Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton gives a thumbs-up as she appears on stage Thursday during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Well, I guess I won’t be working in the Clinton White House. I ran into Truthdig Editor in Chief Bob Scheer at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week. I asked about his take on the Clinton delegates. I explained that I wanted to engage them on matters of policy, but I could hardly get an honest peep out of them. Bob looked at me, shrugged off my question as if to suggest that they’re not interested in that stuff, and quipped, “This is a job fair to them.” Indeed, just as Thomas Frank portrays in his magisterial new book “Listen, Liberal,” the core of the Clintonite Democratic Party is the American aspirational class, and they’ve transformed the Democratic National Convention into their natural habitat, the job market. Somehow, I missed the memo. Look, I have no illusions. I’m from the same social strata as many of the Clinton delegates — middle- and upper-middle class, well-educated, soccer over NASCAR. Almost all of my longtime friends dutifully support the Democratic Party, and while my pals went for Bernie Sanders in the spring, they will probably fall back in line for “Her” in November. Neither, I hope, am I naïve. I understand why the Clintonite ideology is attractive to this post graduate-degree, upper 10 percent, caste. They’ve all worked very hard their entire lives for the right to continue overworking. Yet, simultaneously, I am appalled that so many people who have shared so many of my life experiences cannot recognize that the Clintons and their clique are the primary architects of the contemporary national and global economic order that has made such a mess of this country and has us hurtling toward a rendezvous with apocalypse. There is no denying the usefulness of a Marxian class analysis here (with capital, invisible yet omnipresent, calling the shots), but I fear that Sigmund Freud’s terrifying theory of the human death drive is equally relevant. Before we go there, let’s review the requisite backdrop to this moment: By the second half of the second decade of the 21st century, an increasing majority of people in “advanced” technological societies have grown aware that the macroeconomy — i.e., the web of social relations they rely upon for their very existence — is no longer working for them. This has led to a revolt against the political status quo (Hillary Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President François Hollande), with two primary variations: 1) the right-wing xenophobic response (Donald Trump, the UK Independence Party, Marie Le Pen), and 2) a left social-democratic response (Sanders, British MP Jeremy Corbyn, Syriza in Greece/Podemos in Spain). Since option 1 posits a world that no decent person should countenance, and for the most part is void of coherent proposals (the most fully elaborated example, Le Pen’s, posits a society in which the national population maintains a social contract that slightly benefits them through the ever-more-egregious oppression of the minority but in no way represents a fundamental challenge to current socio-economic relations); and since option “status quo” represents only the unacceptable more-of-the-same, only option 2 represents a sincere attempt to respond to this crisis that actually addresses people’s needs and concerns. Sooner or later, the left is going to get a crack at this — and until that point, we’ll be stranded in ever-deepening crises. Tragically, it is just as clear that the status quo will fight, with all of its overwhelming advantage in terms of resources, against the left’s ever having an opportunity to rectify the situation. Even as the leaders and supporters of the status quo mouth platitudes that imply solidarity with the left — the convention that just ended in Philadelphia is now the most elaborate confirmation of this transparently deceptive behavior — they’ve yet to meet the corporate lobbyist they’re willing to shun. Let’s return now to the small issue of humanity’s insatiable appetite for self-destruction. From what I can garner from the internet, lemmings are truly adorable — and no, they do not have an innate “Logan’s Run”/“Heathers”-esque suicide drive. Rather, it is our phenomenally creative (and destructive) species that has made lemmings into such a powerful metaphor for our current condition. (Lemmings have earned their reputation because they are willing to suffer tremendous casualties for a higher purpose, much like Grant’s Army, which, of course, is anathema to Clinton’s supporters.) Apologies to all real lemmings for the insulting association, but the metaphor is too useful to abandon. It is slightly strange to dub Clinton a zombie. There’s been much delicious writing on how contemporary “zombie mania” (“The Walking Dead,” et al) reflects our world of soulless 70-hour workweeks. But this is no paradox. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presidential candidate, refuses ever to die; as such, she is the perfect queen zombie. After all, it was the Clintons who, at the very time that they claimed to be progressive, designed this deathlike life for the American middle and working classes. Sadly, Hillary’s nomination is proof that historical fact cannot “gain traction” without active assistance from “old” media. No amount of reiteration, on digital outlets and alt-media alike, of simple historical truths — like that the Clintons are the all-time greatest heavyweight champions of neoliberalism — has been able derail her.
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