by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ November 12, 2020
We need to think about our future. Not just the future of the United States of America or the world but our future over the next two to three years. This is difficult, everything is difficult now, but this needs to take the whole complex picture and visualize it as a personal and family action plan.
I write extensively about the future, not as an end product but as a trajectory. The future will be a product of trends and forces with varying degrees of momentum, just as the past is historically analyzed for forces and specific events that shaped our present. At any point in time, both the past and the future are human constructs based on projections forward or backward in time.
I’m very aware that few people realize this or bother to think about it. In America, we are in open conflict about the existence of any future, having established a cultural pattern of ignoring the past. Within that reality, we face a crude movement supported by a surprising number of people to repeat the worst mistakes of 19th-century nationalism and early 20th-century European fascism. Those trends, reactions, and mistakes produced two world wars, two dangerous models of totalitarianism, and devasted many areas of the planet.
In our post-modern networked world, we spend much time worrying about closed information bubbles with increasingly distorted and artificial realities. The entire planet has been mesmerized by the US election that has failed to provide any workable policies or options while dragging the entire planet into growing panic at the insanity of the Trump Party with the inanity of the Democratic opposition. This comes down to the irrational versus the rational.
A major problem with periods of fundamental change is inappropriate language, exacerbating confusion as human society breaks along the lines of change versus reaction. This causes the conflict to be argued in terms of a previous age. The result is a violent and emotional statement of “right” or “left” in the US case with the leadership of the fascist movement declaring the opposition as fascist.
One side argues against the horrors of ‘socialism’ while the other argues against racism and violent nationalism—language and concepts of truth collapse in these settings.
The reality is not a dispute between 19th and early 20th-century political dogmas but between religious visions of reality predicated on change versus stasis in a social form most beneficial to specific racial or ethnic groups. This tends to be reactionary based on fear versus future-oriented hope assuming rational change for the benefit of all. The information bubbles are the future, frightening and difficult to predict, and past, based on existing, often already failed social forms.
This produces a split between the generally inarticulate reaction to change triggers such as identity in terms that are irrelevant and anxiety-driven arguments for planetary and human welfare. There is no common ground and only increasing confusion at the collapse of communication.
Social and cultural distortions, institutionalized racism, and racist elitism are fully institutionalized within the American disaster. The progressive failure of the 18th-century model political system to give dominant power to rural state populations has left the great mass of the population completely powerless and alienated. The only exception is the majority of the urban, educated elite. These are also the people most dedicated to building a just and survivable future but recognize that they are also both privileged and powerless against the oligarchic elite.
I’m trying to provide a clear sketch of the reality we face to avoid saying we are screwed. The reality is what it is. The US's political structure has failed for a larger percentage of the population, and those most relieved with the removal of an incompetent opportunist are also very aware of the inevitability of the failure of Joe Biden. Four decades of convergence have created a two-party state with no policies other than predatory capitalism and survival of the fittest with some token handicapping by the ‘humane’ party that is so little as to be enraging to those consumed by the system.
As with all forms of fascism and authoritarianism, these systems devolve into personality cults and death cults. Fascist racism and denunciation of the other, leading to the need to kill all but the truth, foreshadows a desire for death as Emile Durkheim found a hundred years ago. There is no future there.
The Republicans fall into policyless fascism. The rise of dictatorial opportunists such as Trump is the US system's logical product. Denying the need for structural change, other than reducing some suffering and the worst oppression, is not a solution. Pretending that another election, after Biden, will suddenly set things right is hopeless. Simultaneously, that the entrenched neoliberal, oligarchic elite cannot be removed without revolutionary change guarantees that, despite some good intent, Biden will only make things worse.
The population of those who are oppressed and exploited will only increase as planetary climate and pandemic conditions get worse. As many fear already, the next fascist opportunist to sell snake oil may be considerably more competent though no less evil than Trump. We’re not even sure we have gotten rid of Trump, and we must think of the next.
That is what we must anticipate. As many young people are already doing, I would strongly suggest that the two or three years we may get of relative calm under Biden and Harris be used to plan your escape. The complexity of technological and social evolution will need to save us from the climate disaster that we have created and is now beyond our control to halt. That must be faced. But some countries and cities are doing much better at handling these stresses while working for the planet's total good.
It is hard moving to another country, and many compromises must be made. It is also expensive to obtain residency. But thousands are now doing it. Do the work and make some decisions about alternatives. That could be very important. If a non-violent revolution somehow happens to correct the nation’s structural failings you may enjoy your planned escape country as a vacation site. But if things go downhill faster than hoped, you have a plan.
The usual people will say you must stay and fight the political battles at the local and national level. That is your choice but think about what another four years of a completely deadlocked Senate and a growing fascist and white supremacist movement in many Trumpistan states will mean for the next national election with no significant political or economic change.
It is time to plan for reality and not an illusion.