A note from the Editor…

A note from the Editor...

As I sit here writing my final editorial for Basement Medicine, a sense of dread creeps slowly up my spine. It has been a month since the presidential election, and I feel no shame in admitting that I am afraid of what the future holds, both for this country and for the world at large.

We are now traveling down a dark road which leads inexorably to tragedy.

The closing lines of our national anthem proclaim America to be the land of the free, but in reality this is far from the truth.

Freedom is not something granted by birth or handed down by one’s ancestors. If it is to be had at all, it can only be earned by fighting for it here and now. The powerful tell us that we are already free, but this is only because they prefer us sated and docile. Wage slaves are bound and weighted down by ideological chains just as surely as chattel slaves were by metal ones.

Nationalism. Misogyny. Racism. Homophobia. These are all forms of false consciousness which serve to divide the common masses so that the ruling elite has free rein to treat us like glorified livestock.

So Donald Trump “builds” office towers, hotels, casinos and golf courses, eh? Wrong. Donald Trump commands the labor of the working class by having privileged access to what we need most — money. In this respect, Donald Trump is no different from any other capitalist. They all grab us by our collective pussy — he’s just more blatant about it.

Trump is no anomaly. He embodies the dark heart of America; the perverse underbelly which has always been present. Lurking. The gilded path was laid for him by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Every president since JFK has incrementally expanded the power of the executive branch. Corporate friendly trade agreements allowed the gains of constantly rising productivity to be siphoned upwards into the bank accounts of the elite, while working people were left with decades of stagnant wages and declining living standards. The prison system expanded to grotesque proportions, irreparably destroying the lives of the least well-off among us. Education was defunded. The welfare state was gutted. Pointless wars were waged on behalf of the military-industrial complex.

Few wanted to talk or think about these developments as they were progressively unfolding. “Trickle down economics” is a myth, but the spoils of the plunder did ooze down to the white-collar professionals and the members of America’s servile intellectual class.

Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. Direction will be dictated by the course of events. We’re about to find out precisely how sturdy the constitution really is.

A word of warning: if there was any lesson to be learned from this election, it’s that we can’t rely on the ‘reasonable’ elites to save us from the ‘unreasonable’ ones. They are spineless, self-serving and ultimately have far less at stake than we do.

The old Ottoman Empire was once mocked as “the sick man of Europe” as it regressed and eventually died under the strain of World War I. Today it is becoming increasingly popular to think of liberal democracy as the sick man of political life. Will the outcome be similar? Only time will tell.

The danger of the current moment is the possibility of a retreat into apathy and/or despair. A superabundance of hollow mass media spectacles are erected all around us, beckoning like sirens. Trump himself has been facilitated at every turn by this exact phenomenon.

Apathy and despair are preconditions for a population to accept authoritarianism. American culture promotes individualistic modes of thought and action, but these tendencies will not serve us well in this political moment. Organization and collective action are the only effective forms of counter-power we have at our disposal.

–Sam Hartley, Editor-in-Chief