Over the months I’ve detailed in this blog the Federal government’s mismanagement of the pandemic. Yesterday I argued against the notion that face masks are at the forefront of some dark conspiracy to end all our personal liberties. (By whom isn’t entirely clear to me, but “them.”)
All that said, now what?
- How do we get through this pandemic?
- And once the virus threat eases, how do we deal with the fallout — medical issues, lost jobs, lost income, lost housing, lost health insurance, and more?
For most people the answer is to throw Trump out. Impeach him, vote him out — whatever, just get rid of him! OK. Let’s say this happens. Let’s say that Biden wins in November and takes office January 20th. That would be nice, like finally pulling out a splinter. But it won’t change anything fundamentally. The current problems with Trump and the pandemic are an interesting extreme, but in a broad sense this is an old story.
Trump was elected because he was going to fix things and bring change that people needed. Despite eight years under a popular liberal Democratic president, in 2016 people were still unhappy. The average working family still hadn’t recovered from the “Great Recession” of 2008-2009. The stock market was soaring and the official unemployment numbers were low, but this masked the reality of most working people’s lives. Many were working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. And this continued under Trump even before the the pandemic and shutdown.
What’s happening now has been going on for decades, and it’s getting worse. The Pew Research Center reports that “today’s real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation) has about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago.”
Will Biden change all this? I see no reason to believe he will — or even can. The two parties have run the show these past 40 years. In the 60 years between 1960 and today, the two parties have split their time in the White House roughly 50/50. If they were going to do something we’d see it by now. They haven’t, and it’s time to stop expecting they will.
We Can’t Keep Rearranging the Deck Chairs
It’s time to stop rearranging the deck chairs and realize the ship itself is our problem. In this case, the “ship” is our economic system — capitalism — an inherently unequal and unjust system of economic classes. At the top is a ruling class, comprised of several hundred families, with wealth so vast it’s difficult to comprehend and the power this bestows. This class basically owns for a living. The working class works for a living. They labor for a wage and most couldn’t survive without it for more than a few weeks or maybe a few months. What they produce is sold for more than they’re paid. The difference — profit — goes to the owners.
That’s a basic simplistic snapshot. It gets more complex as you go deeper, but this is starting point. Most of people reading this are working class at some level, some probably better off than others but I doubt anyone is independently wealthy. I don’t expect anyone reading this belongs to the few hundred families at the top.
All that said, now what?
Nothing fundamentally changes — not for the good, certainly — regardless of which party is in power. It’s clear by now that neither the Democrats or Republicans have the will or means to fundamentally improve things. It’s also clear the ruling class has no intention of doing so either. If anything, the ruling class and two parties are in greater disarray and more dysfunctional then we’ve see in our lifetimes.
It’s time now for the working class to run the show. Under socialism, the majority class — working people — would run society in the interests of the majority. I’m sure this sounds outlandish to some. But here’s choice: Continue as we are now and worse, guaranteed, or put our faith in ourselves. As I’ve noted, most of people reading this are working class at some level.
All That Said, What Now?
Henceforth this will be the perspective of this blog on political matters. I will seek to expand on what I’ve said here tonight. I don’t do this to be provocative but rather to help point a way forward, because the path we’re on now is a dead-end.
I’m student and teacher simultaneously. I became a socialist before college, but my politics are eclectic. I’ve veered back and forth for years. Maybe it’s the curse of being a Gemini, but there’s a certain advantage. I can see the world from various vantage points, and identify with many at a gut level. You can call me a lot things probably, but dogmatic isn’t one. I don’t align completely with any person, group or current.
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