Saturday, January 09, 2021

President Biden, Storming Washington, and What Kind of America Do We Want?

The Republicans have lost two important seats in Georgia and as a result, will lose control of the Senate. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell will now be the Senate minority leader. Democrats are already in control of the House. Trump has held off conceding the election, though it's clear that Biden is the victor. Trump is expected to concede, but doesn't have to say that Biden won "fair and square". That's because it appears that he didn't. But there's a bigger story being played out here.

Americans have had mounting doubt about the legitimacy of elections going back to at least George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000 (remember "dangling chads"?).  Hillary Clinton's defeat in 2016 sparked another round and launched a nearly four year investigation into alleged Russian collusion and a rigged election, amplified by the media, which was at least partially complicit.

 Ultimately, it was proven that not only was there no Russian collusion, but that the whole story was  concocted by the Clinton-Obama camp to discredit Trump (which also goes to show the extent those in power will go to keep power. I dare say they will go much further); an opening salvo to destroy Trump's credibility.

Now, with the 2020 election over, we're being told that China this time was directed involved in the election results by the Right.  We're told that the voting machines were rigged; that fake ballots were used; that the dead rose from their graves and somehow voted for the Democrats; that the vote counts stopped as soon as the Democrats had enough votes to win. Meanwhile, the victors, the Democrats, are telling us that the election went just fine. That our elections can't be rigged unlike the results in 2016.

Is any of it true? To be honest, I don't know. I've seen a lot of footage which reputedly shows illegal vote counting in process. I've read numerous articles about the reliability of some of the voting machines. We know the "Russian collusion" of 2016 was a hoax at taxpayer expense.

Frankly, I see no reason to think the claim of Chinese involvement is anything but utter garbage. Why would Russia or China try to destable the country when we are quite able and willing to do it to ourselves? It's just something else to cause us to doubt the legitimacy of our electoral system.

But here's the real issue. Americans, especially on the Right, have long believed that the we're losing our freedoms and I agree, although perhaps not to the extent that they do. We are certainly not a Constitutional or democratic Republic any longer. We are a defacto Corporatocracy, controlled by an small group of Oligarchs. We are a surveillance state which is just one major crisis away from becoming an all out police state.

We no longer feel we have a say in what's going on (academic studies conclude that's pretty much the case. Congress and the Presidency follows the dictates of the 1% and a relatively few very powerful global corporations). Therefore, we feel threatened. We have come to believe that we have only two arrows in our Constitutional quiver---the ballot or the bullet.

If we can no longer trust the ballot, the only remaining option is a revolt. Could it happen? Yes, it's certainly possible. However, with the tools of the surveillance state already in place, it would be hard to pull off. I don't think, however, that we are expected to pull it off. Historically speaking, the larger and more complex a society is, the more difficult it is to topple.

The best examples of successful overthrows of governments are the so-called "Rainbow Revolutions" of Eastern Europe; the "Pots and Pans" revolution of Iceland; and, of course, the Second Revolution in Russia following Gorbachev. The uprisings during the "Arab Spring" are another great example.  Even the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, while apparently unsuccessful due primarily to the COVID outbreak, merit close study as does the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989 in China.

These were sustained protests aimed at key government centers. They were largely non-violent since the State is always looking for an excuse to declare martial law and call out the National Guard or military. The protests sought to disrupt not just the operation of government, but the personal lives of those in power; to make it nearly impossible to function or for them to go or do anything.

They are also disregarded the official media which serves the interests of the Status Quo. The media's job is to divide the opposition into as many factions as possible in order to render it impotent. That includes manufacturing events to pit the various groups against each other (which the media has already been doing for awhile now). It is to discredit or vilify the opposition and its leaders.

The State will do everything possible to disrupt and infiltrate the opposition that they can. In the U.S. they've been doing that going back to at least the 1920's they infiltrated the KKK, Odd Fellows, the Socialist Party of America, unions, and other groups. During the 60's and 70's, it was the anti-war movement, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Black Panthers, the Civil Rights Movement, the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Women's Liberation Movement, and so forth.

They threatened and attempted to blackmail MLK, Malcolm X,  Cesar Chavez of the National Farm Workers Association among others. Wonder whatever happened to activist unionism? Wonder no more.  It was "defanged" like all the other groups which posed a threat to the Status Quo. Heck, more recently they did it within Occupy Movement and the Tea Party.  The singular goal of the Status Quo is to maintain or expand the power and control of the Status Quo.   

Naturally, I'm not proposing anything. I am, however, saying that when people no longer have faith in the government; that when they no longer believe their vote counts, then the State leaves no option for the people they will, like a cornered animal, strike out, be it Left, Right, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or whatever. I'm sure those in power are keenly aware of this, just as I'm equally sure they are prepared for such an action by the people.

Those in power will use patriotic sounding words like "our democracy", the "People's representatives" or "doing the People's business". They will tell us that protests against government "aren't who we are". That we are a nation of laws except they fail to mention that there are two sets of laws. One for them and another for everyone else. That speaking up is "Un-American". They will act surprised by any protests or acts of resistance. Perhaps some of it will be actually true. It's so hard to differentiate their lies from the truth anymore. 

Nevertheless, those in Washington are largely out of touch with what the average American endures, let alone those among the working poor or homeless. Anything to tug at our heartstrings so that we back down. Anything to obfuscate the corruption of government and acumination of wealth and power. It's the silk glove covering the mailed fist.

People, regardless of political ideology, race, gender, or religion, must wake up to the fact that this is not "our" country any longer. The ruling Oligarchy has near absolute control of America. One percent controls as much wealth than the bottom 90%. The inequality gap is the widest of any industrialized nation. Our healthcare and educational systems are among the worse. Our social safety net is inadequate at best (we rank toward the bottom when it comes to infant mortality and child poverty).

Most of our well paying manufacturing jobs have been outsourced overseas. We're now largely a low paying service economy.  Unions, once the backbone and voice of the Working Class are mute.  Our infrastructure is crumbling and yet we spend more money on the military that the next ten nations combined, including Russia and China. We are taxed without input. And now, even our supposed national voice---the election process itself---is no longer reliable.

There's an old curse---"may you live in interesting times". I'm sure the next four years will be interesting times without a doubt. The only question is what, if anything, can we do about it? What, if anything can the American People---Left or Right---do restore or rebuild the America we want to live in; that we want our children and grandchildren to live in? The answer is up to you.


"The Top 0.1% percent...owns about the same wealth as 90% of America"

U.S. Defense Spending Compared To Other Countries

How Does the United States compare with child well-being?

Addressing Child Poverty: How Does the United States CompareWith Other Nations?

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