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The (Rotted) Core Problem

September 21, 2016

1) Nobody should pretend that we don’t all know, even if only in some vague way, what the worm in our heart is. It’s the unutterably (for white Americans, who have been taught to idolize wealth and be ashamed of themselves if they’re not wealthy) unfair and deadly chasm between the amount of money owned, stored, and spent by the 1%, and the amount that all the rest of us schmucks get to scramble for.

What makes Trumpism possible is the arrogance of the greedy rich, and what fuels it is the naturally resulting resentment on the part of millions of persons who are financially struggling.

People are pissed.

This resentment is supposed to be repressed, especially by working-class white folks, but now they are too aware and too desperate to repress it; it’s looking for a target; Trump gives them several, and tells them that, in fact, they are right to express their righteous indignation. Trump has turned himself into their image of that explosive fact of their lives.

No matter how outlandish Trump becomes, he projects the understanding and power that his supporters desperately long for.  If they abandon him, they give up all hope, and admit defeat.

2) To put it mildly, democracy can’t function with a gross inequity of wealth. It just can’t. We’re showing that fact to the world.

To put it more bluntly, the point of The Vote is to make it possible for the people to nonviolently overthrow the king and more equitably redistribute the national wealth.

After our armed revolt of ‘75, we were able to have a promising approximation of democracy for a while, as long as we had a growing, northern middle class, a common religion that was male-dominant, the possibility of acquiring adequate personal resouces by settling free land, and the will to overlook the gross inequity of wealth in the Plantation South, where it was taken to its logical, inhumane extreme (on the model of the Spanish king and Columbus). When those requisites began to fade, we spent hundreds of thousands of lives—suffered hundreds of thousands of deaths, plus injuries—holding the nation together so that we could seek a peaceful redistribution through a slow process of extension of democracy.

Recently, while we have been extending our democracy, those requisites have faded more, and the American aristocracy has fought back, by finding ways of tranferring wealth to itself from the middle class. Today the oligarchy is extraordinarily wealthy and powerful, and it is continuing its self-aggrandisement by subverting democracy. Given the opportunity, the wealthy will destroy it altogether. What do they care?

So now we are living a situation in which a handful of persons are El-Dorado rich. They have so much money that they couldn’t even give it away if they wanted to. Add to them a percent or so of the population who are very very rich, and another couple percent who are very rich. They never have to think about money unless they enjoy doing that. As in, flaunt it (to paraphrase Veblen).

Below them, how many? 5 percent or so living pleasant lives, as long as they are careful about their income v. expenses. They have to give it some thought. Some have to keep track of it regularly.

And below them, some hundreds of millions of Americans—who believe they are just as much American as anybody else—who live in gnawing financial anxiety, or fear, or desperation, or Dickensian invisibility (we keep them out of our way).

Good luck.

Maybe today we’re just meeting another challenge and taking another step forward. Or maybe this election won’t save us.

We did not have a Truth and Reconciliation Commission after our war over slavery. Powerful white Southerners were able to ally with northern magnates and robber barons to form a nouveau aristocracy that gained command of the nation’s wealth and politics, often using an American economics of racism as a major tactic for controlling the people whom they exploited, in spite of democracy—indeed they turned democracy on its head, so that it became a racist tool for reinforcing aristocracy.

We all know how it works: keep white folks financially desperate and tell them that the problem is those nonwhite others, who can be controlled by a racist politician.

If we equitably distribute wealth, we can politically castrate our racist politicians, and our sexist politicians too. If not, good luck to all of us.

[Related, immediately following page.

10-12 a millenial male’s take on this situation (I’m guessing that some testosterone & misogyny is involved in this too).]

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