Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Americans

It wasn't until its last season that I started watching the Americans.  In an age where the actual president is being investigated as a possible asset of a foreign power, watching the escapades of two Russian spies living just outside of Washington with their two kids chumming it up with the FBI agent who lives across the street seemed more than just plausible. I watched all 75 episodes in less than 2 months.

Set in the early eighties during the Reagan Administration, the series focuses on the personal and professional lives of the Jennings family, two deep cover Soviet agents placed in the DC area almost 20 years before.  According to one of the producers, the series works different levels of reality: the fictional world of the marriage between Philip and Elizabeth, and the brutal spy world that the characters live in.

Both characters are marvelously capable of changing their appearance with simple wigs and clothing.  Even though both are committed communists, Elizabeth has the most revulsion of the American capitalist system.  Philip on the other hand, likes driving his hot muscle car and playing racket ball at the health club with his FBI neighbor.  It's not important TV but it is somehow relevant in our present world.

First, Philip and Elizabeth are truly afraid that Reagan will annihilate their countrymen.  They are keenly aware that Reagan was trading arms with the contras while illegally dealing with the Iranians, and that the Americans (with a few exceptions) are often liars and untrustworthy.

Second, they really believe that their system is better for the world, that the ideas behind their revolution are better ideas than the ideas of pure unfettered capitalism.

Today, we have a government that is even more corrupt than the Reagan era.  It is erasing gains in the environment, in social justice, and in consumer protections.  It doesn't seem to recognize that Congress is an equal branch of government.  It is  contorting and abusing the Judicial system by appointing judges that cannot garner 60 votes in the Senate, so they are confirmed with bare majorities.

And like the Reagan era, they have little relationship with the Truth.  According to the Washington Post, they have spun over 10,000 lies in less than a 1000 days. And most importantly, they have spun the Mueller Report as an exoneration of their acceptance and use of Russian aid, all the while overtly subverting the investigation.

They argue that since there was not enough evidence of conspiracy to get a conviction, then there could not possibly be the crime of obstruction because there was no underlying crime.  I would argue that exactly the opposite is true.  If you read the Mueller Report, it is clear that not only was there purposeful obstruction and lack of cooperation by the administration, the obstruction was clearly successful in  minimizing and obfuscating their many acts of cooperation with the Russians.

One could argue that they cooperated more with the Russians than they did with Mueller.

The Soviet Union that Philip and Elizabeth risked their lives to defend passed away by the early nineties, the day after Christmas in 1991.  On the previous day, December 25th, Soviet President Mikhael Gorbachev, the 8th and final leader of the USSR resigned, declared his office extinct and handed over its powers, including the  launch codes, to the new Russian President Boris Yeltsin.  That evening at 7:32 pm, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag.

Everyone was giddy.  The Berlin wall fell.  The Americans had won the Cold War.

Democracy was alive in Russia.

But within a few years, it became clear that Yeltsin was not just an alcoholic, he was a boorish clown.  And a young KGB spy named Putin rose up to create a new Kleptocracy.

And in the 2016 election, the Pluto-Kleptocracies became one. And the same attorney general who got pardons for the Reagan administration is back defending his boss instead of the country.

And, we are  The Americans.

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