How will they be remembered?
America is dead. The body hasn’t hit the ground yet, but the lights have gone out, the pillars of power have fallen and it’s just a matter of time. The king is dead. God damn the king.
When it’s all written, America began falling on 9/11, with the twin towers. No empire attacks Afghanistan and survives, and America was no exception. They remained there and, randomly, Iraq for decades, draining resources, and reputation every day. Not because of their torture and murder and brutality, but because it was all for naught. They lost those wars, just as they had lost every war for decades. Because all of their military might could be undone with a few boarding passes.
Weakened within and without, they finally killed by an uncommon cold. A plague that exposed a hollowed-out, incompetent, and predatory federal government, run by a mad King, presiding over a carcass his party had been gutting for years. The Republican Party had been destroying the idea of governance for decades, it just took a plague to show how successful they’d been.
Finally, they were buried by the Greatest Depression, and fossilized in the silt of climate change. Unemployment and poverty worse than the 1920s, and with an initial response more incompetent than Hoover’s. Whereas a stitch in time would have saved $9 trillion, Trump’s regime of institutional arson and intravenous bleach killed not only nearly a million Americans, it also killed off the entire state. The entire idea of America as a competent empire was dead. It was just a failed state in a Gucci belt.
While the Democrats were able to cobble together a sort of country, the empire — that triumvirate of military, economic and moral power — was gone. Americans were exposed as the dumbest people on Earth, manipulated by the most evil. Power is where people believe it resides, and no one believed in America anymore.
People often say that after the fall of Rome it was the dark ages, and that wasn’t quite true. Advances continued apace in the East, and much of the world was liberated from the yoke of empire. In the lapse, people were left to their own murder, torture, and toxicity, which was at least less pervasive.
So America was gone. They came in on a mad king and left on one as well. A genocidal nation of slave-owners and immigrant exploiters who nonetheless produced excellent TV. A rich country full of poor people, a land of freedom and slavery, opportunity and illegal immigration — a study in contradictions if there ever was one.
Right now, the American Empire still walks and talks, but it’s more of a slow suicide by press conference. In historical terms, America drank bleach and died in 2020. Though it stumbled on for decades, into a climate crisis of its own making and into the horrific planetary wreckage of its greed, it was dead long before that final blow. It was dead from birth, a lie, a short-lived empire that thought it would live forever.
Fundamentally, America was a bunch of white men who didn’t want to pay taxes, then didn’t want to give up their slaves, then really didn’t want to pay their taxes so much that the whole empire collapsed. That’s how they’ll be remembered. Everything else is propaganda, torn off like so much plastic packaging. They will be admired and emulated in ways, but fundamentally viewed as hopelessly violent and cruel. As the past.
America is history. They never saw their end coming, but in hindsight, it was always clear. They were born in genocide, nursed by slavery, spent their youth in violence, and died of neglect and disease. They called themselves a Christian nation, but who are we kidding, the Americans would have killed Christ in an instant. America is Rome, and like Rome, they have fallen. Good riddance, and thanks for all the TV.