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A Country For Old Men

Mandy Baldwin
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Anyone who remembers the 1980s will remember it for the death of the old Communist states, which expired along with those who had taken part in the Russian Revolution of 1917. They will remember how one doddering old man after another was wheeled out as leader, in the desperate attempt to keep alive something which was obnoxious and irrelevant.

In Communist Yugoslavia, held together only by the iron fist of dictator Tito, the leader himself, in old age, developed multiple cancers: in their efforts to keep together this fake country – an enforced bloc of disparate nations – his government quite literally amputated diseased parts of the old despot until he was little more than a head in a jar. In Russia, the last truly Communist leaders held shorter and shorter presidencies as in turn they dropped off their perches – the Party in panic, knowing that the next in line was Gorbachev: the first leader of the USSR who had not taken part in the Revolution.

The people of the Soviet Bloc knew that outside the Communist fortress the big, bling, booming 1980s were happening: and yet, until Gorbachev, there they were, trapped in a fusty, drab relic to beliefs and struggles which meant nothing to them other than as interesting historical points.

Their geriatric leaders, distanced from reality, fixed like flies in amber behind high walls and lines of military, held appeal only to those who were equally distanced. The 1980s was the generation of freedom, of true tolerance, of hand-shaking leaders, of glamourous princesses and glitter, of working hard and playing hard and hopes of gain. So milky-eyed old men with five year plans and gratitude for five square metres of drab apartment space per person were not what anyone could relate to.

Collapse was inevitable, and yet, during its dying decade, the Soviet system, like any dying beast, was at its fiercest, each individual who clung to it, rejecting or not recognising what would inevitably replace it. It got worse, before it got better.

Watching Joe Biden, surrounded by his fellow geriatrics – the Clintons, the Bushes, Pelosi – being propped up to make a short, staccato, nonsensical speech, surrounded by a military he has purged and abused, behind barbed wire for fear of the people from whose views and needs he is absolutely detached, I was vividly reminded of Andropov, the Soviet leader who preceded Gorbachev. He, too, tottered onto the balcony to review the troops who marched for him, and he, too, already gave the impression of being as moribund as his beliefs. Andropov would have felt completely at home, at the Biden inauguration.

In America, now, a liberal elite relic are desperately clinging to a power which they should have long since gracefully surrendered. Their preoccupations are old battles. Take Biden and Pelosi, to name but two: born during World War Two, they grew up during the McCarthy Era, when left-wingers were persecuted and excluded from public life. Because, in old people, long term memory and images are most vivid, they still think Communism is cool and rebellious: and because they are of that generation, they understand only one way to deal with an opposition they hate: suppression, silencing, exclusion – all the things which were done to the left. They may have protested against McCarthyism, but his activities are all they understand, and so they are carrying out a purge of all beliefs which contrast with their own.

They came of age during the Civil Rights struggle, and cannot shake their belief that racial minorities need to be freed: even the election – twice, by landslides – of a black president, cannot shake their entrenched belief that the ethos of their early youth still holds. They announced the appointment of non-whites with a patronising astonishment – when in fact, if anything, these appointees have long been playing the race card to their own advantage, and mostly come from privileged backgrounds.

Kamala Harris is an example: both her parents were middle class, born into the British Empire (in India and Jamaica) where they were naturally educated to the maximum according to ability, and became comfortably wealthy.

According to Wikipedia:

Harris was born in Oakland, California,[8] on October 20, 1964.[9] Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a biologist whose work on the progesterone receptor gene stimulated advances in breast cancer research,[10] had arrived in the United States from Tamil Nadu in India in 1958 as a 19-year-old graduate student in nutrition and endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley;[11][12] Gopalan received her PhD in 1964.[13] Harris’ father, Donald J. Harris, is a Stanford University professor emeritus of economics, who arrived in the United States from British Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study at UC Berkeley, receiving a PhD in economics in 1966

A Country For Old MenNot for one single moment of her life – or that of her parents or grandparents for that matter – has Harris suffered discrimination or disadvantage – and yet, that is the card she plays, in the geriatric government she is part of. She even pats herself on the back for being in office as a woman, when her mother was eminent in a traditionally masculine field. This is sheer hypocrisy and opportunism.

Pelosi, and Biden – and the Bushes and the Clintons – are people whose grandparents’ generation were slave-owners, whose parents’ generation supported segregation. They are obsessed with race, and with forcing their own sense of ancestral guilt on a bewildered nation to which slavery and segregation are rejected relics of history. They do this because they have always, themselves, been sheltered from the consequences of encouraging racial violence, because their ivory towers are so well-guarded and because, on some level, though they deny it, they know that it is wealth which is privilege, not skin-colour.

In the midst of a pandemic and a recession, Biden has already signed an executive order that a white child born on the day of his inauguration must, from the time it starts school, be taught that it deserves to be punished for inherited guilt, must be reduced to a second-class citizen in reparation for the sins of the wealthy dead.

The generation which Biden and Pelosi belong to, as young wealthy white liberals, threw their drinks over returning Vietnam vets, and called them ‘baby-killers’ – small wonder they have such contempt for the American military that they made no provision for them, and kicked them out to sleep rough as soon as they felt safe(ish). The military are people who the geriatric Democrats view, basically, as toilets: unfortunately necessary, but not to be admired.

And they only find them necessary for their own personal protection: they regarded with horror the suggestion that the National Guard be brought in to defend the homes and businesses which were being destroyed, all through the past year, by BLM, who they equate to Martin Luther King’s movement, and by Antifa, who they personally identify with. The businesses? Evidence of capitalism, which, as rich, spoilt people who have never known what it is to work for a living, they despise. The homes? Evidence of privilege to which they are themselves solely entitled.

Those of the baby-boomer generation which came from wealthy backgrounds, born as the world won its war against just the kind of oppressive measures which the Biden administration favour, were the most spoilt we have ever seen – their every squeak celebrated and worshipped, their every whim extolled as a social advance: living eternally off the glory of their parents, whose generation is generally recognised as the finest. Passing time has shown how damaging so many of those whims were, and in addition, their memory of them has been digitally enhanced with the years.

Those now ruling the Capitol with a liver-spotted fist were always a noisy minority: then they were pickled at their point of highest lunacy, became career politicians, and removed themselves from any connection with reality whatsoever.

However, the majority of that age-group always lived in the real world, and these have found their place as good, inspiring and wise members of society, keeping alive a memory of the need for freedom of self-expression, of the need for courage and love of realistic values, while knowing what it is to have to struggle.
Now, their values are those most under attack by the pampered wastrels who have always opposed them – the wastrels who sneered at them for getting jobs, and keeping neat homes and well-behaved children, for serving their country in uniform.

America now is under the heel of a Geriatric Dictatorship, a fossil of what they see as a Summer of Love which was, actually, a drug-addled, ridiculous prancing of cretins, intent on the exchange of STDs. They enjoy watching chaos and destruction from their safe, luxurious towers, while talking of the distribution of wealth; they have a mission of spiteful vengeance on those they despise – which is everyone except themselves – while spouting of universal love.
They are still convinced that they have something radical to say which the world must listen to, but nobody except the mentally ill or morally depraved sees their generation’s cavorting as anything but silliness, now.

This stolen election, that absurd and chilly inauguration, shows that they have come full-circle, those once-hysterical opponents of a rigid and removed elite. They are frightened, spoilt old people, clinging to an echo. But above all, they are dying, because they cannot deny time.
For all the fake memories of people like Kamala Harris – who actually quoted Martin Luther King and pretended they were her own words – the vast majority of the people, in America and in the world, have moved on.

The White House geriatrics will scrabble like cornered rats against change, but their desperate desire for this last chance to permanently bend the world to their will is doomed by Time itself. Thanks to their desperation, just as it did in the Soviet Bloc, it will get worse before it gets better: but all we have to do is keep up the pressure for sanity – and wait.

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Mandy Baldwin
Mandy Baldwin

I'm a novelist who has always lived by the sea, and would have stayed that way if I hadn't got side-tracked into politics due to campaigning for Brexit. Being made jobless and homeless for over a year as a result of backing what Remainers called the "wrong side" taught me two things: (a) it's possible to live on peanut butter and (b) 2016 was the start of a revolution.

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