Many alleged pundits have weighed in with their opinions of the whys and wherefores of the booty kicking taken by the Democrats this election cycle. As a would be has been, I feel it imperative I post my opinions on this issue onto my beloved blog. Even though no one ever reads this blog I do this simply for my own self aggrandizement.
The Democratic party is an urban party. Lots of people know this. It is why it has been so easy for Republicans to gerrymander. They are able to cram Democrats into gerrymandered districts for geographic reasons that appear logical and make “common sense”. The sheer numbers of urban and inner suburban voters vs. Rural and exurban voters has kept the Democrats viable and mostly dominant in urban districts, but in deep trouble in other districts. Nationally they are strong but locally they are weak.
The Northeast, West Coast and Northern tier of Midwestern states have more urban centers and/or philosophically progressive populations than the South and West. The Democrats are creeping into Mid Atlantic coastal states, because of their increased urban populations, and into the southwestern border states because of their increased minority populations. The exception is Arizona, which has large numbers of Conservative retirees. These states are getting more purple. The Republicans are making headway into states without a preponderance of urban centers, but who have progressively minded citizens. They are also working their way into states with large and devastated urban centers with rampant unemployment and strife. They flip these progressively inclined rural voters and desperate urban voters through fear, turning those states purple. Thus we have our swing states, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. Developing swing states include Texas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan. All of these states display some level of those divisive factors.
I believe the emotionally based electoral decisions of these voters are clearly informed. Rural voters hate welfare and they hate both perceived urban elitists and destitute city folk. I feel urban and minority voters hate Republicans for their essentially backwards looking conservatism and their embrace of social and economic biases. The bizarre thing about this hatred is that it originates in the exact same unequivocal American value that “all men are created equal”. But the concept of equality in America is vigorously contested. The equality rationale of the rural voter is because everyone is equal everyone should pull their own weight, by working hard. For them inequality is other people getting stuff for not working, when they themselves are working hard. For disgruntled urban workers equality is everyone having a job. Inequality for them is there being no jobs available for them, when others have jobs. Minorities see equality as equal rights. Inequality to them is others enjoying rights that they deserve, but do not have. Urban voters see equality as everyone being able to be who they are regardless of any social factor. Inequality for them is people who demand they have biblical social values and rigid, conformist gender identities. Of course these reasons are over generalized and there are certainly other factors and multitudes of crossover contempt at hand here, which I have not addressed.
I have thought about this a great deal, as you may have guessed. It is my contention that people get hung up in their particular vision of reality. They need to expand their appreciation of the complexity and diversity of the many issues that define us, as a people and a nation. The existence of a country that is concurrently homogeneous and culturally diverse seems contradictory and impossible. However, I see America as less a melting pot than a pot of rich soup. There is one overriding essence, a distinct and definitive flavor. But there are also the distinct individual flavors of the various ingredients. The oneness of the soup depends on the inclusion of all the ingredients.
We need to be taught that these issues, plus many others, are intertwined and interconnected, with each one influencing others. We also need to be be made painfully aware that there are cheaters and fraud in everything that involves money or privilege, and the fraud people see, in their anger, isn’t true for everyone they despise, just the few who would cheat at anything. We must accept that there are exceptions to all rules, but the exceptions don’t destroy the rules. There will be people who break your rules just as you may have broken theirs. It’s easy to point your focus at the salient exemplar, the Willie Horton, the welfare Cadillac mom. It’s harder to shine light on the stand up, play by the rules, good neighbor, who doesn’t care to be in the spotlight in the first place.
We could all do well to open ourselves to a larger sociopolitical universe. Rural voters could realize that not everyone on SNAP is a drug addict who doesn’t want to work and just sucks at the government teat. Disgruntled urban workers need to know that it is not government alone that has abandoned them and their crumbling cities. They need to know that a cruel combination of natural and contrived economic factors has left them nearly helpless. Minorities need to be aware that they are not the only Americans whose rights are being trampled. They could be more powerful and effective working together with other social justice activists, instead of staying trapped in their issue silo, sequestered from potential allies. Urban voters have to understand that, yes, they are elitists in many ways and there are more ways to skin a cat than they think. They must consider whether their brand of liberalism has a positive or negative impact on the nation as a whole. They need to develop empathy for the rest of the country, instead of judging them. Finally, I think we must somehow overcome the subtle yet incredibly effective propaganda that has kept the American people divided against itself. The joy of knowing truth has been replaced with fear inflamed by lies. The power of knowledge has given way to despair born of confusion. The art and psychology of persuasion has been honed to a fine point, and it cuts indiscriminately.
I believe nearly everyone, on both the left and right, thinks our nation is failing and our Democratic Constitutional Republic is in real existential danger. Where our great divide is, our unbridgeable gulf, is in our perceptions of the cause of this epic fail. To me it is simple. The right thinks government is the cause and the left thinks it’s wealthy oligarchs. The right thinks we are becoming a Socialist Dictatorship and the left says we are already an Oligarchy. I think the reality is a collusion of these factors, rather than one or the other. This is how we are pitted against ourselves. As long as we blame each other we do not notice the real villain at work, and we are unable to use our united power.
From my seat in the stands, albeit the nosebleed section, I see a nation where Plutocrats rule us from on high and remain hidden from us through the interference run for them by their minions. The focal point, the big boy that nobody trusts is Wall Street. The Plutocrats don’t trust it because of its volatility and entrepreneurial vitality. They can’t control it enough to assure themselves the massive earnings they crave. However the Plutocracy controls the capital that fuels Wall Street enough that, using the profit generated from that capital, the market can virtually purchase government, all three branches to a greater or lesser degree. Government doesn’t trust Wall Street either but it is nearly powerless to affect it’s stranglehold on the economy, or its ability to buy and influence government. Government though does have the power to dictate what hoops the people have to jump through to relate to and live in society. Since a plutocratic government does not exist for the people we do not like it no matter which party is in power. After a few years of very little getting done (they are allowed to get a few things done just to make us think they care) we get weary and elect the other bunch, getting tired of them in turn and electing the other guys again, ad nauseum.
Government, being the face of what is seen by the public, is what causes the ire of the conservative base. Progressives see Wall Street owning government and despise the corporations. The plutocrats are insulated by both the corporations and the government, from discovery. Very few of us ever see their machinations, their joy of being our puppeteers, their orgasms of manipulation. This hidden application of total power is by design. So the plutocrats control the corporations, who control the available money, which controls government, which controls the people. We are left to call each other names in the comments of thousands of blogs and more thousands of social media posts, while the big bosses of the big bosses do their damage and then laugh out loud over a Dirty Vodka Martini at the nineteenth hole.
Our task as citizens is daunting but not impossible. I dare say it will be left to our children and children’s children to complete it. First we must take over the government, all 3 branches, by electing courageous men and women, who will resist the temptation and influence of Wall Street, and break corporate control of government. We the people can then force these legislators, through our collective will, to change enough laws that we the people have power once again. Then, armed with renewed strength, and here is the difficult part, we must invade and infiltrate corporate boards and vote the Plutocrats’ lackeys out of power. This will require a sophisticated and perfectly coordinated effort by people with a combination of business expertise, unshakeable progressive values, and most crucially, superior skills in espionage and callous disregard for anyone’s welfare, including their own. I don’t believe anyone with that particular combination of characteristics is in a position of power today, but I have faith there will be many in the near future.
I also have faith in our children. Through evolution they are revealing daily just how dramatically they exceed us. They have knowledge and power we do not even understand, and they know love in a way we have lost from centuries of forgetting how. There is no other way to win back America for Americans. It must needs be cruel and vicious. They have been cruel and vicious for decades. I’m not saying it is the right thing to do. It is the only thing to do. Through taking over the corporations we can use that power the Plutocrats fear, that spirit of progress, to defy their will and cut off the head of the beast. Their amassed insane wealth will then be meaningless. Having nothing of value they will be powerless, and they may as well liquidate all their money into hundred dollar bills, buy a fleet of obsolete luxury liners, load them up, and dump it all into the ocean. It may be preposterous, it may be ridiculous, but this, dear friends, is my dream.
Thoughtful and well-written.