“Make America Great Again”
The Perfect Political Solution to Our Latter-Day Sexual Revolution
“We are right at the edge of the abyss.”
Jerry Falwell, Jr.
This ominous foreboding was made by the son of Jerry Falwell, one of America’s best-known fundamentalists and outspoken televangelists of the last century. During the recent election campaign, Falwell Junior was a stalwart supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy in spite of the latter’s stumbling from one scandalous controversy into the next. For the famous preacher’s faithful son that was only more proof positive that sinners are no saints in deed and therefore in permanent need to be forgiven. Consequently, Donald Trump has won that highly acrimonious election and now Falwell Junior’s ominous foreboding of imminent catastrophe has become – vice versa – the fears of many of all those who had opposed Trump’s candidacy, only in much higher numbers, since they now include hosts of political observers and prophetic doomsayers in many countries around the world.
To cite just two telling examples from Germany that – given its disastrous history in the last century – is probably most qualified to be a contemporary Kassandra: The Berliner Zeitung deplored the result of the Amercian election as an uncanny specter reminiscent of Oswald Spengler’s prophetic epic The Decline of the West (1918, 1922), and the cover of the Hamburg magazine Der Spiegel probably captured the worldwide fear most dramatically when it equated Trump’s stunning victory with a fiery comet hurtling out of the blue toward planet earth. The evocative picture carried the exorbitant subtitle: “Das Ende der Welt (wie wir sie kennen)” – the end of the world (as we know it). Apocalypse Now?
The Second Coming as the late homecoming of a prodigal grandson? Since Trump’s surprising rise to political prominence, Germany’s long-lasting love-hate relationship with him has turned more and more into political abhorrence. By now it is well known, that his grandfather left Germany because his home country did not appreciate the fact that he had dodged service in the German army. His grandson Donald followed his grandfather’s footsteps by avoiding military service too, but he, in turn, would compensate his patriotic shortcoming by transforming it into something much larger than life, in other words, translating it into the national promise of “Make America Great Again”. To understand the genesis of such a temperament and its narcissistic self-aggrandizement, a look back to the future – as post-modernity’s most popular perspective suggests – can give us some telling insights into the social dynamics and sexual politics of present-day America and its utopian propaganda.
The double-edged sword of the battle of the sexes: From magic mushrooms and marijuana to Cialis and Viagra, these elixirs of the Sexual Revolution have been inspiring the generation of baby boomers for decades in their modern pursuit of happiness, that is, sexual joy and lasting success. Hand in hand with these erotic aspirations go the social ambitions of both men and women to fully share – for the first time in Western Civilization – the political powers of democracies all the way up to the top of their institutional hierarchies. However, this modern trajectory reached the height of its western travesty in the recent race for the American presidency. The rearguard of late patriarchy – those powers that were and still want to be in power- never behaved more miserably.
From Bill Clinton’s legendary infidelities to Donald Trump’s locker-room escapades to Anthony Weiner’s sexting depravities, these priapic aficionados revealed themselves time and again as testosterone driven desperados. And as it turned out, Trump’s flights of lustful fancy were not only condoned but also encouraged by more than a few of his female cheerleaders. “Trump can Touch My Rump Any Time”, that was one of the more explicit slogans emblazoning the tank tops and fancy pants of some of the more brazen Trumpistas. Such brash siren calls could well be the dernier cri, the last battle cry of a Sexual Revolution, whose once so youthful and liberating energy has reached here the final stage of a desperate frivolity. Or maybe that motto is just another practical joke on that age-old trickle-down theory, so popular with the ideologues of the Republican Party. Except now, that economic ideology can be applied to the nationwide downgrading of public decorum and republican decency. Trash talk is certainly not a political crime, but the modern battle of the sexes for social equality could not have found a rottener bottom line.
And to this latest radical chic and its kinky shicksa kick one would have to add all those macho punchlines below the belt that the new “American Idol” kept delivering throughout his run for the presidency, ranging from menstrual innuendos regarding a resolute female moderator to the sexist philosophy that a woman’s proper duty is to her lasting female beauty and should she fail, she would be publicly fat-shamed and mockingly nick-named. In other words, in hindsight the recent campaign trail toward the American presidency turned out to be not only a swamp of deplorable morality, but also a stamping ground for an unprecedented display of an aberrant anti-chivalry that was fighting one more time for a return to that ancient, phallocratic supremacy.
No wonder that grotesque quest, that mudslinging contest to conquer the White House, would call for a so-called “Nasty Woman” who could boldly face and bravely challenge that rampant onslaught with toughness and determination. But as we have seen, not even “Valiant Hilary” could put an end to the last stand of a decrepit patriarchy and its desperate latter-day misogyny. Not to mention the challenges of all that racist bigotry, religious demagogy and – mutatis mutandis – those stories of fake news and phony polls which are spreading virally throughout our social media. The cumulative impact of these festering forces turned out to be the true corruption of this unbelievable election. They informed and deformed, in short, they “rigged” in so many twisted ways that truly bizarre crusade toward that proverbial “Shining Chapel” on Capitol Hill.
The marching order of this vitriolic victory: We will have to continue our journey on the road of the West’s oldest democratic nation under a very chauvinistic presidency. Let’s just hope that the future president of the United States will not live up to the worst fears of so many in this country and around the globe. Let’s pray that he will stop giving in to his inner demons and his impulse to taunt and insult his opponents and instead will start listening to his better angels and their inner voices, will thereby become a gentler man and choose only the best of all possible choices.
But what America – “America the Beautiful” – really needs is to get back on that high road of its manifest destiny. And for that, we need in deed a real wonder woman, or to put it figuratively, a matriarchal “Mighty Mama”! She, for sure, would take good care of those badly aging baby boomers, including all their latest misbehaving sexual bloomers. Who needs all their pathetic passions and pathological obsessions, who needs all their scandalous strategies and increasingly fact-free realities, who needs all their fancy stories of growing military power and coming national glories?! For real, we need neither latter-day saints nor sinners and all their millennial melodrama! And nobody on this planet needs – fundamentally speaking – Armageddon, Sodom, or Gomorrah!!
For heaven’s sake, all we need is a down-to earth “Wonder Woman”, who is very much in touch with reality in all its human diversity! At this cross-roads of American history with its continuing racial tensions and gender trouble only she could unite “his” and “her” story and thus tell and teach us much more about our democracy and its ultimate universal glory.
Ironically, this historical dialectic between patriarchal degeneracy and matriarchal ascendancy finds its exemplary political paradigm change in modern German history. Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last monarch of Germany’s Second Empire, and Adolf Hitler, the furious Führer of the Third Reich, were regressive incarnations and late atavistic representations of male arrogance and masculine belligerence which plunged the world into the apocalyptic catastrophes of World War I and World War II. At the present end of this disastrous trajectory stands – vice versa – Angela Merkel, Helmut Kohl’s legendary favorite “Mädchen”. During her long reign as German chancellor she grew into a highly popular and powerful “Landesmutter” and finally into a nurturing Alma Mater, who would welcome over a million Muslim refugees into her rich and outreaching country. From a contemporary German and European point of view, this mighty and magnanimous Great Mother became an increasingly controversial figure, as she opened her arms to a new kind of “huddled masses”, this time fleeing a war-torn Middle East. However, from a transatlantic perspective, she soon emerged as a veritable Lady Liberty, in other words, the “Liberal West’s Last Defender”, as the New York Times hailed her in the headline of a recent article of Nov. 13, 2016.
What poetic justice, what western victory, if the lessons learned from the German nightmare of the twentieth century could continue to enlighten the future of the American Dream. In other words, for a happy end of this transatlantic story it would take the comeback of a woman whose stature has been rising steadily in recent months on the historical horizon of the American nation, in short, it would take
the timely empowerment
of our First Lady Michelle Obama
as the United States first female president.
Frederick A. Lubich