I Have To Prepare For The Worst

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It’s finally gotten to the point where it definitely seems clear that my “terribly negative” speculation about the United States facing autocracy or civil war in late 2024 – early 2025 is just being realistic.

This is the point where I wish VOX would do an explainer as to how people like me can prepare for either becoming a domestic political refugee (civil war) or becoming a victim of a weaponized ICE (autocracy.) Now, my Traditionalists relatives — who I love dearly – think I’m being hysterical or that my fears on this matter are “bogus.”

But it’s becoming more and more clear that one way or another, my future Good German relatives are going to face an existential problem – ME — when they get everything they want and I simply will not, can not, shut up when we’re no longer a Western democracy.

They’re going to tell me to shut up “for the sake of the family” and I’m just not going to do it. They had their chance to prevent autocracy and they lulzed it because they wanted one, not thinking about the concrete implications for me. So, there you go. I’m on my own. Should we pick the autocratic route instead of civil war I suppose my only option will be to figure out how to get out of the country, or, I don’t know, join some sort of real-world underground Resistance movement and take my chances that way.

All of that is, obviously, very, very speculative on my part but my time in South Korea as an expat taught me never to grow too complacent — an expat in South Korea can lose everything in a heart beat, your time in the country is never 100% assured. That whole experience left me kind of paranoid.

Meanwhile, there is the civil war option. I’ve decided that if that very dark scenario happens instead of autocracy, that I’ll figure out some way to head north, out of my deeply Red portion of Virginia. My gut tells me two things. One, Virginia is going to be the site of coups and counter coups. Two, there’s probably going to be some sort of infrastructure built out for people like me to escape Trumplandia when the time comes.

But, at the moment, I’m of the opinion that we’re just going to slip peacefully into autocracy. It will be a “light touch” Very American Autocracy at first. Nothing will really change and my Traditionalist relatives will smugly tell me that I have nothing to worry about.

And, yet, form follows function and, soon enough at some point after 2025, I’m going to have A LOT to worry about — as will they.

What Is Cassidy Hutchinson’s Fate?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Cassidy Hutchinson potentially may be someone who will now linger in the public eye for decades to come, much like John Dean. Given how divided the country is, there is just as much of a chance that this will not be the case. She will just be another figure from Trumplandia who bursts onto the national stage only to fade away as the next bonkers thing happens.

Cassidy Hutchinson

And, of course, there is the continued crisis that is causing us to rush towards autocracy or civil war around 2024 – 2025. That could change everything to the point that Ms. Hutchinson will be nothing more than an antebellum footnote. But, what if manage to have a light-touch Very American Autocracy after 2025 and things remain — at least in the short term — reasonably normal in a America. Is there any place for Ms. Hutchinson?

Fox News people are very worked up about the possibility that Ms. Hutchinson might get some sort of media job out of her patriotic testimony. In a sense, they are trying to get ahead of what is on everyone’s mind — are we going to see her on, say, The View at some point in the near future?

For the time being, I don’t think so. There is still an open investigation into what happened on January 6th and, as such, it’s likely we won’t see her making the rounds of late show talk shows anytime soon. And, she’s young enough that she could write a book about her experience and the use that as leverage to get a plum media job of some sort.

But from what I’ve seen of her, she’s so young that she’s going to need some media training. She came across as very tentative — if sincere — and she’s going to need to show a bit more self-confidence to, say, get a show on MSNBC as the bonkers nutjobs of Fox News might have you believe.

Ms. Hutchinson does have demonstrably good looks on her side. She’s easy on the eyes, if nothing else. So, she definitely has a lot of media potential long-term.

Now, there’s something we have to address and that is how rabid the MAGA New Right is about her “betrayal” to the cause. My fear is dingus Trump is going to slip up and go transactional, saying something along the lines of, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome aid?” Then one of his wing nut MAGA followers takes him up on it and we all get a lot of crocodile tears and “thoughts and prayers” and talk about how Trump could not possibly be responsible for such a tragedy because America has a “mental health crisis.” Ugh. That particular scenario writes itself.

But, hopefully, I’m being too alarmist. I am known to be “terribly negative” as Mueller, She Wrote said. Anyway, fuck you, MAGA.

The ‘Woke Cancel Culture Mob’ On Twitter Really Is Annoying

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’ve always been more anti-MAGA than Leftist or even liberal. I see MAGA as American fascism and, as such, I oppose it with a white hot rage. But, occasionally, someone comes at me on Twitter from the Left and I don’t quite know what to do.

I fucking hate thinking like the above. Fuck that.

This happened to me recently and I’m still rattled by it. It all began when I off-handedly tweeted something about you know the world is fucked up when the new Barbie movie looks like it’s going to be really good. Well, someone responded that, essentially, I was being a misogynist for saying that “women’s entertainment” might be good.

And it was quickly down hill from there, with things escalating to a bizarre level. It’s rare that I see the mythical “triggering” event happen, but, there you go. It happened to me. What makes it all so annoying is I wasn’t even thinking about the “women’s entertainment” element of the Barbie movie — I was just thinking that usually legacy IP movies aren’t exactly all that great.

But my “triggered” Leftist interlocutor was determined to paint me someone who says “not all men” whenever subjects touchy to feminists come up. I kept trying to make it clear that I was on her side, but she made it clear that because of woke identity politics I was shit out of luck.

I was a man, and by definition, I was wrong.

And that, my gentle reader, is how we got Trump. The Left is so determined to paint any white man as the enemy that they actively alienate people like me who would otherwise be allies. I don’t know what to tell you, folks.

Woke identity politics is extremely corrosive. What happens is Leftists and liberals get conflated by the MAGA New Right press and the extreme touchiness of Leftists is used as a wedge issue to get conservative Traditionalists to support autocracy.

That’s where things stand at the moment. The center-Left is dominated by the squeaky wheel of easily triggered Leftists who want to alienate anyone who doesn’t fit into their orthodoxy, while the MAGA New Right is organized, focused and determined to burn everything to the ground using their hard power.

It’s all very sad.

What A Clusterfuck

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

We know that Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony has MAGA Republicans alarmed because they are using the current controversy over her claim that someone told her that Trump attacked member of his Secret Service detail to dismiss EVERYTHING she said.

It was inevitable that something she said would be quibbled with. But, here we are. It’s all so depressing. While 60% of the electorate will continue to be appalled by Trump, that core 40% of the electorate will say everything she sais was “bogus” because of the Secret Service issue.

But, wait, it gets worse.

The Angry White People I’m related to — who I love dearly — have already said they “like Trump’s policies they just don’t like Trump.” So, even if we were magically able to stick a stake in the heart of Trump’s political career, there are a dozen — a dozen! — would be autocrats waiting in the wings to finish the job he started.

The issue is — there is something seriously fucked up with American politics right now. You have otherwise good people, who happen to be conservative, all but demanding the establishment of A Very American Autocracy…because they think liberals are annoying.

That’s it. They want to destroy America because liberals are annoying. I mean, that’s all liberals have is soft power. It’s not like they can shoot straight when it comes to gaining power and passing laws — even popular ones!

There are macro, tectonic forces at work in American politics right now, things I struggle to understand. But, in the end, as I keep saying we either have a civil war (Trump) or we slip peacefully into autocracy (DeSantis.) There is no middle ground and you have a few years to figure out which side of history you’re on. No amount of earnest, angry Twitter ranting is going to save you — nor will the system.

We’re fucked. Totally and completely fucked.

The sooner you pick a side or figure out how the leave the country, the better,.

My Hot Take On Cassidy Hutchinson’s January 6th Committee Testimony

In the end, all the shocking Cassidy Hutchinson testimony will be dismissed by most conservatives because there is some debate about the sexxiest element of what she said: that Trump attacked his Secret Service detail.

That’s it. What could have been a John Dean moment will be brushed aside and dismissed by the Right because of that one thing. As such, no consensus will develop about what to do with Trump, we won’t develop the political will to finally hold him accountable and we lurch ever closer to autocracy or civil war.

It’s all very disappointing.

And, what’s worse, even if we did magically gather the political will to do something about Trump, there are half a dozen younger would-be autocrats — Ron DeSantis chief among them — who would finish the job that Trump started.

We’re beyond the event horizon of autocracy or civil war. As I’ve written before, it’s like we’ve given up as a nation. The Right absolutely believes they’re being oppressed by the woke cancel culture mob that is turning everyone gay that they use their Hard power to punish anyone they find…annoying. American politics has collapsed.

Most of the Right wants autocracy through white Christian minority rule and as such the dispute over the Trump-attacked-a-Secret Service-Guy is all they need to dismiss everything else she said that isn’t in dispute or in any way contested. They have their hook, their talking point and now the two sides go back to their silos, their echo chambers.

And when inevitably my Traditionalist relatives demand I talk about politics with them, they will wallow in that dispute and say everything she was “bogus” and a lie. And we lurch closer and closer to autocracy or civil war.

But, really, it was inevitable that this would happen. And that’s why we’re totally fucked. The rot within our political system is so extreme now that the momentum for us to either become an autocracy or have a civil war is so powerful that there is no turning back.

I suppose if there was some sort of very clear cut tragedy — one that was absolutely impossible for the Right to spin — that we might, might punt this crisis down the road one more political cycle. But it would have be a 911 sized tragedy that was extremely clear-cut. Something impossible to muddle, that forced the more extreme elements of the MAGA New Right to cool it for a little while.

One last thing — the Right is very agitated and they’re ascendant. If anything happens where they actually lose that momentum, watch out. They’re going to burn the country to the ground. All the psycho “Night of Rage” bullshit that they were so sure the Left was going to do, THEY will DEFINTELY do.

Things are dark and getting darker. There’s no going back. Something’s gotta give. Pray.

White Conservative American Men Are Angry

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The thing I struggle with the most these day son a political basis is why, exactly, white conservative men are so…angry. They’re so angry, in fact, that they’re comping at the bit to be Good Germans. They want to be Good Germans, damn the consequences.

They are quite vocal about how they want Trump without Trump in the guise of Ron DeSantis. They want autocracy. They sometimes talk around this issue by saying the United States is a “constitutional republic” and not a democracy, but what they mean is they want white Christian autocratic minority rule. It’s not like they’re hiding this desire.

But the issue that I keep wondering about is, why? What has changed in the last few years to make white conservative men so fucking angry that they’re will to trade their American birthright — living in a Western democracy — for autocracy.

Sometimes, I wonder if they even know.

They get really worked up about the woke cancel culture mob trying to turn everyone gay and yet when you mention that this is soft power and not the hard power that MAGA has, the deflect, conflate or just don’t say anything. Which makes you wonder even more — why are they so angry?

Are they really willing to burn everything to the ground…because liberals are….annoying?

It makes you wonder what the real cause of it all is. I think about this all the time and I have yet to come up with an explanation that doesn’t involve racism or bigotry. There are macro forces at work in the United States which are tearing the country apart.

We’re fucked. Good luck.

The January 6th Hearings Need A ‘Butterfield Moment’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

As you may know, during Watergate one of the more memorable moments was when Alexander Butterfield acknowledged the existence of a taping system in the Oval Office. It was a bombshell that ultimately led to the fall of the Nixon Administration.

It sure would help if the January 6th Committee Hearings managed to pull off something similar before they were over with. Something that would strike at the heart of the Trump Administration’s efforts to illegally stay in office. It’s still possible that might happen, but I have very low expectation.

And, yet, the MAGA cancer has grown so powerful in the American body politic that even if we managed to end Trump as a political force — however much this would make Twitter liberals spooge their pants — the overarching problem would not be solved.

America is fucking doomed. We’re past the event horizon for the existential choice of autocracy or civil war in 2024 – 2025. We’re fucked. An even if we bring down Trump politically, there are a dozen younger, more focused would-be autocrats chomping at the bit to finish the process he began.

As I keep saying — figure out what you believe in. Pick a side. A side will be chosen for you if you don’t. Good luck.

‘ U.S. is now in open civil war’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Despite what the person searching for that term above in the subject believes, the US is far from “open civil war” at the moment. But we are in danger of one in a few years. I have been writing for some time that America is open to a civil war at some point between now and Certification Day 2025. What the Dobbs decision does is give the already existing divisions within the United States a new, dangerous economic element.

Pence wants a national ban on abortion.

Or, put another way, we are now, once more, a nation half free and half slave. In some states a woman has economic control over her body and in some states she doesn’t. Now, what complicates things is MAGA would tell you that the opposite is true — they’re the free states and Blues are the slave states. They would say that now because “every life is precious” a fertilized egg is “free” to be born and fuck you lib.

One thing I have to note is there’s a huge amount of slack in on the Right as to their expectations as to what happens next. Even though they’ve been demanding the overturning of Roe for 50 years, they clearly see it as nothing more than speed bump on their way to their final destination: a nationwide, complete ban on abortion in all 50 states. A number of Republican leaders have said this openly in the last few days since the Dobbs decision came out.

And that’s the crux of why it’s at least possible that instead of the United States slipping peacefully into autocracy around late 2024 – early 2025 we have a national divorce and, as such, a civil war. Blue States will simply refuse to have the MAGA knee on their necks for generations to come and they organize snap secession conventions. They might even do it en masse, in a coordinated effort to make it more difficult for the U.S. Military to do anything about it.

Acting President James Mattis in 2025?

But all of that is very speculative. It could go a lot of different directions, some of them variations on a theme. It could be that the U.S. Military steps in and we have a military junta for a little while while we try a last-ditch effort to keep the country together. And, remember, all of this would happening in the context of the global order fall apart, too, so it’s possible we really could have something akin to a “Great Reset” — WW3.

All I say is — be grateful you have a few years to prepare. Get your affairs in order.

Have We, As Americans, Just Collectively Given Up?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

One of the theories about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire is that it was gripped by a sense of long term defeatism. Given what is going on the United States right now, I sometimes wonder if we’ve similarly just…given up. It’s like we collectively know that we’re probably going to slip into autocracy and we just don’t have it in us to do anything about it.

Because, make no mistake, the United States is fucked. We’re careening at an alarming rate towards a very, very dark future. And, for the moment at least, there is no apparent endgame, which, by definition, makes it a crisis. Are we going to slouch into autocracy or are we going to have a national divorce and start killing each other for political reasons?

I don’t know. Could go either way.

It’s all very sad. It’s sad that we are just too divided to do anything about our impending doom. There will be no Unity Ticket. Or reform. Or anything. We’re just letting macro trends follow their course and winging it.

Good luck.

I Wonder If Anyone Will Notice If I Successfully Predict The Future Of America In 2024 – 2025

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m pretty good at both making an abstract concept concrete and running scenarios. What I’m bad at is persuasion. I can’t get anyone to open a door for me, much less heed any warnings I may have about the fate of the United States. And, generally, I’m always wrong. Always. I have a knack for taking a little bit of information and running with it to the point that I embarrass myself. Repeatedly.

Just call me Cassandra

But now that the Dobbs decision has been handed down, even I have to admit that maybe my hysterical dystopian predictions about the United States between now and 2024 – 2025….might be….right?

Now, some context. I have no idea if we’re going to have a civil war or turn into autocracy, but I do know that in 2024 – 2025 those will be our two options. There will absolutely be no middle ground. The country is either going to become an autocracy with all that entails — or we’re going to start murdering each other for political reasons.

In other words, something’s gotta give. We can’t keep this drift towards autocracy up without there either being a secession crisis or we just give up our democratic birthright.

But let’s go back to the issue at hand — will anyone notice if I’m right? I don’t think so. I’m just a random nobody in the middle of nowhere. I might — might — get noticed by a few Powers That Be types but it’s not like they’re going to allow me to sit with them at the cool table. I’m a nobody loser crank drunk and always will be, though, I guess, I do manage to follow in the foot steps of my literary hero Stieg Larsson (without the dying of a heart attack part) then…maybe someone will think I’m, at last, cool?

What is more likely to happen is the base case scenario is some Thinker for New York Magazine or The New York Times will crib ideas off me and then get all the credit without mentioning that little old me influenced their thinking.

Such is the fate of people like me who are too colorful and non-conformist for our own good. They tell you to be “just be yourself”….and then here I am. Alone and unloved. But I’m content. Or, even more importantly, should I be proven “right” I will have that to make me feel good while I’m in a Trump branded ICE camp.

Ugh.

I really don’t want a civil war. But that is the other option. If it happens, I guess I head north. Virginia is going to be very, very unstable and some form of infrastructure to accommodate domestic political refugees will be established to help re-locate people like me fleeing the MAGA New Right death squads.