Once again Americans were recently treated to another lapse of gravitas on behalf of President Biden during the celebration of the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll. Aside from having to have his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, remind him to wave to those in attendance at the Roll’s opening, Biden was once again steered away from the unwashed press by his handlers. During his free-range time, Biden was asked a question about Afghanistan and Pakistan by a reporter, but before he could answer the costumed Easter Bunny present at the event came over and led the president away.

In our gilded age of presidential memery, this latest media-dodge blew up the Twitter-sphere as people wanted to know who was the person inside the bunny costume- Kamala Harris? Jen Psaki? Donald Trump? It was later revealed that the person inside the costume was White House Director of “message planning” Meghan Hays who, according to New York Post reporter Steven Nelson, “has gotten much of the blame from reporters for poor WH press access.”

This is not the first time we have witnessed his staff playing the role of a gentrified goon squad who have at times scolded the press for pestering the president or simply pulled him out of situations where he would have to answer unscripted questions on his own or say something his administration would have to walk back at a later time.

Our Ruling Class in “Dickety” Twenty-Two

Ever since we heard Biden utter such political lapis linguaes as “you know the thing” or “trunalimunumaprzure” during his campaigning for president, most Americans understood that Biden was in many ways just like Donald Trump in that what you saw is what you got. Whereas most people understood that braggadocio, an impromptu manner, and a salacious past came with the Trump presidency, he nonetheless did his best to adopt the gravitas that came with being the POTUS.

A Joe Biden presidency on the other hand, meant a package deal that included a lackluster political career and an endless supply of verbal gaffes and dubious homespun tales about his family life growing up in Scranton. Now however, whatever image Biden had of the kind of leader he always dreamed of being will forever be trumped by his obvious and increasing cognitive decline. A decline that has actually brought to light the phoniness of his entire political career, as he has bragged about driving an 18-wheel rig or that he was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. It is now clear that he is no longer able to separate the self-aggrandizing versions his exploits from reality.

Add to this the time he was confused and snubbed at the White House when Barak Obama came back to speak recently or when he turned to shake hands with an imaginary person after a speech in North Carolina, and it feels at though Abe Simpson from The Simpsons is at the helm of our nation with his wooden spoon, an onion on his belt loop, and stories of how back in the day the Kaiser stole the word “twenty” so they had to use the word “dickety” instead. And while there are times when we can’t help but laugh at all his gaffes and blunders, there is nothing funny about the dire path Biden’s dotage is taking us down. To say nothing of the example his enfeebled leadership is presenting to the rest of the world.

Moreover, it is not just Biden whose mental and political acuity are past their prime. Recently Senator Diane Feinstein at 88, has been asked to step down due to what is seen as her rapidly deteriorating memory. Her own staff says that they have to reintroduce themselves to her at various times, and other senators have said that she forgets the names and states of her colleagues, even if she recognizes them. Or there is Nancy Pelosi who has been accused of suffering from dementia due to her verbal gaffes and occasional incoherent speaking. Not to mention the large number of our elected officials who are 65 and older and refuse to retire from public service despite growing further and further out of touch with a rapidly changing world.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It, and We Don’t Feel Fine

The Strauss-Howe Generational theory states that history goes through a continuous series of four phases or “turnings.” The first turning is the High when a new order begins and takes hold, followed by the second turning the Awakening where people tire of the conformity of the order and begin question it. This leads to the third turning the Unraveling when the institutions and understandings we all used to accept and trust begin to fall apart or cease to functioning properly. Finally comes the fourth turning, the Crisis, a time of upheaval where the old order crumbles away to make way for a new one.

In their 1997 book The Fourth Turning, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe laid out what our crisis would be like,

“Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Criss mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire...[then] Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and the twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.”

Thus whether you want to call it the fourth turning, Thucydides Trap, or the fulfillment of R.E.M.’s song “It’s the End of the World as We Know it (And I Feel Fine)" our nation is reaching a breaking point that we can all see coming but lack the resolve to do anything about it.

Moreover, the coming conflagration will be a spiritual one as well as political. The City of Man and the City of God will square off against each other as Christians who shout “we have no king but Caesar” will rebuke and reject the last faithful remnants of our Christian culture. In our post-Christian zeitgeist though, it would probably be better to describe the coming malaise in terms of Ragnarok or a Wagnerian Götterdämmerung, i.e. the “twilight of the gods.”

Except in the case of many of our elderly and out-of-touch elected leaders, it is not so much the twilight of the gods as it is the twilight of the clods. They are the ones who many Americans don’t trust, don’t like, and don’t vote for. The ones who run a bloated and gelded political system, knowing full well that it is only the ignorance of their constituents, the exercise of sheer power, and offering the veneer of stability that they can remain in power.

But history shows, ála the Strauss-Howe theory, this cannot and will not last. The time is coming when, as W.B. Yeats wrote in his poem The Second Coming, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” There is little that can be done to avert the coming “Crisis”, as both sides of the debate think the solution to our troubles is just to do more of what they have already been doing. All you can do is prepare accordingly, and then pray, watch, wait (cranking up the R.E.M. wouldn't hurt either).

Photo Credit- ABC News