Mitch McConnell’s Brief Flash Of Humanity

Caitlin Johnstone
3 min readAug 31, 2023

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

Mitch McConnell froze up in public again, the second such incident in the last few weeks.

He just stood there silently — a gentle, childlike smile flickering across his face, probably for the first time since the Truman administration.

In that moment, while Mitch McConnell’s dying brain struggled and failed to make sense of its present reality, all the dourness was gone from his face. All the downward gravitational pull from a lifetime in the DC swamp. All the seriousness. All the scheming. All the warmongering, tyranny and abusiveness.

In that moment of amnesiac innocence, you’d never be able to tell from looking at Mitch McConnell how many people he’s helped kill. How much suffering he’s helped cause. How much health and thriving he’s frozen out of humanity in his joyless facilitation of corporate dystopia.

All you’d see is a man. A cute, harmless, befuddled old man. All the dark, dense, contracted energy gone from his form in a sweet tender moment of intimate indivisibility.

Capitol Hill is where warmongers and principles go to die. It’s an assisted living facility for psychopaths — a nursing home where people who receive sexual gratification from dropping military explosives on foreigners go to wait for their decomposition. The whole place smells like night terrors and urine.

Capitol Hill is a gerontocratic command center where miserable octogenarians in wheelchairs and adult diapers keep pulling the levers of ecocide and nuclear brinkmanship like retirees at a Vegas slot machine as a final fuck you to younger generations who are still capable of enjoying life on this planet. It’s where they warehouse souls too atrophied and mummified to take a stand against the empire in order to give Americans the illusion of living in a democracy.

Joe Biden called McConnell his good friend, and of course they are good friends; they are the same kind of monster. The same variety of spent, half-dead Beltway flotsam made of corporate logos and plastic donor class dinner parties held together by nothing but Aricept and wood glue who’ve been pushing war, militarism, austerity and authoritarianism since the instant they were able to claw their way into elected office.

This is the hub of the global empire. This is what it looks like. Corrupt. Decrepit. Blood-spattered. Shitting itself. And then Hollywood perception managers come in and dress it up as something pretty.

But it all faded away in that one moment of neurological misfire. Not even a distant memory as colors, sounds and feelings swirled ineffably in McConnell’s bewildered mind.

Perhaps one day this will happen to the entire empire. The whole thing suddenly vanishing for the lie it always was, all its managers left blinking stupidly in the sunlight, reaching for tools that aren’t there anymore and word magic that no longer has any power.

Perhaps one day all the illusions will disappear like the network of conceptual constructs in Mitch McConnell’s head. Perhaps one day the empire will call upon its servants and no one will answer, and it will be left there anxiously repeating the call, like an actor trapped onstage repeating a line from the script, awaiting a fellow cast member who missed their cue.


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