by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ March 15, 2021
A US president's delivering a massive stimulus and recovery package that will save millions of people from disaster and poverty is difficult to deal with. This isn't normal. There are rumors of this kind of thing happening in the past but not in most people’s lifetime.
Biden has problems and is far too committed to an imaginary world of a functioning US government with two parties. I think that delusion is slipping away and his protests against eliminating the remnants of that world are perfunctory nostalgia. Let’s hope he continues to get real.
The best sign of that is Biden’s approval rating at 57%, with the Investors Business Daily IBD/TIPP approval of 64. But that is not where we should be looking. Our focus would be on how he can shape new order in America.
The most important thing in Biden’s first policy speech pointing to real change was a simple statement that has been absent from American politics for almost fifty years. Our government is us. It is not someone else despite over forty years of the Republican Party attempting to define our government as something different and alien to justify minority rule.
No wonder they have gone fully fascist and authoritarian, desperately working to suppress democratic elections and worship at the feet of a narcissistic psychopath with failed delusions of grandeur. The recovery that matters in the long term is our ability to control our future by educating ourselves to govern our planet.
Recognizing that we are self-governing is the critical step to a working sustainable, and equitable system. If we denigrate the government, we are denigrating ourselves. If we allow any part of our government to become corrupt, we are corrupt.
Democracy is a challenge. It requires knowledge and work plus imagination and empathy. That is why it has always been only a vague goal in America. For the last forty years, there has been less and less talk about democracy in America. Since 1980 when Reagan announced that government was the problem, democracy has been under consistent and increasingly vicious attack. If we are the government and the government is the problem, we are the problem and must be suppressed so a few may have what they want.
As talk of democracy faded, exceptionalism grew in importance. Those who never cared for democracy, or anything but their own wealth and power, had learned that attacking democracy went against two centuries of defining the US as a democratic republic, however inaccurately. Rather than attack democracy that is inclusive and egalitarian, they needed to replace democracy with something based on denial and exclusion. Democracy would then fade away, and autocratic rulers selected by the rich and powerful would become the heroes of the people who no longer needed to think.
The Reagan conquest produced and implemented these policies for their interest but with growing sophistication. Free public higher education was broken, education was increasingly subject to traditional authoritarian religions.
We now are living with the success of this effort. Millions were tricked into worshiping a psychopathic criminal so they could be emotional and thoughtless, making them exceptional. The thoughtless have no irony and little humor. They rely on hatred and self-pity.
The word democracy is rarely used in America, now, except as an accusation toward another country. Another symptom of irony being dead to those who rule. It is never used internally as democratic actions almost exclusively protest racism, voter suppression, or economic exploitation and must be denounced as criminal.
Because a democratic government requires openness, knowledge, compassion, empathy, and an active population monitoring its government bureaucrats' actions, all of which are the exact opposite of authoritarian kleptocracies, it is not adequate to suppress the word democracy. Our rulers have taught us subliminally that democratic systems are weak because they support the undeserving and weak populations. We are racists, after all.
Fascist groups seeking to maintain and expand their power do so by creating an ideal racial and ethnic group threatened by democracy. The oligarchic rulers must be seen as the protectors of the ideal racial and ethnic group while doing little or nothing to protect that from the oligarchic elite’s own greed and schemes for ever greater dominance.
The fascist rulers are not stupid. They have been trained by the 20th-century products of authoritarian regimes, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Mao’s China, and the US, which developed the propaganda tools that work for that segment of the human population most easily manipulated. Because the base constituency must feel threatened and fearful, their constant exploitation by the elite maintains their precarious existence. That precarity is, simultaneously, blamed on theft by the other oppressed populations.
To the chagrin of the professional media pundits, the important point is that no ideology exists in this. The people who rise to the dominance of a fascist group are driven by greed and power rewards. They have no interest in policies, ideals, or any vision for the benefit of anyone but themselves. Many are subject to personality disorders that make this literal. The only limit is maintaining a minimum illusion of protection for the people they attract to avoid being pulled down, imprisoned, or killed, although rare.
The effort to find a policy in the antics of a Trump, Mitch McConnell, a Ted Cruz, or any other Republican ‘leader’ is hopeless. The fact that the Republican Party had no platform for 2020 leaves no doubt that they don't need a platform. Power is the platform and the result.
Since the beginning of the civil rights movement in the late 1950s, we have been taught that the weakness in a democratic system comes from allowing others to act as if they were equal and had rights. In the fascist world view fostered by the manipulators, rights are not endowed universally. Still, they are privileges granted to a natural ethno-racist elite by the rulers of that elite who have control. Status is ranked by privilege, and the greatest privilege is to suppress and exploit others.
Suppose there are no rights except privilege from power and wealth; people who are not powerful and wealthy have no rights. This is the final reaction and attempts to reject the European Enlightenment ideals of universal rights as the basis of human society. The reactionaries are a minority, and that is an amazing historical fact. But they are too big a percentage to be ignored.
In history, this is feudalism or an abstraction of tribalism. In modern urban society, this is the neighborhood gang that is only controlled by competing gangs. Historically these systems are not stable. Fear is essential, and if fear subsides, even the least capable people will begin to question why they suffer to support their protectors. This is why warfare, conquest, and aggression keep both fear and power growing with all the related distractions.
A truly democratic system maintains the ideal of well-being of all within that system as all are the system's rulers. This is based on the longest period of human existence and is a memory from our hunter-gatherer past. I see the Athenian experiments in a democratic rule as an attempt to restore that type of system in a small city-state structure, but it failed. Ownership, slavery, and accumulated wealth made it impossible to mention the scaling of human desire to larger populations and regions.
All of this is understanding with historical knowledge that a truly democratic system requires. It is not simple, and is it not dyadic. It is why the modern, 20th-century forms of working democracy for the well-being of a population became democratic socialist systems. These are modern communal systems, but the will must see a much more limited range of differences across the population. For fascist or feudal personalities, this is anathema.
The patriots and real Americans don’t need to think. Their ignorance makes them strong. But that takes a special kind of person who is constantly threatened and must always react.
Democracy was never really a part of America except in Norman Rockwell's illustrations for magazines. Populism among farmers angry at the exploitation by banks and racism to avoid any competition or need to learn different ways were the things that drove America below the old aristocratic elite.
The decision point is upon us all as we face the planetary disaster of human-generated climate change. We cannot escape, and our brutal economic and political monstrosities cannot keep us alive in the world they have created.
We are moving rapidly to a virtual world with the technical capability to make direct democracy real. This moves decisions of consequence much closer to the people. But we have been programmed not to survive. We can take direct control of our government technically. Still, we must first understand that our societies can only survive as communal systems with direct ownership of our planet, all of its resources, and all that we produce.
No system from the past will work, but our communal past elements give us hope for a sustainable and viable future. But that is not where were are, and we must first educate the reactionary parts of our population for that hope to become a reality.