I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired of waiting for the Hitlerian nightmare that the corporate media promised us was coming back in 2016. Frankly, I’m beginning to suspect that all their apocalyptic pronouncements were just parts of some elaborate cocktease. I mean, here we are, a year and half into the reign of the Trumpian Reich, and, well, where are all the concentration camps, the SS units with their death’s head insignia, the Riefenstahlian parades and rallies? Trump hasn’t even banned the Democratic Party, or annexed Canada, or invaded Mexico, or made anybody wear color-coded armbands. If he doesn’t start Hitlering relatively soon, the oracles of the corporate media are going to have some serious explaining to do.
I don’t think I’m overreacting. After all, back in 2016, The Guardian promised us an “Age of Darkness,” and the end of “civilized order” as we know it. “Globalization is dead, and white supremacy has triumphed,” one of its more hysterical pundits proclaimed. “Donald Trump is actually a fascist,” Michael Kinsley assured us in The Washington Post. Charles Blow of The New York Times warned that Trump’s election was “the beginning of the end,” the descent of the republic into “racial Orwellianism,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. Thomas Friedman called it “a moral 911.” Paul Krugman predicted nothing short of “a global recession with no end in sight.” Jonathan Chait, after heroically vowing not to flee the country with his terrified family, but to stay and fight to the bitter end, guaranteed us that the “monster,” Trump, would “shake the republic to its foundations.”
Perhaps my seismometer is on the fritz, but I haven’t detected much foundation shaking. Yes, Trump repulses me, personally. I do not like the man. I never have. I was based in New York for fifteen years, in the 1990s and early 2000s, before he became a game show host, when he was still just a shady real estate mogul with alleged ties to organized crime who occasionally appeared on Wrestlemania and just generally went about the city making a narcissistic ass of himself and plastering his gold-plated name onto everything. So I have no illusions about his character … the man is an inveterate snake oil salesman with the moral compass of a Tijuana pimp. All I’m saying is, we were promised Hitler, or Mussolini at the very least, and it seems like all we’re getting so far is just regular old narcissistic Donald Trump.
Of course, he could just be laying low and holding back on the Hitler stuff as part of the evil master plan personally developed by Vladimir Putin to systematically brainwash Americans (with state-of-the-art mind-control Facebook ads) into embracing all-out National Socialism and marching through the streets in full Nazi regalia singing Amerika Über Alles… at which point Trump will rip off his mask, reveal his true Hitlerian face, Steve Bannon will suddenly reappear in the turret of an M1 Abrams tank at the head of a division of rebel infantry flying giant Confederate flags as they hideously rumble down Pennsylvania Avenue, and the Putin-Nazi Holocaust will begin.
Or maybe the extremely serious, Pulitzer Prize-winning political pundit David Leonhardt is onto something. In a prominent op-ed in The New York Times, he wonders if Putin’s “secret plan” is for Trump to destroy “the Atlantic alliance” by arriving late for the G7 meeting and “picking fights over artificial issues,” not to mention insulting the Canadian prime minister, which, it doesn’t get much more hair-raising than that. OK, I know you’re probably thinking that sounds like the hopelessly paranoid jabber of some conspiracy theorist nut on YouTube, but we’re talking The New York Times here, folks, and a bona fide “respectable pundit” who wrote a whole 15,000-word ebook and has been interviewed by Stephen Colbert, among his many other distinguished accomplishments.
Last week, I published an inappropriate and deeply offensive satirical essay, for which I would now like to repeatedly apologize. The offensive satirical essay in question, Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse, which I regret having written and for which I intend to repeatedly apologize throughout this essay, concerned what I perceived, at the time I wrote it, as an overreaction on the part of millions of decent, patriotic liberals to the first eighteen months of Donald Trump’s presidency and Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to destroy democracy and take over the world.
In light of recent revelations, and repeated viewings of heartbreaking close-up color photos of children in cages, I feel it incumbent on myself to confess what I recognize now as my part in spreading the scourge of Putin-Nazism that is metastasizing like a hideous Slavic colon cancer throughout our great nation, and to repeatedly apologize for having been an apologist for such Hitlerian evil, as well as any discomfort my Putin-Nazi Denialism might have caused anyone.
In addition to repeatedly apologizing for any emotional or psychological discomfort or trauma my essay may have caused, I would like to attempt to explain why I wrote it, not to in any way excuse myself, but rather, in the hope that other political satirists might learn from my mistake, and stop and think about the consequences of going after cheap, easy laughs while hundreds of thousands of innocent people are being rounded up by the American gestapo and shipped off to concentration camps to be horribly murdered with poison gas, and experimented on by sadistic doctors, or just slowly starved and worked to death … which is obviously nothing to joke about.