Make America Great Again

You know the feeling. You’ve gone to a local gathering of people for something that really interests you, whether collecting, gardening, sports activity, education, philanthropy, etc. etc. etc. And you leave scratching your head and wondering how all these people, who appeared there for the same reason as you (acute interest in a subject), how this common interest degenerated into talk of making money, saving money, and the means to making this interest become capital in the striving for a source of income (profit). At first you write it off as “This is what clubs are about.” But eventually you notice it happening even at gatherings over coffee or a beer (everything is described in terms of being an “entrepreneur”). You recall the history of the now defunct Soviet states and their operation. Ascendency within the Communist party required aspirants to attend various mundane meetings, sit on boards of committees, and operate social functions and services. This insured that anything discussed, anything implemented, served the people’s revolution, the Communist state. This was also the only route to leadership positions within that society. But you believed this all was a society of imposition. You always believed it to have been mandated, never that it was a part of everyday culture, expected and anticipated to be that way. Now you can’t help but notice that those sitting on the boards of directors at contemporary non-profits, social organizations, arts groups, educational institutions, etc. are all salaried members of the Capitalist party. Party affiliation requires that all problem solving, policy setting, and hands on operation (course of action) involve the exigency of making a profit, showing a capital return. This stains even what, where, how and when your children play as well as recreational sports, past times, gardening, arts, music, etc. (even exercising community is termed community “investment”). Capitalist party membership may not require carrying a card (what is in your wallet?). It does, however, require continuous active promotion and participation. Unwittingly, you’ve just uncovered and revealed the actual everyday workings of hegemony. Capitalist or Communist (Fascism in much of Europe during the 1930’s), religious fundamentalist, monarchist, etc. the boundaries, parameters, nature and horizons of intercourse and exchange within groups of disparate participants are determined solely by the dominating outlook. Hegemony affects how problems are solved, how choices are made, how conflicts are created by providing the channel within which all matters can and will be considered (with the unexpressed always being excluded). This past week there was much talk (and still is much talk) over another round of unending mass killings. The talk centered on guns, and mental illness (never health). A leading presidential wannabe recounted his own personal ability to deflect gun violence (by redirecting it onto someone else – see Popeye’s experience). The sage wannabe (or is it wannabe sage?) continued by claiming the mass killings perpetuated in Europe 70-80 years ago could have been averted if only the victims had been given access to guns. So the tempest swirls over the importance of guns, the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and mental illness (never health). The hegemony of “guns” determining the exclusive channel within which all matters can be considered was never mentioned or revealed (part of the unexpressed that is always excluded). It is patently absurd to imagine, let alone suggest, that the millions of everyday people, living in Europe during the mid-part of the 20th century, would, should, or could have taken an active everyday interest and involvement with guns to maintain and insure their otherwise gun absent everyday lives. It is also hubris and arrogance to impose that outlook, those parameters and horizons. But then again, it is hegemony. At one time in the U.S. there were only three major sports (hockey was Canadian). There was only one cheese for your fast food meal (American cheese). One segment of the populace exercised the day-to-day workings of democracy (race). One God was worshiped on one specific day (Sunday). Since that time the hegemony of those horizons was painstakingly expanded, the outlook arduously transformed into the variance and variability of today. The now trademarked “Make America Great Again” attempts, above all, to most definitely express a drive for hegemony.

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