Our Definition of Success Sucks
by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ February 16, 2021
Times have been hard. After a year of pandemic lockdown, the inevitable capitalist economic collapse, mass hardship, hunger for many, and the endless screeching of the Trump nightmare ending in a pitiful but frightening parody of a coup attempt, almost anything is an improvement. For people everywhere and particularly those in exploited countries and failed rich countries, this is our world.
In America, one of the last bastions of national confidence, the polite transition to a new administration, however ugly the electoral battle was mauled and beaten at the whim of a narcissistic psychopath. The electoral secession survived, but we can no longer rely on it.
The final insult in an era of unending insults saw Trump disgraced, but the people's demand for his formal removal was ignored. If anyone had any doubt that the American Experiment has failed, that doubt was removed. But it was no surprise. At least Trump was temporarily silenced, and the sycophants clinging to Trump’s fascist tail now hoping to replace him are being ignored.
His silencing overshadows the incredible relief of Trump’s removal, although it shouldn’t. The desire is to hide from the presence of a delusional and violent plurality designed to protect a corrupt minority government dedicated to protecting the billionaires with white supremacy and gangster capitalism. They have been taught that theirs is the only wellbeing that matters and can be restored only by oppressing all others.
The tremendous disaster of the COVID pandemic in America continues but is critically crippled by the complete absence of any national plan to roll out the miraculous science of those vaccines' development. That stunning incompetence is being ignored for this to still feel like a success.
The Biden administration is making progress while dealing with the disastrous absence of any national vaccine distribution plan under Trump. Realizing that they had to build a plan from scratch is hard to see as good. That the best we can hope for is vaccines for all by summer, slowing the pandemic enough by this fall to declare a limited success. The death toll will mount and, we know now, will never end but only become controllable with luck. The rapid evolution of variants to the SARS COVID virus makes this a race in which we can only hope to place. We cannot win.
For America having a moderately competent administration and an experienced executive in the office feels like success. But note that the only goals are a return to some portion of what we once had.
The best Biden can offer politically is that we will not fully collapse into fascist oppression and racist terror. But there is no option to remove that threat.
Increasingly massive injections of money will prevent abject poverty from countering the economic disaster with hopes of, again, a return to an unsustainable economy that is destroying our planet and the poorest half of our population. We see that as a success because the alternative is growing catastrophe. The projected economic resurgence is not clearly articulated because it cannot last. But that is to be ignored so we can see it as successful.
For most, each morning’s political news is no longer stomach-churning with the sick fascination with Trump’s daily dose of outrage and whining, and, with an eye on vaccination scheduling and the building economic recovery package, can be mostly ignored. For Americans ignoring national politics is a common definition of success.
That such things can be felt as success bringing a sigh of relief is a sign of a collapsing world. Most everyone, I think, understands this, but we all need a break. Unfortunately, that break is, at best, temporary. The illusion of normalcy is a soporific drug that was a major cause of forty years of accelerating decline that led to the Republican fascist usurpation of power.
The question is, will Biden and Harris, after struggling with combined disasters of the pandemic, climate, and destruction of the federal government, manage to drive complete political and economic reorganization? The $1.9 trillion is a start but is still emergency repair for many of the population.
What is required is defining and establishing new definitions of cultural, economic, and political success. In America, the tragedy of 600 thousand unnecessary deaths from COVID is equaled by the same number of deaths from the absence of national healthcare.
Keynesian stimulation of the economy in depression will bring back wages and restore people to the tenuous security of a distorted and failing predatory capitalist system. Success will restore people to the precariat class that replaced the old middle class in the system, destroying the planet.
Pretending that slowing the immediate disaster and that the big disasters are, somehow, negotiable is not definable as a success. The climate disaster is not negotiable, as the climate crisis-driven freeze in the US's southern half shows. That Texas is without power is a direct result of incompetent management and the failure to maintain their stand-alone electric grid infrastructure. Fossil fuels are equally to blame.
We are down to the point that we are scrambling for something to call a success beyond Trump's removal and the reduction of his Senate stooges to minority status. That was a success but a minimal one.
Making the best of a disaster is important but deluding yourself by defining the staving off of disaster as success is a guarantee of long-term failure.
Editorial changes made correcting COVID estimated deaths in the US and syntax plus spell check errors.