By Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ February 6, 2021
Before saying anything about America, the necessary ritual is the equivalent of a reluctant bow to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for removing Donald Trump from our daily lives. That beautiful absence is restorative and unique in American culture, a culture long dependent on defining beauty as more, sometimes selectively less, but never an empty space.
May that public space, identified as Donald Trump, remain forever empty. But that absence, however wonderful for our mental health, brings nothing to our cascading problems. The arrival of a competent and traditional administration in the White House means that all the crucial things that should have been done to control our largest disasters are now being implemented.
The reluctance of the ritual bow to Biden and Harris is a sign, I think, of increasing cultural maturity. Both are products of failed political and economic systems. The nagging critical question is whether they realize the extent of those failures.
While the dominant feeling that the Trump regime’s massive corruption, incompetence, and lurch into fascist racism was apocalyptic and unique for the nation, there is the nasty, suppressed realization that Trump wasn’t all that unusual. The persistence and size of the population still groveling for salvation at the feet of a third rate wannabe dictator shines the light on the truth of that suppressed realization.
The absence of pubic adulation for Biden and Harris, beyond the required media fantasies and exaggerations, is explained by the pandemic rules, but that is not true either. Our reality si is much grimmer.
A working analogy would be the relief at removing a neighbor’s large, smelly, barking, and whining dog chained just outside our bedroom window. Unfortunately, those neighbors are brutal, aggressive, mentally unstable, and criminal. It’s good that the dog is gone, but the far bigger problems are harder to solve.
Forgive me for not throwing a party for the disappearance of the junkyard dog. Biden and Harris are busy cleaning up the street and enforcing public sanitation rules. How far are they willing to go to eliminate the problems?
Hauling away the garbage and arresting the slowest gang members caught threatening people and trashing the local community center should happen but doesn’t deal with the causes. In this analogy, Biden and Harris are closer to the local mafia removing the scum that gives the ruling crime family a bad name. The extortion and protection rackets continue. Nothing much changes.
This is the background concern that so many had had through the Trump nightmare and specifically when it became obvious the Biden was the only acceptable candidate to remove the Trump infestation. That Biden is a far better person than Trump is not in question but also not relevant now.
Good management in a bad system produces better results but doesn’t do anything for the failing system's self-destructive goals. The pandemic is finally being dealt with as it should. Dealing with the destruction that it brought amplified by the Trump regime's incompetence and psychopathology is foundational to any hope of survival of the United States in the simmering American cauldron.
Even the positive indications that Biden has realized, or been made to realize, that any pretense of Republican Party legitimacy is wasted effort is doubtful given his neoliberal and military imperialists' appointment. All we are seeing are tactical adjustments with no strategic change.
Our reality is that the neoliberal order, having sapped the mass populations' livelihood in post-industrial countries, has no plan beyond continued planetary destruction and accelerating the maldistribution of assets to the smallest possible percentage of the population.
That this is failing in all neoliberal nations leading to political collapse, is increasingly hard to ignore. Still, none of the neoliberal oligarchic elite, including Biden, have even acknowledged the slightest awareness.
Even if they recognize that there are problems, and Biden does in unemployment, growing poverty, destitution, and growing hunger, this is temporary and amenable to adequate Keynesian stimulus. That the cause is market economics's structural failure must be denied because that is the founding ideology of neoliberalism, and Biden, just as Obama, is a true believer.
The distortions caused by this are easily seen in the problems of rapid, universal vaccine distribution in a pandemic. The near impossibility of providing what is needed to every person on the planet is revealed in the insistence that market economics and its political dysfunction is not up to the task. The realization that the US military and defense industry resources must be used to keep things from bogging down with thousands more unnecessary deaths makes this clear.
This is excused as a tactical tool in a gigantic disaster. But nothing permanent can be learned. Biden’s continued denial of Medicare for All or even a primary focus on the public option for restoring Obamacare shows a blindness to the neoliberal ideology's denial of no commons or public good. Yet that is the only way we can survive the climate disaster and address the massive disaster of privation, industrial slavery, and starvation on a planet with vast unused ‘wealth.’
We acknowledge the commitment to correcting the disasters caused by incompetence and corruption and cheer the full effort to restore public health while rejoining the planetary community. Still, the strategic blindness of a failed ideology will destroy us many times over.