The Boat is Heading for the Shoals, and the Captain Cries, “Full Speed Ahead!”
The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
~Stephen Bantu Biko
It is striking that the supposed party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who ushered in the New Deal’s extraordinarily popular reforms, has not so subtly declared war on the only candidates who proposed similar reforms today: Elizabeth Warren, now out of the race, and Bernie Sanders, whose prominence caused such a panic in the party that the oligarchs who provide the money openly said they’d torpedo the whole thing to keep him out. Barack Obama, it is whispered, had a chat with Amy and Pete and told them that it would be best if they dropped out (because women and gay men can’t win) and coalesce behind the going-nowhere campaign of Joe Biden, whom absolutely no one was excited about. Dutifully, they did so, and the media decided that one win in South Carolina meant that Joe Biden was destined to be the nominee, in spite of, you know, actual delegate numbers.
All of this was done just in time for Super Tuesday, which gave the appearance of there being only two choices (everyone was ignoring Elizabeth Warren), and so Biden made a good showing that probably otherwise would not have occurred. Although less than half of the states have voted as of this writing, the media now blithely assumes that Biden will be the Democratic nominee (surprising even Biden, no doubt), and continues to attack Bernie Sanders, who would tax the billionaires in an attempt to make our society more equitable. The Democratic base has heeded the call, and many now cry, “Biden!” in the same breath as “Vote blue no matter who!” Because obviously, this is easier than discussing the fact that many votes are yet uncast, and what exactly is Biden standing for? Well, never mind, at least he’s not Trump.
Many are wondering about the state of Joe’s mind these days, as he doesn’t appear to be quite all there, but that doesn’t matter as long as he can hold a pen and sign pro-corporate legislation, which is exactly the sort of legislation he has promoted for his entire career. Yes, we will acknowledge that Joe has championed legislation that we can call “faux progressive,” in the sense of, “do we really need to tell you not to do this?” The Violence Against Women Act is a no-brainer, and most importantly, it doesn’t really affect corporate business as usual. Those kinds of bills, such as pro-LGBTQ legislation, do not hurt businesses and can actually help them. But then there’s legislation that helps businesses (and wealthy white people) quite a bit but does cause harm to groups whom progressives should fight for, such as: opposing school busing in the 1970s, championing “tough on crime” legislation that disproportionately imprisoned people of color for decades (increasingly for profit), and the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (2005), which made it harder for consumers to get protection under bankruptcy. And at a time when citizens of the planet are suffering the consequences of a global climate crisis, candidate Biden tells voters, “If you want to ban fracking, don’t vote for me.” The fossil fuel industry undoubtedly wrote him a check the next day.
This is no longer the party of FDR. If anything, it has become the party of Reagan, and it may lie even further to the right than our 40th president today. Barack Obama campaigned as a progressive, and then filled his cabinet with Wall Street executives. If anyone is the rightful heir of FDR, it is Bernie Sanders, whom the media and both parties smear as a communist. What would happen if the Democratic National Committee embraced Bernie Sanders? What would happen if they started telling the truth about the problems ordinary Americans face and propose solutions for dealing with them? Elizabeth Warren did, and she was excoriated. The Democratic mainstream is cocooned in their ivory towers, feeling certain that since they’re okay, the rest of us must be, too. But we are not okay.
Income inequality is at an all-time high. Children go hungry every day. Wages are still largely stagnant. Homelessness is increasing. Bankruptcies from medical bills keep increasing. GoFundMe pages exist to help people afford their insulin. Schools are failing due to neglect and underfunding. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Yet we pay trillions in war every year.
Donald Trump is not the disease. He is a symptom. Yes, he’s playing his cult followers. He’s not helping them in any real sense, but he is giving them a sense of their enhanced white status, which is as good as currency when you’re brittle.
If, as I fear likely, Biden is the nominee, and if, as I think unlikely, he wins, there will be an inevitable backlash. Four years of Biden will give Democrats the illusion that things are “back to normal,” which is not good news for most of us, but it will feel good to see pride flags flying in June for four years. But Joe can only offer the status quo, and indeed, he is meant for that. Four more years of growing inequality, carbon emissions, and corporate looting because, make no mistake: they’ve begun looting our government, and they will not allow Biden to stop them. Oh, there may be some window dressing executive orders to make it look better than it is. But they’re on the gravy train now, and Biden is their friend.
So after four potential years of Biden, the people will still know they are disenfranchised, and the east-coast elite have failed them again. The far-right Republican party may well put up yet another demagogue, and just imagine if that person is competent. Because you cannot continue this level of inequality and despair that we see in our communities, rural and urban, without some kind of backlash. If the oligarchs fear the socialist Bernie Sanders because he will tax and regulate them, they are opening their arms to fascists who will fool the people and work for oligarchs anyway. And they don’t care, as long as their status quo is maintained.
At this point, I know I’m shouting into the wind. When I posted an article that articulated some of this in a group on Facebook, the Democratic hordes responded with comments like, “Any Dem will do” and “#VoteBlueNoMatterWho!” Those were the nice comments. It turned nasty very quickly. “Do you want to elect Trump again?” they cried. “This is BS!” Less than half the states have voted. Must we vote against our own interests — again? Must we crown the barely-there corporate asset? Apparently, we must. Because fear is running this show now. And it’s sponsored by the corporate-sponsored media machine, which targets the only progressive left standing on a daily basis.
Yes, this capitalist boat is roaring at full speed for the shoals, and no one dares to tell the captain to turn the rudder.