When I started getting back into producing content, I switched from making YouTube videos, to making podcasts.
One of the first podcast episodes I did was a quick episode titled, “How Things Got So Bad in America”
And I’m sorry to
say that the state of things have only gotten worse since
Granted, we got rid of the hateful bad orange man, but only just barely. The hateful orange man showed us all how little there is standing between our civilization and total chaos, when thousands of useful idiots, mixed with a few hundred hardened neonazis, stormed the US Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of a democratic election.
And they almost succeeded.
But I don’t want to spend this episode belaboring what tragedy we only barely avoided. I want to focus instead on what it was that we won, by electing Biden.
It isn’t much.
We still have a moribund Democratic party that doesn’t understand the material conditions that are driving the rise of fascism, and the deepening of the political divide in America.
A stunning example of this, is that Nancy Pelosi, in an effort to stop the rise of fascism, invited Corporate Demon Dick Cheney to the house floor with open arms, in a show of cross-party unity. Dick Cheney is a man almost single-handedly responsible for the deaths of thousands of dead troops, some of whom were my friends, and over 1.5 million Iraqi citizens, people I will never know, but who were still friends, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters of parents to other people who cared very much about them. 1.5 million families destroyed by US Imperialism, all for the profit of Haliburton, Lockheed Martin, and a handful of US Oil corporations who went on to privatize the world’s 2nd largest oil reserve.
Nancy Pelosi didn’t end her efforts there though. No, this woman who scoffs at the Green New Deal, who gleefully and openly engages in insider trading because for her it is legal, she also invited the cast of Hamilton to sing a song, on the 1 year anniversary of the coup attempt-- a meaningless empty guesture on par with her display at the hieight of the Black Lives Matter Protests, when she took a knee while wearing Kente cloth. She didn’t do anything to make the police more accountable for murdering people with impunity. She didn’t do anything to reform the brutal system of capitalism we are all grinding away under every day. She took a knee.
Adding to the inanity of this display, is the fact that Alexander Hamilton, much like the hateful orange man, believed that he should be president for life. Nancy Pelosi’s guesture was so empty, and so meaningless, it failed to even carry a poetic message.
This complete disconnect between the ruling class and the reality that the rest of us face rears it’s head in other places, most notably, the COVID-19 pandemic, which we are now starting our third year of.
Today, I saw multiple stories about how ambulance services are no longer functional in both urban and rural settings, due to the number of first responders who are out with breakthrough COVID infections.
Health officials are encouraging people to get a ride to the hospital, because if you call for an ambulance, it may never come.
Of course, with ambulance rides are a vital service. With a severe injury, stroke, or heart attack, every second spent in transit has a negative impact on health outcome. And being that they are almost entirely provided by for-profit entities, they have long costed tens of thousands of dollars for a quick trip to a hospital. So ambulance rides have long been out of the financial reach of most Americans-- or they are just one of the devestating bills that cause health related costs to be the #1 cause of homelessness in the USA.
But even if you do get a ride to the hospital, you might just have to wait outside in the parking lot to die. Hospitals are now overwhelmed with COVID cases, surpassing 100% capacity, with healthcare workers burning out and leaving the field due to unrelenting stress and unbearable working conditions, like 12 hour long shifts, back to back 12s... and with healthcare workers dying of COVID, or suffering from Long-Covid, or just being sick and tired of hearing “thank you” from elected officials with no public policy to back up their words… many are just leaving the field altogether.
Just like Pelosi, kneeling with her kente cloth, the 8pm applause for healthcare workers has been an empty guesture backed by no material support, no actual change to the root causes.
And that is ultimately what liberalism is. Liberalism wants to maintain the status quo, even if that status quo is further and further distorted by the right wing, as it becomes more and more openly fascist.
And it is this same property of liberalism that has allowed material conditions to deteriorate so badly, to create so much fertile soil for fascism to take root.
Health and safety are indisputably public matters. COVID has demonstrated this to the point of absurdity. People who refuse to wear masks are a danger to others around them. People who are able to vaccinate and choose not to, are a danger to everyone around them. And the drive for profit, and worship of the profit motive by both conservatives and liberals, that allowed the COVID vaccine, which was developed using public money, to be held in private under intellectual property laws, and prevented it from being produced on a scale that was capable of vaccinating the entire globe thus ending the spread of the virus.
If we valued human lives more than we value profit, we could have ended this as soon as the vaccine was available. If we as a society valued human lives more than we value profit, we would have had a public healthcare infrastructure that would have allowed the anti-vax skeptics to see a doctor and get better information without incurring massive bills. It’s fairly widely known at this point that most all people who are anti-vax conspiracy theorists, do not have health insurance and cannot access medical care, or a doctor’s opinion.
Capitalism keeps undercutting itself, and destroying our social fabric. A year ago, Texas was thrown into an icy hellscape when the power gride went down, and pipes that were supposed to be insulated, but weren’t due to budget cuts, burst open, leading to massive water shortages.
And this past week, I-95 around Washington DC was clogged with traffic when a minor snowtorm was met with a completely unprepared and underfunded DOT, that didn’t have enough equipment on hand to clear the roads, which led to cargo trucks crashing and blocking the roads. Compounding the crisis, was the atomized individualiism of the DC beltway motorists, who all believed that rules apply to other people, that they were very special people who get to break the rules, (much like the deeply narcissistic bad orange man) and in a bid to get ahead of their neighbor and win the game of traffic, pulled their vehicles into the snowdrifts in the breakdown lanes, and managed to get their vehicles so badly stuck that they completely blocked access for emergency vehicles for over 24 hours.
One the flip side, we have seen the power of collectivism-- as working class people around the USA are forming unions at a pace unseen since the 1950s. Starbucks workers are unionizing. Union workers are going on strike and fighting back against cuts and clawbacks from their corporate bosses. And 4.5 million people quit their jobs last November alone, creating a low-key general strike, and increasing the demand for labor.
In response the CDC released new quarantine standards, at the request of the CEO of Delta Airlines, that shortened the quarantine period from 10 days to 5 days. There was little to no science backing this up. But there was a labor shortage that backed it up.
In Portland Maine, a City Council made up of all Democrats, in a meeting that they held remotely due to the danger posed by COVID, voted to repeal hazard pay for front line workers. Only one councilor voted against it, and called out the hypocricy of the others.
The only thing that is important to both liberals and conservatives, is to make sure that the profit machine keeps humming along uninterrupted.
And with both Democrats and Republicans fighting against working class people to make sure that the profit machine continues to hum along uninterrupted, no matter how many of us die.
And unless we band together and fight back, things are just going to keep getting worse and worse.