So. The oligarchs got their wish last night, under cover of darkness. In secrecy and total lack of transparency, in the dead of a December night, they passed a tax bill that robs the poor and middle class to further enrich the 1% and the corporations. An almost 500-page document with scribbled handwritten notes was presented to them hours before they had to vote. This is a terrible way to govern. It is the way things are done in third world dictatorships.
Not only is this bill, should it become law, going to gut the middle class and cause many of them to fall into poverty, it robs the most vulnerable members of society of healthcare (by repealing the ACA mandate), sneaks in a “fetal personhood” law, and gives huge tax breaks for things like private jets and vacation homes, but takes away the child tax credit for average families and the ability of teachers to deduct necessary things like school supplies. It also cuts Medicaid and other programs many people rely on.
It also will explode the economy by adding 1.3 trillion to our national debt, which is their legacy to our children and grandchildren. The GOP is aware of this, and don’t care, because it works for them. It gives them a handy excuse to gut or eliminate Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare later on (neither Social Security or Medicare are entitlement programs — they are trust funds we’ve been paying into our entire working lives!) But I don’t expect them to be there when I need them in a few more years. I have no idea what I’m going to do then. But the Powers That Be will just find a way to blame the Democrats for the economy collapsing and making it necessary for them to enforce draconian austerity measures that are necessary to repair the economy. Of course, what they say is all bullshit and is just gaslighting. They never take any responsibility for the damage they do; all they do is shift the blame to others.
Their ideal America is not one where everyone has an opportunity to succeed and pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They prefer one where the rights of most of us are stripped away, where voting is suppressed or we can’t vote at all, where dissenters are punished for having a voice, where honest and ethical reporters are jailed or silenced, where immigrants are deported or locked up, where toxic authoritarian evangelical Christianity is the law of the land, where women are chattel and property, where slavery is allowed, and the rest of us serfs toil 6 or 7 days a week (because eventually two day weekends will be abolished as well since that was a right that came about due to labor laws of the early 20th century). Our lives will be brutal and short, just like they were in the Dark Ages. At best, their ideal society will be a replay of the Gilded Age, which was a horrible life for most people too. These criminals running our government won’t be satisfied until not one penny is left for us, where the middle class is gone, and we are living in a feudal society where the mighty oligarchs look down from their gated mansions up on the hill at the great unwashed masses of the impoverished existing in their shanty towns down below.
I need not go on about the horrors of such an America, but it’s what they want and it’s closer at hand than most people realize. The oligarchs have declared war on us, and their greed knows no limits. Their God is Mammon. They will kill us either passively (by taking away our means to live or be healthy) or aggressively (that might be coming) in order to keep enriching themselves and feel not one iota of remorse or regret, for they have no conscience. They gaslight us by insisting that their greed, meanness, and consciencelessness is somehow “godly” or “defending freedom.”
They lie to us by insisting that “more jobs will be created” if the ultra-rich pay less taxes, but four decades of trickle-down economics and the recessions that always result from GOP economic policies have proven this does not work. Yet, in their willful ignorance, conservatives keep insisting trickle down economics does work, or that if it hasn’t, this time it will (what’s that saying about insanity and trying the same thing over and over?) But in reality, it’s we, the so-called “parasites” and “useless eaters” who are the real job creators, because it’s demand for products and services that create jobs, not tax breaks for the rich. Without us to buy their products and services, they would all go out of business. If we get to keep more of our money to spend, we buy more and that’s what creates jobs, not tax breaks that are mostly invested in offshore banks and used to buy elections and control politics. Most economists now agree trickle down economics doesn’t work and only creates more inequality between the richest and everyone else. The greedy oligarchs, not us, are the real parasites on society.
This isn’t a rant against the rich. I know most wealthy people aren’t like this. I think most of the rich are still decent human beings, unwilling to rob the rest of us to line their own pockets, but the ones with the most power and the ones who have bought our government and greatly influence elections — the Kochs, the Mercers, the DeVos family, the Adelsons, etc. — have declared war on the rest of us, helped along by the complicit Republican Party, who are beholden to their oligarch donors. I think the Citizens United decision was possibly the worst thing to happen to democracy and the death blow that made such a pathocratic, kleptocratic government possible.
I am beyond disappointed and heartsick at Susan Collins’ and John McCain’s decision to vote yes on this bill. I mistakenly believed they were both people of conscience and would not put party before country, greed over people. I was wrong. Back in July, I wrote a glowing tribute to John McCain after his dramatic “no” vote on Obamacare repeal. I will be removing that post, since he proved last night he’s no different than the rest of them and has sold his soul too.
And now they want to repeal Net Neutrality too, which will mean we will have to pay more to read what we want to read or view what we want to view, or not get to access it at all. It’s a form of internet censorship, which makes it easier for huge corporations to control the web, at the expense of the small business owners, everyday people, and small-time bloggers like me. If Net Neutrality is repealed, we bloggers may find our traffic has dropped drastically, since so many people will no longer be able to access our sites. If we earn an income from blogging, or sell things online, we will be hurt financially by the repeal. I have an awful feeling it’s going to pass.
I feel like I’m grieving a death, the death of my country. It’s not a sudden, merciful death; it’s a long, drawn-out painful one. What makes it worse is knowing that this country that used to be “the shining light on the hill” for the rest of the world, is now seen as an enemy by advanced western democracies, a country that has turned on its own people and is now turning us against each other. We are no better than a third world dictatorship (with nukes). The criminal enterprise posing as our government literally is trying to kill us — or make our lives as painful and oppressive as they can until we die. It’s slow genocide. That’s not an exaggeration or a conspiracy theory. These are bad people with evil intentions. They want us to go away because we are in their way in their quest for unlimited power and wealth. But eventually it will destroy them too, for without us to buy their goods (or not able to buy their goods), how will they maintain their opulent lifestyles?
When people begin to die, it won’t just be because the poor, the old, the sick, the disabled, and even children will have their social safety net that keeps them alive stripped away and be forced to fend for themselves in an increasingly hostile, repressive, and unhealthy environment. It won’t just be because the air, water and land they’re deliberately destroying will eventually kill us. I’ve also seen a number of comments on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) from people feeling so hopeless and scared they’re actually considering suicide. People will kill themselves because they have lost all hope. They feel like the bullies have won and believe there’s nothing they can do. We have an abusive president, and an abusive cabal of conscienceless operatives, who want us to feel that way. They want us feeling worn down, exhausted, and ready to give up — because when we give up, they acquire complete control. That’s how Hitler was able to get away with his crimes. The German people were complacent, and with only a few exceptions (White Rose Society), most people gave him the benefit of the doubt or called him a “buffoon” and believed he was a bad or incompetent leader but essentially harmless. Or they felt so beaten down and afraid they did nothing. I see many Americans and the American mainstream media acting much the same way. That has to stop.
They are waging a war on empathy. Empathy and having a conscience and sense of real morality (not just being anti-abortion and anti-gay) is seen as something bad by this pathocracy who has wrested power and forced their will on us in darkness and secrecy. They are sociopaths and and narcissists who believe empathy is a weakness, something for “snowflakes” and “those dirty liberals.” They believe in authoritarian strongmen who show no mercy. Their spiritual leader is Ayn Rand, who thought empathy was evil and selfishness a virtue. Her un-Christian, un-American philosophy is hardwired into their minds, even those who profess to be Christians. This is a spiritual war, a literal war between good and evil. There can be no goodness in a society that thrives on selfishness, military might, greed, racism, sexism, and hatred. There can be no goodness in a society where the only measure of a person’s worth is their success in obtaining power and wealth (or their being born into it). There can be no goodness in a society that treats its most vulnerable members with hard-hearted callousness “for their own good.”
We are facing our shadow, and the sickness in America that has been hidden for at least 40 years is now right on the surface for everyone to see. That’s good, because it’s not until the symptoms of an illness become visible, that action is taken to eradicate the disease that caused them. That some choose not to see the symptoms, or believe those symptoms are actually signs of good health, proves how deep and pervasive the sickness really is. This cancer of selfishness, sociopathy, greed, and narcissism must be eradicated, and fast.
But how do we do it? Calling our representatives, sending them letters, going to protests, posting snarky memes, signing petitions, and waiting around to vote in rigged elections obviously isn’t enough. I don’t have any good ideas. But we must keep fighting this malicious power however we can (without breaking the law — for now at least) and never, ever give up. It’s when we give up that it’s all over and they own us to do whatever they want with. Let’s learn from Nazi Germany and not allow what happened there happen here. Let’s brainstorm together. But how do we keep fighting evil without succumbing to despair and hopelessness? I don’t know.
I did have one thought. We could register as Republicans (as odious as that is). That would throw a monkey wrench into their voter suppression efforts and also keep us from being tracked down and surveilled. We could still vote for who we want to vote for. What do you think?
As down as I feel today, this clip from “Animal House” put a smile on my face. Bluto is right — let’s get going! #Resist!
You are also invited to join my Facebook group if you’re wrestling with Trump trauma like I am. You will be required to answer one question. Trump supporters are not welcome.