Monday, December 19, 2016

The Worst of Times

Welcome to the Oligarchy!

I have been holding back since the election, for obvious reasons, to say anything about what happened on November 8. In my previous article I warned against the incipient fascism of Donald Trump and urged my readers to vote against him and the kind of regressive policies and overt mendaciousness that he and his followers represent to our body politic. I had hoped that enough people would see Trump for who he was, and reject him as completely unfit for the highest office in our country. The fact that Trump narrowly won the presidential election is a calamity that will profoundly impact us for decades to come. I predict that we will look back at this time as the beginning of the worst of times for most of us.

We, as a nation, have chosen someone who is so unprepared and unfit to be president that we cannot emerge from this catastrophe with our nation completely intact. He and his minions will do considerable damage to our country and our way of life, and anyone who thinks otherwise is deceiving themselves. A Trump presidency represents the end of the struggle of the people against an American oligarchy. Those who are not obscenely wealthy will also not prevail in this new order, and those who are powerless and vulnerable will be egregiously hurt regardless of color, economic condition or region. The promises made by Trump to his political followers will be shown to be false and merely convenient rhetoric, to be changed and conformed in a manner that will uniquely benefit his class. The rest of us are more or less, screwed.

So, what happened? How is it that the Democratic party was defeated when the pollsters were predicting a narrow victory for them? Who is to blame for this debacle? Certainly, what happened was unusual and unique. For Hillary Clinton it was a perfect storm of weighted political obstruction, media persecution, misogyny, outright lies, misinformation, faux scandals and even foreign intervention. None of this excuses her and her campaign for the responsibility for losing what was supposed to be a hard won victory. If anything, the election of 2016 was the year of outsiders and populist based change, at least for the presidency. Trump managed to promote himself as the populist outsider, and he narrowly won the Electoral College based on that messaging.

The Clinton campaign started out with the wrong message, since she was as an elite insider with little popular appeal outside of the Democratic Party. If she would have been smart and understood the popular consensus happening then she would have concluded that her time for running a successful campaign was in 2008 and not 2016. Things have changed in the last eight years, and Democrats needed a credible outsider populist to defeat Donald Trump. It is difficult to state whether anyone in the Democratic Party could have filled that role, even Bernie Sanders, when dealing with an overall rejection and dissatisfaction with the current administration. While President Obama is relatively popular at the end of his eight year term, his policies, both foreign and domestic are not so popular, either with the political left or the right. Perhaps it is nothing more or less than the dissatisfaction that typically happens to a President through the duration of two terms. The fact that Obama had incurred the wrath and disdain of a large swath of the conservative electorate, most likely because he was the first black president, and that this groundswell of anger was enabled and encouraged by Trump is one of the main factors that I attribute to his victory.

We also need to keep in mind that the outsider populist ploy didn’t apply to the rest of the election results, as the victory of Republicans in many of their local and state-wide elections showed the proclivity of the electorate for the conservative status quo. Now we have two branches of government under control of the Republicans, and the third, the courts, will soon follow suite. We can also expect that all of the moderate policies and progressive gains that were established in the last eight years will be reversed. We might also see such safety net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security also eliminated, not to mention insurance reform via the AHCA. We will also likely see the end of government regulations that have safely guarded our public resources, consumables and also protected us from the avarice and mendaciousness of corporations.

Even though the Republicans have scored a very modest electoral victory in 2016, where Trump lost the popular vote by a significant margin and his Electoral College win was by a slim majority in three rust-belt states, not to mention that a few senate and congressional seats were lost to the Democrats, they have decided to push forward massive changes to our way of life. They have absolutely no mandate, but they will engage in overreach because that is what they do. If they successfully eliminate most of social service programs as they appear poised to do, then the resultant pain and suffering that such actions will produce will be completely their own work. If they make a wreck of our nation and its economy, and Trump engages in some incredibly stupid foreign policy blunders that humiliate us to the whole world, then you can expect that those misguided folks who voted for these clowns will likely change their opinions about where their real economic and social interests lie. The Republican majority may very well find itself defeated by its own ambitions and hubris, and when the American people have had enough, they will turn against those in power.

It will be at that point in time that the Democrats will field a cadre of progressive politicians led by an outsider populist presidential candidate. We will see the entrenched right-wing politicians and their supporting alt-right minions get annihilated in the pols. I think that people by that time will have had more than enough right-wing rhetoric, lies and deceit and they will finally see the results of the oligarchy coup that has dominated them since the early 2000's. They will rightly hate what has become of our nation and they will use the power of their vote to overrule and destroy this cabal. The Republicans will undergo an electoral shellacking, and they will likely lose control over congress and the presidency. This might even start happening in the 2018 elections, but I have my doubts about that happening so soon. 

My only question is how long will this take? How much damage will Trump and the Republican party do to our country and the world. How much more inequality, injustice, neglect, disenfranchisement will people take before acting against the real status quo. Will it be soon enough to make a difference, or will voter suppression and other legal mechanisms be employed to ensure the perpetuation of this offensive and destructive oligarchy. Will I even live to see the day when this terrible tide will be reversed? Until this situation changes, we will be steadily and regressively pushed back until all of the social changes that produced the Middle Class are completely eradicated, and new Gilded Age will resume for the ultra-wealthy elite. We will be forced to engage them only as a service class of slaves, to be exploited until no longer needed. Until that time of progressive change and the renewal of our social contract, we will be living in the worst of times.

Frater Barrabbas

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