The Heebie-Jeebies of August

IMG Auteur
Published : August 20th, 2021
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Category : Editorials

“Joe Biden” will interrupt his moveable vacation — for now, back in Wilmington, DE — to speak to the nation early this (Friday) afternoon. Will he dig himself deeper into the hole that the Taliban tossed him in, or just throw in the towel on running the executive branch of the government (if that’s what he’s been doing)?

Let’s face it: “Joe B’s” actual doings in the White House these seven months are as mysterious as last week’s blitzkrieg through Afghanistan by the Taliban. What does Ol’ White Joe actually do all day after his managers “call a lid” on his official duties at 8:30 in the morning? Gab with Hunter about family business on a secure phone? Watch Joy Behar and her gang on TV? We-the-people are unaware that the “president” has any hobbies or avocations. Golf? Apparently not. Stamps? Please! Or does he just sit in a comfortable chair on the second-floor casting what is left of his mind back on those dear dead days of his fabled Scranton boyhood?

Can you really imagine Kamala Harris in the Oval Office? I doubt Kamala herself can. Anyway, someone up and dispatched her off to Singapore and Vietnam this week, as if on-cue (get her outa town, pronto…things will be a little hairy around here). Presumably she will return to the USA in the fullness of time, without any untoward accidents involving Air Force Two. But what if the veep, for reasons of her own (say, “nerves”), throws in a towel, too? Who else happens to be constitutionally in-line for Commander-in-Chief in case the whole 2020 ticket bows out?  Why, the Speaker of the House, of course, Ms. Nancy Pelosi, the world’s leading model of outfit-matching face-masks. What a career-capper that will be! Better stock up the White House freezer with Jeni’s-brand mango-cheesecake swirl gourmet ice-cream and gird your loins for a fusillade of executive orders making outlaws of everyone living between the Falls of the Potomac and the Embarcadero.

The news media may wonder whether Afghanistan is heading back into twelfth century, but many of us here are wondering whether this country will remain in the twenty-first. The cable TV channels crackle with existential angst. The USA seems to have made itself the chump of chump nations. We are so easily faked-out! Our gazillion-dollar military and Intel Community got owned by savages in sandals, for Gawdsake! Ten-thousand Americans (or more!) sit stranded in Kabul while Pashtun horsemen joyride above the city in purloined Blackhawk helicopters! We abandon our allies and obligations! We are not to be trusted (even by ourselves). What is to be done?

Nobody knows, or if they do, they’re not telling. One senses a descent into a season of extraordinary national disorder. One hears whispers of an alt.military Trump-leaning cabal lurking at the margins, waiting to seize power. What else is there? Appeal to Pakistan to call off their dogs? Because, after all, it was Pakistan who virtually created the Taliban, and who planted Osama Bin Laden in Kandahar, and then harbored him in Abbottabad after the Yanks arrived next door in 2001 to root him out of some mythical cave (and failed to, having sub-contracted the actual job to the Pashtun mounties, an outfit with certain motivational problems).

Jimmy Carter was undone by a mere fifty-two hostages in Iran, 1979, but this fiasco is orders of magnitude greater. The Taliban could easily put an end to the whole question of extracting the thousands of Americans stuck in Af-stan just by firing a few RPG rounds onto the runway of Hamid Karzai International Airport. After that, would they go about the grisly business of beheading any Afghani who so much as took a stick of gum from an American?

“Graveyard of Empires,” indeed. Rome waited a few centuries to collapse but America seems to be demonstrating we can git’er done in just a couple of years. And, beyond these questions of global hegemony, there is the matter of what happens here in the so-called Homeland. The Covid-19 vaccine-and-masking hysteria is coming to a head. The school boards are getting an earful about race-based everything in the curriculum. Certain state governors and mayors seem determined to destroy what remains of small business. A mutiny is brewing against Bill de Blasio’s new semi-lockdown in New York City. Gavin Newsome is about to be tossed into the North Pacific Gyre. Any moment, the Arizona election audit will issue a preliminary report, said to be shocking. Financial markets are in the wobble-zone. Supply lines are down for many parts of things needed to run daily life in this land. And millions are wondering anxiously now: what really are the latent effects of those jabs?

Things are shaking loose all over the place. As Bob Dylan once said, the order is rapidly fading (and he’s even older than “Joe Biden.”) Everyone I know has got the heebie-jeebies. Nobody is at the controls of this outfit as we sail into the fog.

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James Howard Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. His nonfiction book, "The Long Emergency," describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.
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