelt Garner

The only way I’m wrong and we don’t either have a civil war, turn into an autocracy or have some sort of military junta is something I just can’t predict. Something really big that would either unite the country long enough to punt our problems down the road or might somehow allow a Democrat to overcome the corruption around the administration of elections so they can get into power peacefully.

Otherwise, we’re fucked.

And, at the moment, it definitely seems as though of the three options, autocracy is it. What I mean by “autocracy” in this context is such a significant change in our government in that wealthy liberals begin to flee the country in the millions — they vote with their feet. People stop voting. The Constitution gets changed — or DeSantis simply becomes Speaker of the House after his eight years as POTUS are done.

That definitely seems to be our fate at this point. And, as I keep saying, the wildcard is Trump. He is so bonkers and says “the quiet part out loud” that he unto himself, could start a civil war.

But I will be really, really shocked if that happens. We’re more likely to have a military junta than a civil war at this point. But, who knows. Anything is possible.

The Real Reason Why National Service Would Never Work Now

by Shelt Garner

I’ve long believe that National Service would fix most, if not all, of America’s modern problems. If every 18 year old no matter what gender was forced to interact with people outside of their comfort zone, then that would do wonders for keeping the country together.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that window of opportunity has past. If National Service had been enacted in, say, 1993, then, yes, by now, we would be in a lot better shape. We would all be on the same page culturally and we would all agree on what it meant to be “American.”

Yet, now, it’s too late.

The real reason for National Service is, of course, sort of light touch indoctrination. And that’s why trying it now wouldn’t work. What Blues would want to be the indoctrination would be totally different than want the Reds would want. And, ultimately, because Reds are ascendant, they would game the system such that they would cram all those young minds with visions of an autocratic Christian ethnostate.

So, it’s over. I don’t have any solutions for you. We either turn into an autocracy or we have a civil war– or maybe have a military junta. But, Something Big and Bad is going to happen between now and spring 2025.

It’s only a matter of what it is.

‘When All Else Fails, Start WW3’

by Shelt Garner

You see a lot of dumb hot takes on the Left about how people have been complaining about “effeminate” men and “masculine” women since dirt. And all of that is very true. And, yet, a part of me thinks that most of the social problems facing America would be solved by, I don’t know, bringing back the Draft.

Or, more specifically — unisex National Service.

This will never happen, of course, because the fucking GQP MAGA Republicans know that National Service would probably close the tap on ignorant, crazed young white men wanting to join their deranged movement. So if something like National Service ever happens, it’s going to be the Draft and it’s going to be because of either a civil war or WW3 or a combination of the two.

The reason why a Draft would fix a lot of America’s problems is one, it would force people from all over the country to have to deal with each other in the real world. It would give even the poorest white boy in West Virginia something akin to the college experience where they might have to bunk near a dude from New York City.

But also, it would force young people to face an existential choice in their late teens and early 20s. They would no longer have the luxury of worrying about their fucking pronouns, or safe spaces, or micro aggressions or whatever fucking dumb thing the “woke cancel culture mob” has come up with of late. The very real prospect of being cannon fodder would focus their minds on concrete things like getting married, having babies and just surviving long enough to get stuff like that.

Excuse me, I’m feeling old and crabby.

It just seems to me that a lot of the things that are so important to the “woke cancel culture mob,” the things that the Right harps on and what is so corrosive to the country as a whole will no longer be important when we either become an autocracy or we have a civil war. When you’re struggling to survive on a day to day basis that does tend to focus the mind.

I thought maybe the pandemic would do the trick, but it wasn’t bad enough, it wasn’t apocalyptic enough. It was too easy for the two sides to spin the reality of the pandemic for their own crass, shorterm political needs. But if WW3 or a civil war happened, well, that would be a different matter altogether. I don’t want a civil war or WW3 to happen — obviously — but it sure would force fucking Leftists to pull their heads out of their smug asses.

The Rise Of White Identity Politics & The Destruction of America

by Shelt Garner

I know a lot of people poo-poo the following idea, but it’s difficult for me to dispute that the white “birth dearth” is at the heart of pretty much everything that’s fucked up with America right now. Everything from the rise of popular autocracy, to white nationalism, to the freak out about the border, to the end of abortion rights all boils down to: white women aren’t having enough babies to keep racist happy.

And that’s why it’s so difficult for people like Ezra Klein to give us any actionable solutions in an otherwise great book, “Why We’re Polarized.” He probably didn’t want to bring the issue of race into what is causing everything, even though he does mention that as long as whites were in the clear majority that even racist whites felt comfortable giving more rights to minorities. And, really, I suppose there isn’t any solution. We’re fucked.

No amount of ending abortion rights is going to make enough of those sweet, sweet white babies that White Nationalists crave. Wealthy liberal white women are going to just go to Canada to have abortions if need be. And no amount of making it impossible for young people to college is going to make enough ignorant people that MAGA is happy. America is now two nations, one Red, one Blue and either we turn into a white Christian ethnostate with everything that entails, or we have a civil war and pretty much bomb ourselves into oblivion.

There just isn’t any simple answer to the decline and coming fall of the Pax America. We’re on our own. And either you see it or you don’t. I still believe that MAGA Republicans will probably be the direct cause of more deaths than the Nazis no matter what happens. Either they turn us into an autocracy, pull us out of the post-WW2 liberal order and empty the cities like fucking Pol Pot, or we have a civil war using WMD and, well, that will be that.

We’ve passed the event horizon. America as we know it is over, all we’re doing now is quibbling over the details of exactly how everything is going down.

America is Spinning Out of Control

by Shelt Garner

America is increasingly two nations, one Red, one Blue. The two sides simply can not, will not agree on anything. We can’t agree on what’s funny. We can’t agree on the meaning of some basic, huge events…even when there is video footage of what happened!

I continue to do a lot of reading about why and how all of this is happening, but I just am not finding the answers I need. Some of the authors punt on giving any answers because there just aren’t any. It’s like we’ve collectively, as a nation, given up. Either we become all fascist (Red) or we have a civil war in split into two nations. Or, maybe, have some sort of military junta.

But what won’t happen, can’t happen is some sort of gauzy slouch into the future where we don’t address any of our problems. Everything is coming to a head between now and something around spring 2025. And, what’s worse, it’s not like any of this is happening in secret.

MAGA Republicans make it very clear what they’re up to and what their agenda is. The only question at this point is what the ultimate reaction of Blues will be when the choice of “bending a knee” to autocracy or having a civil war arrives. I just don’t know which one will be the engame.

‘Wars & Rumors of War’

by Shelt Garner

The imagery of the “semi-mobilization” in Russia is alarming, to say the least. It definitely feels as though we’ve entered a new stage of the Russo-Ukrainian War one that might see an escalation between the two nations either now before it snows or in the spring.

Add to this that Russia has cut Europe off from its gas reserves and we really do have the winter of our discontent rushing towards us. But the question is, of course, is Russia going to remain stable going forward or is this mobilization the first step in a rapid decline in the stability of the world’s largest nuclear power?

I honestly don’t know. But history would definitely indicate that that is a real possibility. Repeatedly in Russian history major political debacles have caused massive political change.

Or, put another way, the world is a lot less stable than you might otherwise think. It’s at least possible that we’ll look back upon 2022 as a modern day 1937, where we got a shot across the bow that a world war was brewing. It seems to me very possible that what might happen is the United States for some reason withdraws from the global order — be it because of civil war, military junta or MAGA themed autocracy — and that is the thing that pushes into something akin to a new world war in 2024 – 2025.

The point is — Pax Americana is in its last days. We’re about to go through a very, very turbulent period in human history. There will be no narrative or value to any of it until it’s over and we figure out who the winners are.

Good luck.