Certain possibilities of progress appear to be on the horizon for the United States, but we can’t go on ignoring the kill lists, drones, indefinite detention, transformation of America into a petrol state, the continued operation of Gitmo and the still entitled class of the ultra-rich.
Despite delusional masses who still insist that they know the will of the supreme being as it comes to how people choose to relate to one another and run their own lives, gay rights and women’s rights appear to be gaining ever more traction. This is a sign that somehow, despite a mutilated education system, and the forced injection of religion into public life, a measure of rationality has infused the general debate. Although “God says so” has been a winning argument for millennia, it has never been a valid argument, and a large enough segment of the population seems to more or less get this.
The excessive power of the Christian right, it seems, has lost its grip (on at least one more level anyhow). A good argument can be made that this is, in part, due to the influence of the internet, where people are exposed to multiple points of view from far-off places, giving them a sort of cyber-cosmopolitanism that would otherwise have been impossible. And, let’s face it, when the naked underbelly of Christianity is shown to be a philosophy that would rather redefine rape than redefine marriage, the cognitive dissonance that results is going to push a lot of people away from the misogynistic, racist, slavery-condoning, genocidal God of the Bible.
Furthermore, the psychotic war on drugs, which has been one of the main drivers of a the formation of surveillance/prison/police cypto-racist state, has taken a palpable hit with the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, and the legalization of medical marijuana in Massachusetts. Despite the downsides of marijuana, and there are some, the absurdity of treating marijuana-smokers as criminals while their drinking counterparts outdo them in all sorts of brain-addled mischief seems to have sunk into a large segment of the population. Let’s face it, almost anyone you know could be smoking pot, and some pot smokers are becoming President and winning Olympic medals.
In other news, America has just barely avoided a takeover by a delusional Mormon bishop who wears magic underwear. The fact that nearly half the active electorate voted for this clown, and that many people are impressed by debate tactics that lack substance but are thick with chutzpah (Romney showed more in the 1st debate and that nearly won him the election), is one the weaknesses of American democracy that needs to be addressed.
Just one. There are others. Why is it that someone with money can basically buy an election in the United States? Why should advertising win the day? What’s with a billion private dollars going into a Presidential campaign? The system in place ensures that someone from the upper classes will rule us. What kind of America would it be if a scientist or educator could become President? What so outstanding about lawyers and businessmen that they are in tune with the needs of the people? It must be all those faces of dead Presidents they have gawking at them and shaming them into public service.
We tell ourselves we believe in democracy in America, but do we? Again and again, we are forced to choose between two candidates who are several degrees removed from the lives the average American leads. Why is there not more of a conversation on whom to rectify this situation? What if private monies were removed from the election process? If elections were publicly funded, that would make the politicians belong solely to the people.
Do we want politicians beholden to the rich? The more this factor has increased in political life, the more of an erosion of economic equality and civil rights we have witnessed. The disparity of wealth in America is staggering. In most places, you can be fired for any reason by your employer. The business class has near absolute power of your life, unless you manage to start a business, a prospect which has become increasingly difficult as laws favor bigger businesses which can employ foreign workers to compete. Lots of people have been brainwashed into thinking that just considering unionization is a screwball concept when in fact unions have demonstrably improved the standards for workers whenever they have grown strong.
The main question is: what are you going to do about it? Do you think you can just vote and go home? What are you involved in? Democracy starts at the level of the community. Are you involved with your community? Does anyone in your community know and appreciate you? Are they aware of your concerns and vice versa?
We the people will never be heard unless our voices are heard together. But we’ve erected walls between ourselves, with the help of the upper classes who seek always to divide and conquer us with racist, sexism, religion, and misdirected class envy.
It’s time to forget about politicians reaching out across the aisle. The problem is us. We get the government we deserve. You reach out. Find common ground with your neighbors. Engage in civil discourse. Discover the lynch pins of isolation and remove them. Your private property, guns, and Bibles are just symbols of a security that was never real.