American Death
American Death lutherhill/

On December 23, Donald Trump pardoned four US mercenaries (euphemistically called "security contractors") convicted of killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007. On Christmas Day, a white American suicide bomber, Anthony Quinn Warner, pulverized a whole street in downtown Nashville for reasons that only the QAnon universe can make sense of. Warner was even under the impression that his death and destruction would make him a hero like Kyle Rittenhouse, the boy accused of killing two BLM protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

And at present, Trump is spending his remaining days in office on an "execution spree," as some news outlets have called it. And on December 22, 3,300 Americans added their lives to the nearly 325,000 Americans who have died this year alone from COVID-19.

Death, as you can see, is the order of the day. And those who say calling Trump's party, the GOP, a death cult is hyperbolic have lost touch with reality. What else gave Trump the second-largest amount of votes (74 million) in the history of presidential elections than death itself? On election week, nearly a quarter of a million dead Americans did not matter for 46 percent of American voters.

The foolishness of the left was to believe that death was an issue for the vast majority of Americans. It's clearly not. And as the Covid-related death made this indifference more and more visible, many on the left turned to race and claimed that the right, which is mostly white, was sheltered from the worst of the "China virus." True, COVID-19, statistically speaking, has hit people of color harder than white Americans. But when you say 1 in 800 Black Americans have died from COVID-19, that ratio concerns 13 percent of the US population. And if you say 1 in 1,325 White Americans have died, that concerns 72 percent of the population. In short, that's a lot of dead white people.

What is going on here? Why are so many white Americans committed to this dangerous nonsense about personal freedoms and the personal insult of wearing life-saving masks? It is because, in the age of Trump, they have finally admitted that their power is not in life but in death. They have surrendered to the forces of the graveyard.

Even before witnessing the ever-growing mountain of the pandemic dead, rural white America had succumbed to the ultimate logic of their defining party (GOP) and church leaders (Evangelical nutters): death is the only power we can offer the working white classes. You do not have the power to change the government, to save the environment, to tax the rich, to cure diseases. Your only power is in the vacuum of extermination. In supporting capital punishment, the deadly policing of people of color, the military strikes on brown nations, the mass-suicidal burning of fossil fuels, the ownership of guns, one of which is loaded and is in your hand. The surrender to this darkest of powers during the pandemic was inevitable. There is a direct line from Sandy Hook to the COVID-19 corpses exiting ICUs by the thousands this week and last week and the week before that, and on and on. If this line is understood, the insistence of maintaining the American way of life during a pandemic is made all the more clear.

In the introduction of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit:

Death, if that is what we wish to call that non-actuality, is the most fearful thing of all, and to keep and hold fast to what is dead requires only the greatest force. Powerless beauty detests the understanding because the understanding expects of her what she cannot do. However, the life of spirit is not a life that is fearing death and austerely saving itself from ruin; rather, it bears death calmly, and in death, it sustains itself. Spirit only wins its truth by finding its feet in its absolute disruption. Spirit is not this power which, as the positive, avoids looking at the negative, as is the case when we say of something that it is nothing, or that it is false, and then, being done with it, go off on our own way on to something else. No, spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face and lingering with it.

This is the source from which the power of the right is drawn. And it's also why the right can easily collapse into fascism, which is a historically specific mode of politics. Fascism is simply capitalism in the mode of nativism. And nativism can only be a kind of cultural death machine: eliminate difference. When the left is faced with the power of death, we must tremble. Our commitment is to life, which is, unlike death, such a delicate thing. When the right calls you snowflake, know this is what they mean. You are clinging to beautiful life and not monstrous death.