We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the last war

There’s nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by the bye
And a parting on the left
Is now a parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

The Who (1971)

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Has anyone else noticed that Donald Trump and Barack Obama are essentially the same person? Or, to be more precise, simply different masks on the same face of unaccountable power, the real rulers of America?

The difference between Obama and Trump is like the difference between Pepsi and Coke.

Obama (Pepsi) was the choice of a new generation sick and tired of the way things had been going (neo-conservatives, endless wars, struggling economy, no hope for the future). Obama ran on the promise of Hope and Change™ and Americans were eager to move on and embrace a progressive future with our first-ever Mocha-colored Man in the White House.

Trump (Coke Classic) was the choice of heritage Americans sick and tired of the way things had been going (neo-liberals, endless wars, struggling economy, no hope for the future). Trump ran on essentially the same promise of hope and change and Americans were eager to get their country back and Make America Great Again with our first-ever Orange-colored Man in the White House.

Pepsi and Coke spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to market their products—products that are essentially identical. Both Pepsi and Coke contain roughly the same ingredients: carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, phosphoric acid and caffeine. Both rot your teeth and contribute to obesity and diabetes.

And this is the reason both companies spend so much money on marketing and advertising—because they have to convince hapless consumers that there is, in fact, a difference between these products. So, rather than focusing on the beverage itself, they create an image made entirely of bullshit through  psychological manipulation, the distortion of our perceptions and the exploitation of our desires and fears. This is what is known as branding and what the scumbags engaged in marketing and advertising get paid to do. They sell you on a phony image, empty promises and made-up lifestyles. They convince you Pepsi and Coke will make you happy and improve your quality of life. What these poisonous concoctions actually do is the exact opposite of what they promise.

It doesn’t really matter if you drink Pepsi or Coke. Either way, you are getting the same swill in a different package. It doesn’t really matter if you voted Obama or Trump. Both promised hope and change. Americans, desperate for change, hoped both candidates would deliver as advertised. In the world of marketing, nothing is as advertised.

There really are only a few substantial differences between Obama and Trump, but there are a disturbing number of similarities. In some cases, they only appear to be opposites, but more akin to mirror images of one another. Opposites in a complimentary way, like the Chinese yin and yang. Two sides of the same coin. The presidential equivalent of Goofus and Gallant.

Both Obama and Trump have murky backgrounds. Was Obama (a.k.a. Barry Soetoro) really born in Hawaii? Do we know for certain who Obama’s father was? And what about Trump…or is his real name Drumpf? Is he truly a successful, self-made businessman, or a rich bully exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger Effect because he fell ass-backward into money and privilege?

Both men ascended the national stage with very little in the way of a political track record. Obama was largely absent as an Illinois state senator, and Trump probably had at least as much political experience schmoozing and bribing local politicians in the course of his real estate wheeling and dealing. Neither had any experience at all in Washington DC, much less in national politics or international diplomacy.

Both Obama and Trump were popularized and propelled to victory through a marketing strategy exploiting the Cult of Personality phenomenon. Obama came out of nowhere, while Trump was already a famous TV celebrity. In both cases, there was hardly any focus on substance, such as their intended policies, their positions on issues important to Americans, or their actual qualifications to become Commander in Chief. Instead, mass media, propaganda, spectacle and celebrity were employed to create larger than life caricatures, exaggerated and grotesque. As with all caricatures, the images of Obama and Trump that were created were utter misrepresentations of reality.

Like the empty calories and complete lack of nutrients in Pepsi and Coke, neither Obama nor Trump has anything substantial to offer starving Americans. Neither seems genuine nor sincere. This is most obvious when we look at how Obama and Trump communicate. Forget about what they say and instead consider how they say things.

Obama infamously read from teleprompters. He seems wholly incapable of speaking extemporaneously. There are many examples of Obama stammering, stuttering and staring in awkward silence when the teleprompter suddenly stopped working. He appears more like an automaton than a genuine person.

Trump communicates in the opposite way. He only ever seems to speak extemporaneously, and is incapable of sounding even remotely presidential, much less dignified. The few times he has read a prepared (not by him) speech, he sounded stiff, robotic and insincere. Since the campaign ended and Trump became president, he has primarily communicated through Twitter. How do we even know he actually writes any of that stuff?

Regurgitating prepared statements read from a teleprompter is as bad as snarky, rambling Tweets in incomplete sentences at 3 a.m. Neither demonstrates intelligence nor sincerity. Both Obama and Trump say little of substance, and what they do say often sounds like a glib sound bite crafted by someone else.

The marketing and advertising of branded products involves a copious amount of shameless deception and bold lies. The fact is, you can’t deliver on a lie, so ultimately people are going to be disappointed. Pepsi did not herald a new generation, and there was nothing classic about Coke Classic. We believed a made up story and bought into a vacuous image that left us in worse shape that when we started.

You’re doing a great job!

Just following your lead!

If you recall, Obama had a Democratic majority in Congress for the first two years of his presidency. He had an opportunity to deliver on the change Americans hoped for, but like everything else in the U.S. government, things in Washington DC don’t work the way they do outside the Beltway. For example, the majority of senators needed to overcome a filibuster is 60, not 51 as in a normal majority. The Democrats never had more than 58 senators, so their “majority” was frequently not enough to ram through many of those changes. Of course, the Republicans were blamed for “obstructing” Obama’s efforts. Obama even went out of his way to “work with” the Republicans, which infuriated many of his supporters and actually exacerbated his inability to do anything he promised.

During his first two years in office, Trump has had a Republican majority in Congress. Rich people and corporations got tax breaks and us little people have had a few laughs. But is anything going to be done about the opioid crisis? Are Americans going to get that wall they voted for? Sadly, no. You see, poor old Trump’s hands are tied. Why, just this week, he claimed he doesn’t have a “big enough majority” in Congress to do what needs to be done. So much for the art of the deal. The Democrats are blamed for obstructing Trump’s efforts, despite the fact that Trump has been working with Democrat adversaries, even going as far as to praise the likes of Chuck Schumer. Anybody seeing a pattern here?

So, which did you choose—Pepsi or Coke? Which marketer’s lie did you buy? Have you figured out that it doesn’t really matter which one you prefer—you are just getting the same thing in a different package? Either way, the same group of people profit.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

As Americans, it is time to admit that, indeed, we have let ourselves be fooled, again. The only real hope for change is this: That Americans finally realize Obama and Trump are mere products that were created, marketed and sold to us by the same (((merchants))) that control every key institution in the U.S., including the government itself. Presidents Pepsi and Coke were installed not elected. Americans were tricked by the illusion of actually having a choice—exactly the way advertisers manipulate consumers to buy products—without our even being aware of what was going on.

Obama and Trump are little more than constructs, not genuine people. They are actors playing the same role and they serve the same purpose: to further polarize the American population. The goal is to divide and conquer. Both are part of the same agenda to destroy America. This is the only change that is coming.

For America, there may be very little hope left at all.