It’s been two weeks since Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to concede the election. Wonder if she used her rollover minutes.
Against the math, the polls, the demographics, Trump is now transitioning from troll to big kahuna. Some pundits argue that voters who identified for months as “undecided” knew they were voting for Trump all along but were afraid to admit it. Trump didn’t make their hearts go pitter-patter, but one look at Crooked Hillary turned them into stone.
Baudrillard had no faith in surveys, opinion polls or questionnaires. Pollsters don’t objectively gather information; they look for (and subconsciously elicit) answers that confirm their own ways of thinking. But the amorphous political collective–which includes you and me and everyone–known as the Masses has grown weary of all the poking and prodding. We resist the incessant demand to “rationally” decide and “truthfully” register a definitive Yes or No.
Trump supporters who refused to be counted weren’t conflicted but clever. They messed with the media, played the system. We all have to live with the results, and Trump’s executive decisions, now and into the un-foreseeable future.
In 1996 Jean-Claude Romand was sentenced to life imprisonment. Two decades prior to his conviction Romand was a promising medical student who failed his second-year exams. Instead of retaking the tests Romand set up a double life in plain sight. He presented himself to his family and friends as a successful doctor and medical researcher even though he wasn’t qualified and held no medical post.
Romand became a husband and father, turning to shady property dealings to support his family. Eighteen years into his double life, Romand feared exposure and killed his parents, wife and children. The case, which calls into question the foundation of personal identity, continues to baffle police, psychiatrists and philosophers.
Could Hillary Clinton, ashamed of her defeat, convince her family and friends that she won the election?
Here’s the plan. On inauguration day she tells Bill she’s leaving for the White House. “I’ll be back in eight years,” she says, gathering her pantsuits. “There’s leftover lasagna in the fridge. If the FBI calls let it go to the machine.”
Instead of DC, Hillary heads for NYC and a date with destiny. She joins Beyonce’s world tour with a fresh perspective and a new Gmail account, ready to turn a political lemon into Lemonade.
America’s fate took a sharp right turn last week. Was electing Donald Trump our destiny? Or another random occurrence in an absurd universe? Or the logical result of intricate causal relationships that began with the Original Thought in the mind of the Unmoved Mover?
Baudrillard liked to write about destiny and seduction. It’s silly to speak of an individual’s destiny, he said. We have a collective destiny with every living being and every non-living object in the world.
But each life has a double life. “Each individual life unfolds on two levels, in two dimensions–history and destiny–which coincide only exceptionally” (Impossible Exchange, p. 79).
I have my biological life, the physiological stuff of my existence, which allows for the development and expression of myself as “subject” over time. But my fate lies beyond my individual choices, in the mysterious inner-workings of a destiny I can neither name nor change. Baudrillard calls this double life my “becoming-object” or my “becoming-other.”
Many folks see their lives in linear terms. They embark on paths they mistakenly believe are straight, their goals attainable if they stay focused and plow ahead. But paths diverge, lines intersect. GPS recalculates.
Seduction, in Baudrillard’s world, has little to do with amorous pursuits and more to do with our secret desire to be led astray. We seduce ourselves and each other. Objects seduce us. We long for a shove in unexpected directions.
Donald Trump seduced American voters. The election results seduced the pollsters. We don’t know where the county goes from here. History is a poor substitute for destiny, which is here before you know it.
Donald Trump just cockblocked our old friend Hillary Clinton from the presidency. To liberals across the country I hereby raise a soothing glass of Moloko Plus imported just this morning from the place where everybody knows your shame, the Korova Milk Bar.
Hallucinogenic milk: it does a body gooooooooooood…