The Politics of Apocalypse

By: Bill Whaley
9 April, 2020

Conquest, War, Famine…and Plague

The logic of the rebel is to want to serve justice so as not to add to the injustice of the human condition, to insist on plain language so as not to increase universal falsehood, and to wager, in spite of human misery, for happiness.” (Albert Camus, The Rebel.)


Today, we are watching on television the decline of the Republic as the Red and Blue grapple with the politics of death and life. Medical supply lines have been hi-jacked by the “alleged” free market, aka “gangsterism,” (some say the President’s own family) much to the mortal concerns of health care workers who suffer from “corporate-medical malfeasance.”


(We can see ourselves in light of Vichy France, post WWII, or America, during the Civil War. British leadership, circa WWII, neither the King nor Churchill wavered.)


Each day the highest leaders in the land gather in the Rose Garden follies at the White House to tell stories, lies, half-truths, and smother the mini truths and facts: the latest: more than 80% of laboratory, corporate medical testing facilities are failing. It’s as if the pols are replicating academic (literary) deconstruction, interpreting facts in light of ironic self-interest. If the enemy within has been identified as El Viro then the enemy without has been identified as the President, the Supreme Court, and the Republican Party of Death.


See red state Wisconsin voters sacrificing their safety to stand in line and vote to preserve the Republic, while the death-dealing right-wing Supreme Court negates “mail-in voting” and the fake President identifies mail-in voting as the death knell of the traitorous GOP: all putting power, party, and private self-interest before life and country.

We, you and I my friends, merely represent the “cost of doing business” to the GOP, the elected representatives of Corporate America. The exceptions to the rule prove the general point. Supreme Court decisions in the last thirty years have upped the ante: District of Columbia v. Heller (Second Amendment serial killing); Bush v. Gore ( Igniting terrorism in the Middle East); Citizens United, corporations transfigured into individuals re: money as speech, and the “commodification” of citizens as ciphers in a profit and loss column.


In short the Social Contract was meant as the exchange of a sliver of liberty for a slice of security. But the principles and virtues of a Just society as well as the public purse, have been transformed into a private source of income for the elite.

Meanwhile, the images and the statistics tell the story: hundreds of thousands infected and contagious; thousands of dead, thousands of courageous doctors, nurses, and first responders sacrificing their lives to try and save victims of COVID-19, CORONAVIRUS i.e. the Black Plague.


Governors, dressed in Blue, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, and California’s Gavin Newsome, (New Mexico’s own Lujan-Grisham) plead and fight the disease and the federal government on singular terms. Manhattan/NYC hangs on to life support. Newsome has turned the San Francisco decades of Aids into the virtue of experience and focused on the “nation-state’s” resources at universities, in the medical industry, and brought the finances of the fifth largest economy in the world to form relationships with friends in the East, all in search of Personal Protective Equipment.


Social and physical distancing, wearing gloves and masks, respecting your neighbor and yourself (listen up Cid’s and Smith’s) might just save your life so that we can carry on and try to resurrect the concept of a state based on these famous words, if elusive ideas from the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”


So, per Camus, we must dismiss the rage and the chagrin we feel and look askance at self and society. For this will not be our last fight with El Viro. Camus ends “The Plague” with the following paragraph:


“And, indeed, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the town, Rieux remembered that such joy is always imperiled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city” (278).


Remain alert, my friends: Be Safe. The Bridge is there to remind us of our mortal lives. We walk and celebrate the sun. This week we watched the beauty moon in full. We are all we have.