State of Play

I think what surprised me most about the flock of lunatic Donald Trump supporters breaking into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday is… it didn’t really surprise me all that much. It’s not like I expect to see such a thing. But coming off a wild four-year Trump term, capped off by an even more wild 2020 year, I more thought to myself, yeah, I could see this being what a Wednesday looks like.

And I don’t even care, really. I know I should, but I don’t. While I’ve kind of developed a reputation as some far lefty who wants poor people to have radical things like *healthcare* and a *decent wage*, I find all the culture war stuff from the other side pretty predictable and boring. Some conservatives I work with try to tee me up in obvious situations like these, but playing the Red vs. Blue game misses the point.

But that’s what politics is to most people. It has nothing to do with the root of the word — policy — and everything to do with incredibly profound issues like a small business owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple, or an NFL quarterback who decided to kneel during the National Anthem, or Twitter and Facebook making the decision to take down Donald Trump’s accounts after he incited violence.

So in lieu of disagreeing about the best ways to help people’s lives with policy, I am instead asked to defend the other side of a culture war that I don’t even care about.

As a person who has read many a relevant book about labor movements, the success of The New Deal, the collapse of the Democratic Party and the rise of Conservatism, I have to admit it is mildly frustrating to be able to break things down to a decimal in getting to the root of why the wealthy have it all while everyone else has very little… and still getting nowhere with people. It all goes in one ear — and yeah it makes sense while I’m saying it (because it’s true) — and then they talk to their conservative buddies and family members and watch their Fox News and it goes out the other. Oh well.

In the meantime you have actual individuals on that side — the other side — comparing the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer to a bunch of armed “protestors” storming the Capitol. If you aren’t able to distinguish between the two then there’s just no reason to have a conversation in the first place. There’s this old saying about not getting into arguments with idiots, because after a while a 3rd party won’t be able to tell who is who, but that’s pretty much what every discussion has turned into nowadays.

The worst part, to me, anyway, is there is rarely any consequence or self-reflection for the people who believe the lies or buy in to the conspiracies. One day they write or post something about how Sharpie pens stole the 2020 election from Trump, the next day it’s voter fraud, the day after it’s ANTIFA infiltrating the breach of the Capitol building, and before you know it 5G towers are causing cancer at higher rates. No matter what it is, the only thing these people know for sure is it isn’t the boring old truth.

In the meantime, you have Internet jerkoffs like me trying to explain the real nitty gritty. Like hey, 60 cents out of every tax dollar you pay goes to the military. Only a fraction goes to healthcare, and education, and Social Security, and infrastructure.

So while you, your parents, your grandparents, and anyone else you know are complaining about why Obamacare sucks, why public education is garbage, why the roads and bridges are all fucked up, the answer is right there for you. And I waste my time trying to explain why we can’t have nice things.

The great con of the late-20th- and 21st century is convincing poor people that lower taxes are a good thing. I shit you not, over the last handful of years I have never heard so many people making 30 or 40 thousand dollars a year complain that they are tired of their tax dollars being wasted. The sickest part is I actually agree with them. But it isn’t because taxes are a bad thing; it’s because the United States spends its tax dollars on bullshit like bombing poor countries in the Middle East instead of spending that money on its own people.

I’m not as smart as I used to think I was, but I’m damn sure if you gave people free healthcare at the point of service and a decent wage at their job they wouldn’t give nearly as much of a fuck about people living off government assistance or illegal immigrants trying to make the American Dream a reality. It’s only in a world where people have nothing that they are more focused shitting on those below them on the economic ladder.

Anyway, these are the things I feel and I’m only writing them here because I’m trying to do my best not to get involved on social media anymore. I have tried, and I have tried, and I have tried some more. But most people are just going to do what makes them feel good instead of really evaluating why things are the way they are.

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