I posted this on my Facebook page, but Facebook is a horrid platform that offers little in the way of a pleasurable reading experience, and what I have to say isn’t going to be very pleasurable anyway, so in order to abstain from compounding the pain of these things getting in the way of what I wish to say, I’m also posting it here. It is long, but it is my hope that I can shed some context on why the U.S. has reached this point in its politics.
Donald Trump is a symptom of a greater disease.
The rich skating on their taxes.
Police violence escalating into riots.
Black Lives Matter.
Federal troops in major cities attacking protesters.
Demonization of the poor.
Demonization of BIPOC.
Extra-judicial imprisonment and assassinations, including those of U.S. citizens by our own government.
Bloody wars overseas where thousands of bombs were dropped on innocents.
Kids locked in cages.
None of these things started with Trump. They existed before he ever thought about running. Most of those policies were carried out by Democrat and Republican administrations. Hell, BLM formed under Obama. Mass deportations? Obama had the single largest number of deportations in history, until Donald Trump. The concentration camps? Obama. Federal troops sent in to quell protests? Goes way back to the union busting days in the U.S. during the industrial revolution.
Donald Trump is a right wing populist, who appealed to the base fears of conservatives. Decades of social conditioning, of a failing education system, of a Democratic party moving further right to pick up “moderates.”When the DNC and Bill Clinton pushed Trump as part of a pied piper strategy in 2016, the idea was to showcase a fool, a man who was clearly out of his element. The problem? It gave Trump the focus he wanted to say his awful things, and to make his appeals that the Democrats didn’t care about the working man, didn’t care about the rust belt, wheat belt, or the Bible belt.
These are your classic god fearing, single issue voters, and they wanted a man who would push through their moral imperatives. Most politics are projection, where people put their hopes and desires onto a single candidate, and imbues them with those qualities. So for evangelicals, Trump became a godly man fighting against evil.For evangelicals craving power, Trump became an avatar for a further melding of church and state.
Add to that a disinformation campaign, a debacle of “but her emails!” starring James Comey, and Hillary’s lack of engagement with the people in parts of the country who felt overlooked by the Dems yet once again, and those people who felt abandoned pushed Donald Trump.Now, none of this could have happened without the Electoral College. Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 4 million votes. People were told to vote and they did, including myself, who voted for Hillary, and we came through, but the Electoral College dismissed our voices and installed Trump.
In the past 4 years, Trump has amplified the dissonance in politics to levels we haven’t seen in ages (people forget Woodrow Wilson pretty fast). Trump is an excellent representation of the United States as it is now: fat, comfortable, arrogant, narcissistic, and enabled by racism and unrestrained greed.
This is our America.
Our history is replete with Donald Trumps at each level of society.We’re here because this is who we are. This is what we’ve been, it’s just Trump uncovered it, laid it bare for all to see through his sheer incompetence. I’m glad you’re angry. I’M angry. We’re here because our oligarchy decided subtlety was for suckers. Now they’re offering you Joe Biden as an alternative, because here is the biggest issue:The Republicans have become a party of fascists.
The Democrats, through either their inaction or unwillingness to push against that oligarchy, enable fascism.These two parties create a ratchet effect, where the Republicans move right, and the Democrats prevent us from moving back to the left. Instead, they work to appeal to what they believe are “moderate” Republicans.
This whole “we’ll work on issues next election, but this time we have to vote out X or our democracy dies” narrative has been pushed for generations. MLK talked about it, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Stokely Carmichael, hell, even Hunter S. Thompson made a remark in his work “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail” back in 1972. He said:
(begin quote) —“That’s the real issue this time,” he said. “Beating Nixon. It’s hard to even guess how much damage those bastards will do if they get in for another four years.”The argument was familiar, I had even made it myself, here and there, but I was beginning to sense something very depressing about it.
How many more of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame, but “regrettably necessary” holding actions? And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?
Now with another one of these big bogus showdowns looming down on us, I can already pick up the stench of another bummer. I understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing this year is Beating Nixon. But that was also the big thing, as I recall, twelve years ago in 1960 – and as far as I can tell, we’ve gone from bad to worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same.”— (end quote)
Sound familiar? It should. It’s the same narrative offered by the same two parties about every single election in your (and my) living memory.
More than 90 million people sat out the vote in 2016. Why? It wasn’t because they were lazy. It wasn’t because they were stupid. It wasn’t because they were privileged. They weren’t a basket of deplorables. They weren’t losers. They were disaffected. They knew that no matter which corporate stooge was elected, they’d continue to be poor, continue to see their needs ignored or pushed back in favor of “a better time” and they believed their vote didn’t matter.A couple of million people voted for a 3rd party. They believed that they should vote, but couldn’t stomach either of the rotten candidates they felt they were faced with, and so found a platform they believed in. People who were used to having only two choices called it a “wasted vote,” or “throwing your vote away,” because in the United States we do everything the hard way and ignore everything but the two options presented.
Why is this?
Because we’ve been conditioned this way. We were brought up in school to learn about the two parties, what they represented, that they were always the loyal opposition and always worked well to serve the country, and the people. Our heads and hearts were filled with patriotic words, and sentiments, and ultimately we were lead to believe our nation was the beacon of freedom that emerged from the darkness of the fog of history, and became a guiding light for others.
It’s all bullshit, but it’s very effective propaganda. We learned to distrust commies, we absorbed that whitewashed history where Columbus was a hero, and MLK protested peacefully and got the whole country to step back and realize it had made a mistake. It was a narrative of complacency, comfort, privilege.
The people who vote for Donald Trump still believe in that idea, and they believe it coupled with the blessing of evangelicalism that Reagan helped foster, and which George W. Bush used to great effectiveness. We were warned what would happen if evangelicals gained a foothold, but while the Republicans used those tools, the Democrats tried to appeal to them. Watch the back and forth between the two parties. The Republicans will talk about how patriotic and god fearing they are, and the Democrats will double down.
Even at last night’s debate, Joe Biden was the law and order candidate (as I said he would claim to be), because Trump fashions himself the law and order candidate. Donald Trump said Joe Biden supported BLM, Biden responded with a retort that he supported the police.Every time the GOP claims god and country, the Dems will double down. Our ratchet effect in action, making sure we can’t go back to the left because there’s this unquantified Republican moderate who will side with the Democrats and eject the GOP from office.
In 2008, a gentle speaking, charismatic Barack Obama ran on a very progressive platform. He said “yes we can.” He promised sweeping changes, and he rode a high tide of popular and electoral victory. He did not stay progressive. He immediately moderated. He won again in 2012, but not by nearly as much, and while liberals still love the guy, a reading of his history shows that outside of his aesthetic appeal, Obama was very much a neoliberal warhawk who made life a living hell for people in the Middle East, lied to the people of Flint, Michigan about their “clean” water, introduced a healthcare plan that, while was a definite step up for people who had pre-existing conditions, was just a rebranded Heritage foundation/Romneycare health care plan that benefited insurance companies over everyone else.
We’re not here because people are stupid, or lazy. We’re not here because racists have taken over everything. We’re here because this is what we’ve always been. Donald Trump is representative of the United States. Not all of us, most assuredly not all of us, but he is representative of the people who will always make their voice heard, the tyranny of the minority who know how to mobilize and install someone who will address the fears of that minority, and why? Because the more silent majority is given options that do not represent them, that do not help them. So they sit out, because they know that whether it’s Joe Biden or Donald Trump, their lives will still be for the worse, their needs will still be ignored.
This is the most important election in history for the tenth time in a row, at least. People have grown tired and wary of that narrative, because they know it has been said over and over and over again, and yet things continue to get worse even when they stepped up and voted.
Because voting, while an important civic action, is only part of the solution. It is the easiest part of our civic duty, the one that requires the least input. Every 2-4 years, we get up off our couches, and make a few choices. Then we feel like we changed the course of the nation.
Pretty good deal, if it were enough, but it’s not. Direct action, mutual aid, these things are much more crucial. These methods are what voting requires to have any effectiveness, and yet we consistently fail to follow up.George Carlin said it best:
(begin quote) —“But there’s a reason. There’s a reason. There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never gonna get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions.
Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying, to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want: They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking.
They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. Thats against their interests. Thats right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table to figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money.
They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you, sooner or later, ’cause they own this fucking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. And by the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table is tilted folks.
The game is rigged, and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people — white collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on — good honest hard-working people continue — these are people of modest means — continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t care about you at all — at all — at all. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on; the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday. Because the owners of this country know the truth: it’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”— (end quote)
We don’t have to be this way, but I promise you that as long as we allow it to continue, as long as we accept a “lesser of two evils,” we will only receive evil in return, and it will continue to get worse. If we stay on this path much longer, it will never get better. It will never get better, and we’ll have run out of time before global climate change has decided for us what path humanity gets to travel.
I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but there are many reasons why we’re here, and it’s a complex issue that I’ve only brushed on. If you’re going to vote for Biden, do so, I understand, but Trump’s not here because of stupid, lazy people, he’s here because this is who we’ve always been as a nation. Come on, we founded the whole nation on the notion of men being equal, but it only applied to white, wealthy, land owning men.
What a country, eh?