There are bunches of reasons, many of which gave us the consumer economy that has been so devastating to our productive selves.
Perhaps it’s tied to our failure to believe
I’m just guessing here, but guessing is what most of us do when the answer isn’t clear—and not much is clear these days. Remember grandpa reminiscing about the good old days?
Well, they weren’t so good. They were full of depressions and wars, bank failures and bread-lines, as well as hobo-camps and living under bridges. We call that homelessness today, but each is just as cold and friendless in the winter.
The difference is, things were simpler then. We looked each other in the eye and knew life was going to get better. Why? Because it always had. I remember my dad telling me that during the depression he and mom were walking around downtown Evanston and wanted to stop for coffee, but only had one nickel between them. But they believed and taught me to believe.
Now Joe Biden is asking us to believe
And you know what? We're not going to do it.
Belief has gone the way of change. Too many politicians asking for too many decades and no one delivering. And like the parody of the little boy who cried “wolf,” now that the wolf is sniffing at the door, no one comes to help.
Joe has a plan and it’s a good plan, but his approval rating is falling faster than Aaron Rogers’ reputation.
Our country is a wreck from useless wars and outsourcing our productivity to China. Democrats and Republicans are co-conspirators in emptying the toolboxes of capitalist governance and it’s made a few fabulously rich and most teetering on the edge of losing what they have. That’s not a great prescription for belief.
We’re scared and we have reason to be scared
When people are scared, they cling to each other and the nearest other is most likely someone who is scared as well. Either that or they don't know how deep the shit-lake is and whether they need waders or a boat.
When that happens, conspiracies thrive and the theories feed on themselves. Mobs are made up of people in fear and the first to throw a brick brings down a rain of bricks. These are good people who would never throw a brick on their own, but suddenly the rational becomes irrational, neighbors are the enemy, and a friendly cup of coffee is hard to find.
With social media (which is neither social nor media), everyone has an opinion (including you and including me). But it is shouted rather than spoken as anger and finger-pointing blurs the message.
We once had a media we trusted; Edward R. Murrow during WWII and Walter Cronkite when Kennedy was assassinated. Who are we going to turn to today to get our heads straight and our bearings in a choppy political sea? Wolf Blitzer? Don't be absurd.
Then media and politics followed the money
Three major networks (NBC, CBS and ABC) turned into thirty, Craig's List robbed print newspapers of their advertisers and the mustard of hard journalism became the mayonnaise of a child-down-a-well. The odd, the weird and the tragic drew eyeballs and eyeballs drew subscribers.
In politics, Congress made it legal to accept ‘campaign contributions’ and the fraud and corruption we decry in dictatorships became ‘honest lobbying.’ A run for the Senate cost $10 million to secure a $175,000 salary and no one wondered why. And the tragic part for America is that the numbers make sense.
To ‘invest’ is to put money, time and interest in something of future value
Public opinion shows that the American Dream has passed its ‘sell by’ date.
Sorry Joe, but young America doesn’t believe you. And older America doesn’t give a shit, because they won’t live long enough to pay the bill for their environmental ignorance. They want their cocktails by the pool, a steak medium-rare and both hashed-browns and a girlfriend on the side.
You had an answer, Joe, perhaps cobbled together from Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders’ message , but your own party hadn’t the courage to see it down to the wire. Joe Manchin swung wide and whipped a dark-horse named Personal Interest down the final eighth of a mile to take home the roses.
Personal Interest is the name of the game these days
Check out George Carlin’s piece, it’s A Big Club and You Ain’t In It.
The unfortunate result of that is that we won’t get the 15-30 million union jobs for states like Joe Manchin’s West Virginia, won’t see a wounded (and left for dead, by the side of the road) infrastructure repaired, won’t take the nation solar and absolutely won’t get decent healthcare in our lifetime.
But don’t despair, the CIA, Pentagon and State Department are prepping for a made-up and totally useless war with China to suck up $10 or $20 trillion we might have used to Build Back Better.
No $10 trillion to fix up our own country. Sorry ‘bout that, all you unemployed and under-employed past members of a robust middle-class. But the military-industrial criminals will be okay financially, so at least we have that working for us.
That and the fact that Joe Manchin, Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham represent the current political reality ought to make you sleep well at night.
Image Credit: WVNS Salon.com