SIMON PERRY

P1030950

Gam

FOR THE WATCH

Why Bernie Sanders is Jon Snow

 

Bernie attracts democratic socialists like Snow attracts Wildlings, but in so doing he invites the wrath of corporate America, of its media, and of its favoured candidate, Clinton.  Most believe the role of the Watch (like that of a democracy) is to defend the status quo.  They are incensed that Jon Snow (or Bernie) threatens all that.

 

In this light, every Washington Post article is a stab at Jon Snow, “For the Watch.”  

Every one of Clinton’s decontextualized headline-grabbers thrusts in the dagger, “For the Watch.”  

Every Democrat vote for Clinton is a twist of the blade and the declaration, “For the Watch.”  

 

But Hillary will not sit on the throne.  No doubt when the White Walkers come piling over the wall, the blame will be levelled at morally retarded Trump supporters, at the mythological 'Bernie Bros', at mysogonist uncivilized wildings, at anyone other than the pseudo-liberal guardians of the status quo who willfully refuse to acknowledge what is really happening in the real world.  A vote against Sanders is a long-term vote for Trump...

 

All we can do is bite our fingernails wondering whether our hero will make it as far as the next series.

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Every cultured westerner knows the story.  Jon Snow, the great Game of Thrones hero, is painfully aware of the dangers to which the rest of Westeros’ leaders remain wilfully oblivious, and he struggles even to convince his own brothers of the Night’s Watch.   The scenario serves as a parable of US electoral politics.

 

Traditional candidates battle it out like Starks and Lannisters.  Meanwhile, a menacing threat grows outside the security of the seven kingdoms.  Beyond the wall, far greater dangers gather strength while those on the safe side of the wall remain ignorant, preoccupied with petty power games.  Jon Snow needs numbers.  He is desperate for people, people to defend the wall against the danger that will engulf all others.  Meanwhile the armies that might have come to his aid are engaged in the traditional power struggles that will, in the long term, prove self-defeating. Snow is almost a lone voice, since even many of the Night’s Watch (the guardians defending the status quo of Westeros) see only danger and treachery in his leadership.

Riveted by such stories of struggle and heroism, it is natural for an audience to identify themselves with the hero. Rarely does this translate into real life, but in this electoral race the parallels are striking.  Where is Snow in North American politics?   With the Republicans, whose nature is to retreat into American tribalism, and for whom the world outside exists only to provide under-priced coffee, clothing and technology? Such folk represent the petty power games of Westeros.  

But what about Clinton?   Where does she sit in the Game of Thrones?  Traditionally, Democrats would both champion the people and favour an open-minded foreign policy.  But Clintonian Democrats?  Surely she’s the safe option.  For sure, if the status quo is regarded as safe, then Clinton is undoubtedly the only sensible option.   But Sanders has seen what Clinton will not: that the status quo has a limited shelf life, and there are already signs (among the lower and middle classes of the US) that it is beginning to crumble.

The once stable status quo is disintegrating as quickly as the polar ice caps.  And what is causing its collapse?  The very force that Clinton supports: the gradual corporate takeover of America. The corporate takeover of Clinton herself is well documented, which is precisely what makes her unwittingly complicit in the collapse of the status quo.  Of course there are no straight lines of cause and effect that make her directly culpable.  Only her quiet endorsement of the gradual, evolutionary movement towards attitudes, ideologies, laws and trade rules that are slowly destroying a once great nation.  It is not in her interest to oppose these forces; it is not in her interest to oppose such real dangers as corporate power and climate chaos.  And while Jon Snow bellows out his warnings of real danger – Clinton must deny their validity.  

10th April, 2016

Cambridge, UK

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