by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ August 12, 2020
We’re stuck with the pragmatic, and we need to deal with it. When your nation is the primary embodiment of planetary civilizational collapse and survival is in doubt, there is much to be said for pragmatism. Kamala Harris is an energetic, pragmatic, progressive, and experienced senator. That may be just what we need, so why does it feel, somehow, lacking?
Pragmatism is not emotional or dramatic. After the steady decline of the US over the last fifty years culminating in the disaster of the Trump regime, you would think we have had enough of emotion. Trump has been nothing but emotion with layer upon layer of disgust, anger, and fear as idiocy, corruption, and greed rule. Pragmatism is weak tea after that.
The American leadership of Western Civilization has exhausted itself with an ever more simplified quest for excitement. Over the last fifty years, this quest eliminated all goals except speed, power, and greed. Bigger, better, newer evolved into more.
When the structural weaknesses of capitalism, the economic origins of ‘more’ as a unitary goal, failed to deliver for the masses, many of them opted for indirect ownership by the elite and denial for everyone else. Envy, greed, and bigotry are strong emotions that are unifying at a tribal level and can be satisfied by witnessing suffering among the denied and belief that the deserved reward requires only faith.
The replacement of actual economic benefits with a magical substitute explains the unique survival of traditional religion among the manipulated in America. While traditional beliefs have been in accelerating decline for two centuries among more educated and successful populations, they have survived in an odd political form in the US. Over the last forty years, this evolved into a politically encouraged Prosperity Gospel that ensures the right of the believer to economic prosperity at the expense of all nonbelievers.
Early 20th century, and later, millenarian cults evolved among oppressed peoples caught in colonial conquest and poverty to motivate suicidal attacks to restore the correct order and expel the foreign conquerors. This locks in a cult core group that is unreachable by logic.
In a reactionary mix of ignorance and greed, emotion is the only reward available. All of us watching the rise of neofascist and pseudo nationalist movements have struggled to understand an irrational group who has gained power in our societies surprisingly. We are fighting raw emotion, reinforced greed, and willful ignorance in a collapsing political system. Emotional responses to this are satisfying but ineffective.
The Trump regimes complete failure to control COVID-19, and the rising level of climate disasters has stripped away any illusion of secret competence. The world is in rapid transition, so the bet on a traditional white politician fronting for a nonwhite female successor is probably the best possible combination to prevent the complete collapse of the US as a nation-state. But this will not be an emotionally rewarding campaign.
As has already been stated numerous times, we are permanently aground on the rocks known as the Lesser Evils. Recognizing that and seeing Biden for what he is, a vehicle for a safe choice new generation successor is essential. This choice of candidates is not a revolutionary move but a careful replay of what Obama should have been but didn’t have the energy or passion for achieving.
I cannot escape the fact that these are tentative gestures toward the future. Obama would have been a great warm-up act for a transitional new leader, but the sabotaged election of 2016 totaled the electoral process. We all know the question is if the country can be salvaged.
Rather than a fresh new start getting the nation back on the road to survival in an increasingly unfriendly world, years of work patching and restarting the environmental and social support systems is all that can happen. The unspoken promise is that Kamala Harris will take the reigns of Joe’s horse and spur that aging nag into a run for the roses. Well, it’s a hope. She could do it, but we have to get there and then see what happens.
The foundational reality is an entire Western Enlightenment-inspired nation-state system that is collapsing around us courtesy of the climate disaster and related pandemics. We have the beginnings of an evolving administrative system based on variations of modern democracy growing from years of social media organized demonstrations.
The Portland counter to Trump Gestapo tactics and the continuous George Floyd Black Lives Matter linking to planetary sympathy actions are examples of what will happen. As racist and related abuses are consistently attacked directly by people making those things unacceptable, the focus will continue to shift to metropolitan, regional government as legitimate.
Pulling the plug on the old national governments in favor of planetary alliances of metropolitan administrations will become evident as the only means of survival. The former government structure has failed or is failing, even in semi-socialist states that the most advanced currently. That these are all no longer relevant in a post-capitalist world is the path to sustainable well being.
We must push for Harris to expand beyond the safety of her success in the old police state into a future that includes all people planetwide. That is a massive challenge, but we don’t have time for anymore redoes of sabotaged attempts.