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Posted: August 16, 2020

US on the brink of political and moral irrelevance

Perceptions,” by Gerry Warner

Op-Ed Commentary

So, in a COVID-19 world, where do we go from here? One of the world’s foremost authors, scientists and intellectuals paints a grim picture that I’d rather not think about but can’t ignore. Let me share some of it with you. But be warned – if you think much about what Wade Davis has to say – it will likely ruin your day and maybe your future.

So, who is Wade Davis you rightfully ask? Probably Canada’s greatest thinker since Marshall McLuhan and currently an anthropology professor at UBC with a degree from Harvard as well as explorer in residence at National Geographic and an authority on ancient wisdom and the cultural impact of psychedelic substances on human society through the ages.

That’s right. Davis takes drugs; drugs from the Amazon rain forests that you’ve never heard of, but not to get high. Davis takes drugs to get wise and his wisdom has made him the author of 19 books including the best seller, “The Serpent and the Rainbow.” He’s also a documentary filmmaker of over a dozen films and speaker on the famed CBC Massey Lecture series. His fecund thinking has inspired three episodes of the X-Files and his recent article in Rolling Stone, “The Unraveling of America,” about the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating impact it’s having on the Disunited States of America, will have you reaching for your own favourite mind altering substance or the barf bag.

In short, Davis’s treatise is that COVID-19 and the disastrous down-playing of the pandemic by millions of Americans and their moronic leader will lead to the end of the American Empire and the passing of the world leadership torch to Asia just as many pandemics have caused numerous world empires to crumble in the past.

The facts speak for themselves, says Davis. “In a single season, civilization has been brought low by a microscopic parasite 10,000 times smaller than a grain of salt.”

Flattening the curve is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough, Davis says. “There is no treatment at hand, and no certainty of a vaccine on the near horizon. The fastest vaccine ever developed was for mumps. That took four years. COVID-19 took only four months to kill more than 100,000 Americans and it’s killing them even faster now.

Despite what Davis says, Russia claimed last is week to have developed and registered a vaccine already. Russian President for Life Vladimir Putin says the vaccine called “Sputnik V,” an allusion to when the Soviet Union led the space race, is “safe” even though clinical trials are just beginning. Needless to say, Western scientists and epidemiologists are skeptical accusing the Russian scientists of playing “Russian roulette” with people’s lives.

But Davis says the real villain in the piece is the mishandling of the COVID -19 pandemic by US President Donald Trump. Americans didn’t do themselves a favour when they elected a president that said household bleach was a disinfectant for COVID-19 and the day would come when the pandemic would just “disappear” on its own.

“The American president lives to cultivate resentments, demonize his opponents and validate hatred. His main tool of governance is the lie,” Davis says.

But when Trump is caught out on his lies, he does what he always does and tells an even bigger lie, a doubling down strategy that seemed to be working until his recent drop in the polls. But lies and claims of American “exceptionalism” by Trump’s conservative supporters ring with desperation echoing the political chatter preceding the fall of Rome.

The American Dream is on life support now as a resolute China prepares to take the torch of world empire as Pax Americana disintegrates in political polarization, decadence and fanatical, religious fundamentalism. Or as Oscar Wilde once said: “The United States is the only country to go from barbarism to decadence without passing through civilization.”

Davis ended his Rolling Stone piece by saying he “shudders” at the prospect of Trump winning the election in November. American morality and political integrity have fallen to the point that when an American official raised these points to a Chinese diplomat on Twitter the official, referred to the murder of George Floyd, and curtly responded, “I can’t breathe.”

The same may be true for all of us depending on what happens in November.

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist who’s breathing OK for now.

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