"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Love In The Time Of Biden - No Pit Stops On The Way To Utopia

To listen to progressives who championed Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and reluctantly Joe Biden, the New Age is upon us. The policies and presumptions of the Trump presidency are history, and an era of compassion, consideration, love, and respect is finally here.  Paradise Lost -  the casting out of Satan, and a heavenly new world.

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Of course, nothing of the sort will ever happen.  Biden in his first weeks has shown the same retributive anger as any victor. ‘To the victor, go the spoils’, but today no less than total dishonor will do. Trump is gone, and let us get rid of any nasty bits left behind.

With a flurry of Executive Orders, Trump’s world is being dismantled.  ‘Unity’, says Biden, is our watchword, the ethos we will live by; and yet with the stroke of his pen nothing of the former President remains. No colloquy, no Congressional negotiations or compromises, just political cleansing.

“But what about me?” wondered Bobby Phillips who had been at the barricades of BLM in Seattle, at the head of feminist pro-abortion marches on Washington, an outspoken critic of social media and a champion of ‘moderated, compassionate speech’.  He was getting no rewards for his lifelong commitment to progressivism. 

In the Sixties, things were different.  He got plenty of rewards out in the Idaho communes and South Philly crash pads; but he was languishing now in the age of bitterly purposeful change.  In the old days, while one might be committed to radical change, it never really mattered as much as sex.  Life was a happening, but now Bobby felt dislocated and seriously disoriented.   

He was like the Walker Percy character Will Barrett who, marginally sane, cannot figure out who he is or what’s what – to keep distant from settled life or to be part of the calm, happy center.  A janitor perhaps, or a carpenter.

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Bobby had none of the Percy character’s madness, insight, or intelligence to make any existential headway.  He only felt abandoned after so many dues paid.   In short, why had he not been called upon by the Biden Administration to do something, to contribute? And to be perfectly honest, even in his post-Sixties encroaching senility, he still wanted sex, not just any woman but a high-toned, progressive, committed woman. 

In the Biden Administration there would be cherry picking, low hanging ripe fruit; but he was unsure of who they were.  The radicals of his day were in it for the high – the supercharged bus ride to Selma, sitting in the President’s chair at Columbia, sitting in with black colleagues at Dot’s Diner in Tupelo and beaten by Mississippi police thugs. Racial justice, harmony, and integration were the banners one flew, but who could expect children in their mid-twenties to be deeply involved in civil rights, to have read the Constitution, and to have parsed the key passages of Locke and Rousseau? No, the Sixties were about sex.

So, he did what he could and got a junior position in Black Lives Matter.  Despite his long and recognized history in the peace movement, the women’s movement, and the civil rights movement, he lacked requisite racial credentials.  He was white, privileged, and worst of all descended from colonial slave owners and plantation bigots.  He was in today’s terms and according to the new President’s thinking, supernumerary and archaic.

Love in a progressive world was an outmoded if not discredited concept.  Love dissipated revolutionary zeal, distracted from the business at hand, diverted attention from the be-all-and-end-all of life as we know it – a better world.  

Women today were different.  They took life, politics, and meaning very seriously.  There were no flexible perimeters or soft edges. The time had come for radical, systemic, structural change and all energies had to be focused there. Love had no place at all, not even the ‘random, head-clearing fuck’ of the old days.  Sex had somehow been swept off the table along with the previous administration’s dirty dishes. 

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Not a few years  earlier, perhaps in Obama’s first term, things were not so tightly wound.  There was a little give to commitment and purpose.  There was time for some fun.  Bobby had girlfriends, not the wild, gingham and cutoff variety of the Sixties but still ready to party; but they went by the wayside in the course of time.  Trump opened the door for tacky, hot sleaze, and while tempted, he demurred.

What would it be like, he wondered, to have one of those hot Las Vegas bar girls lap dance for him?

Now, in the worst of all possible worlds, he was mired in a stifling, purposeful, dedicated, and righteous environment.  Biden had defeated the most fabulous showman of all time, the greatest big top, Barnum & Bailey three ring circus performer.  In Trump’s day there was love with the acrobats, the dwarfs, the lion tamers, and the clowns. It was a sexual free-for-all and a defiant statement.

Now that Biden was in office, the delights of real sexual diversity, not the  lip service paid to sexual ‘alternatives’ but real juice and up-and-hard sex with circus clowns, hairy ladies, and two headed beauties was over and done with.  All Jimmy Carter’s moralism, George W Bush’s born again faith, and Billy Graham’s groupie prayer breakfasts with Richard Nixon never made a dent in Trump’s happy-go-lucky saintlessness.  

Now that Biden is in the oval Office religious sanctimony has been replaced by secular righteousness, and just as in Salem in the 17th century, probity, seriousness, and absolute faith became the norm.

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Not that there were no opportunities – there were many thirty somethings who, despite decades of feminism, had  still not gotten over Daddy, and Bobby was a good stand-in; but there was no inoculation against the liberal virus, and purposefulness always seemed to get in the way of good sex. What had happened in a generation, Bobby wondered? or was it he?

Politics has always been about bonding, camaraderie, and youthful purpose.  The banners flown for Kennedy, Obama, Trump or any American president, have been waved more out of personal vanity than political expression.  Marches on Washington whether for  women’s rights, against climate change, or for social justice should be nothing more than the ‘Be-ins’ of the Sixties – fun times with a purpose; but they have lost their verve.  They are deadly, bloody serious affairs.

So Bobby Philipps went home alone most nights, aware of his age and political irrelevance, but hoping for some crack in progressive deliberateness, some suggestion that life needn’t always be crowned with thorns – but in a hair-trigger social environment where charges of insult and offence chilled any romance; and where getting to the prize, the ultimate progressive paradise was the only game in town, better to go to bed and let the unpleasant moment pass.

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