In a stunning reversal, the American establishment has withdrawn its endorsement of a dystopian future characterized by death, destruction, and wide scale suffering of an unprecedented magnitude in the country and around the world, (not necessarily in that order).
Prior to this announcement, the establishment was enthusiastically backing the collapse of all ecosystems and the irreversible decline of human existence on planet earth; with the ample assistance of the deferential mainstream media, it was supporting an unmitigated apocalyptic nightmare as the undisputed front-runner in the race for the future. But in a dramatic move that political strategists on both sides say could be a game-changer, it will now be throwing its support behind the insurgent candidacy of sanity and survival, an underdog in a contest many believed would result in the inevitable victory of the unremittingly bleak status quo.
"It was not an easy decision," says an establishment spokesperson who asked to go by the metonymic title of the establishment. "In spite of the considerable lure of sustainable ecosystems and the collective survival of countless species, including our own, we had to weigh all that against obscene wealth, absolute power, and unimaginable luxuries that we can only have at the expense of, well, everyone and everything else."
According to the establishment, a naked worship of rampant greed in the form of extreme neoliberal policies has reliably benefitted the five or six plutocrats (or ten or twelve?) who run the most powerful country in the world. Gross inequality may sound bad, but it has also led to unfathomable individual pleasure that can't be easily dismissed.
"And look, that's a compelling reason to lobby for the end of the world. To the extent that personal power on an incomprehensible, deifying scale is desirable, then endorsing total annihilation might just be the most practical approach for us. Let's face it, if we are really hell-bent on decadence and detachment from the masses of people harmed by our depredations, then we have a clear choice before us now," argued the establishment. "However, and I don't say this lightly...what we have finally realized is that our own self-interest may not be best served by being dead, a recognition we had previously overlooked."
This acknowledgement constitutes a clear rebuke of the conventional wisdom that the tiny fraction of selfish bastards ruining the world are immortal and so can render the earth wholly inhospitable and yet still exploit its resources for their insatiable appetites. "In the end, we too are human" confessed the establishment in a rare moment of unguarded candor.
It went on to give context for its seeming about-face. "As the establishment, we are generally not idealists in temperament but rather hard-nosed realists who look at the decaying environment and fraying social fabric as it is, rather than as the 99% percent of the world's people wish it could be. We see clearly our own supreme advantages in this putrid system, and we like what we see. We have long embraced the sorts of incremental changes that would not outpace the prolonged wallowing of our own privileged elite in the last dregs of pleasure from its superior perch atop the human experiment. But the frenzied dance of excess is almost over and when the music stops, we don't want to land on ground zero."
"That is why we are now standing with the radical survival of the species and backing it against the incumbent challenge of chronic misery and an accelerated process of inexorable extinction," the establishment explained in their ground-breaking announcement. "Yes, we had previously referred to justice, security and sustainability as 'pie in the sky' fantasy, but we've since changed our minds and decided that we would actually like to eat some (or most) of that pie rather than end up starving and dead like everyone else once unchecked capitalism explodes and kills all or most of the earth's inhabitants. In essence, we don't want to die."
The major wrinkle in this startling development is that the establishment may have a hard time convincing many Americans that peace, prosperity and justice are even possible. "We have conditioned them so thoroughly to accept whatever arbitrary parameters we set as the natural horizon of all attainable futures that we now face the considerable obstacle of their own cynicism and apathy in getting them to accept the society we deserve."
Of particular concern to the establishment is the staid centrism of the boomer generation which exists in stark contrast to their erstwhile revolutionary reputation. After a recent showing of the film "Where to Invade Next," Michael Moore's latest artistic attempt to spark a political awakening, the establishment interviewed a diverse group of sixty-something professionals who stifled a series of yawns as they reacted to the film's portrait of social welfare programs in Europe and North Africa. "Yeah, but he's really only offering upbeat anecdotes; I have a friend from London who has to pay really high taxes and can't even get the elective surgery he needs," complained one woman whose face was suspiciously devoid of wrinkles.
"Right, and at the end of the day," shrugged a graying man wearing an expensive sweater, we have the system we have and all this leisure time and free stuff just won't fly in America." When the establishment suggested that maybe the popularity of socialism was on the rise, and that more socialist programs might even be a good idea in the U.S., the man and his companions retorted that Americans "just weren't ready for good ideas in the current climate."
"It's frustrating how little these people think of their fellow citizens, but that's the logical result of the divisive rhetoric we once shamelessly promoted night and day in the news cycle: a cowed populace that doesn't appreciate the power of class solidarity, multiracial coalitions and grassroots social movements. You'd think the unwashed hordes had never heard of Howard Zinn." The establishment shook its head ruefully and continued.
"We recently launched a campaign to combat political alienation and cynicism by handing out copies of The People's History at select screenings of Moore's new film." However, in a sign of the steep uphill battle the establishment faces in converting cynics to idealists, at one showing in Boston, Massachusetts, two audience members were reportedly overheard having a conversation that may be emblematic of the attitudes of older Americans.
"I already read less than half of that book in college. Nearly fifty percent of once was enough."
"Anyway, do you know if Al Gore is going to announce an endorsement?"
"No, but did you hear what side Katy Perry is on?"
"Basically," lamented the establishment, "these older people are distracted by a thousand useless consumer items and pop culture preoccupations. When it comes to frivolous pursuits, the millennials can at least multitask and they know how to create memes and rebel at the same time. But their parents would rather sit on their asses and play with their phones while the whole ship is sinking. Many of them won't even lift a finger to fight climate change, and the fact is we can't do it alone. We need them. We can't let them give up on the future!"
After this emotional outburst, the establishment paused and regained its steely composure. "Bottom line: we intend to ride out the good times for a while longer and we won't let the stupid herd spoil it for the entire miniscule class of oligarchs that comprises an infinitesimal percentage of the world's population. If we have to pipe John Lennon's 'Imagine' into every mall in America 24/7, we'll do it. Whatever it takes! All we need is a new propaganda of hope to provide a counter-narrative to the old propaganda of complacent despair. Any suggestions?"