Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Unknown Form of Oppression

As much as I hate to admit it, I definitely see a silver lining to the Trump election. Think about it: the largest protests in the country’s history have been taking place ever since. Politicians are being bombarded by rage from furious constituents. Real progressives are starting to emerge to take the spotlight away from weakling Democrats, to offer a true challenge to establishment politicians and fighting for a true populist agenda. The Trump election - as much of a bummer as it was (but remember, no surprise) - has lit a fire of anger across the nation, even in so-called ‘Trump country’. As YouTube star Prince Ea? said - and I’m paraphrasing -  we now know that our country is sick, so now we can focus on making it better. TRULY better. Bravo.

On the Economist Intelligence Unit, the United States was downgraded from “Full Democracy” to “Flawed Democracy”. Now, on my blog I normally would go on a tangent about how either democracy is so overrated or how everyone in this age erroneously thinks that democracy is synonymous with elections (although both are true). Not exactly 100% what I’m going to do here. Kind of, but later. At this very moment, I will humor this and agree that being a “Flawed Democracy” was not because of the Trump election, but rather vice versa. After all, there is nothing to stop the political class from using their power to ensure their continued control over the country, and this is what they have been doing for decades. Gerrymandering, the two party system, and even now blatant rigging of primaries are all symptoms of the nation being sick. As the EIU pointed out, this did not start with Trump. The nation has been getting sicker for decades, ever since the 1980‘s with the start of growing income inequality. The fact is, the downgrade to “Flawed Democracy” should have happened a lot sooner.

Unfortunately, it is far too politically incorrect to make such a move on ‘Murica, the golden standard of “democracy” that all nations of the world should aspire to be. Any influential figure would be committing career suicide if they were to ever say that things in the US are getting worse. No matter how corrupt things get, the politically correct thing to say and believe is that as long as we have the right to vote, we can always keep the bad people out. As such, no single politician, journalist, or celebrity would even dream of admitting the truth that the US has long lost its status as a “democratic golden standard”. Unfortunately for you, I'm no public figure, so I have no qualms about saying anything politically incorrect.

In truth, the Unites States is not a “democracy”; it is fatally erroneous political thought to think that “democracy” and “elections” are synonymous. Although I still think democracy is overrated and that the entire world holds on to it too dearly like a religion, the truth is there are many aspects of how a democracy can function that have nothing to do with voting for political leaders. Maybe I can do a piece on that... if I feel like it.

The US is a “republic”, and in the modern sense that gives an empty promise of “rule of law”; it is actually “rule of who writes the law”. The political class has full leeway for expand its control and suppress dissent. You can go ahead and threaten politicians with promises of voting for the opposition, but that would be entirely empty. The influence of the plutocratic political class is too vast; they can do as they please and not be worried about voter repercussion. If you do not like incumbency, they will simply choose other candidates that support their power base, not serve the people. Why? Because it is politically easier to do. What good is your vote if you have no say in who runs in the first place? And as we saw in the Democratic Primary recently, no real voice in who gets to win? If a true populist does get to run, the political class still has no fear; simply use the media to promote the status quo, and for good measure do some random voter purges, or give the supporters of said populist nasty labels to discredit him - you know whom I speak of. This is clear proof that the powers that be have already decided on who they wish to run in the General Election, no matter what the voters truly wanted. No threats of being voted out will deter them from serving their own interests.

This kind of electoral corruption has been getting worse for decades, and it is so sad that it took the Trump election for everyone to realize that the nation has problems.

So how did this happen? How did this country, the so-called “democratic golden standard” get so sick to allow Donald Trump to become Head of State? If you asked someone like me (maybe you didn’t, but I’m going to say anyway), the answer is not complicated. When the political class has full control in a nation, this includes the electoral process, then elections are simply a tool to legitimize what they do. Simply put: elections are merely another form of oppression. No, not oppression through force, not oppression through fear, not oppression through censorship and indoctrination (although those are growing as well). When everyone holds the firm belief that “democracy” and “elections” will be the number one answer to hold the political class accountable, then elections themselves become oppression through complacency. The American public feels, seemingly without condition, that voting will fix the problems in Washington among other places. And this is a grave mistake that makes the politicians lick their lips.

“If they misrule, we can change them with our right to vote!”
No you don’t. Either A. You’re scared of the other side. Or B. You do and there is no improvement. And there will be no improvement, because the political class will only field candidates that serve their interests. You want proof? Look at the recent election! Both candidates were against affordable healthcare (REAL affordable healthcare, not that Obamacare BS), both were against raising the minimum wage to livable levels, both wanted to continue international quasi-wars, I could go on!

Breaking unions?
“We can do a recall and vote them out!”
Right... because that worked so well in Wisconsin. Oh, wait...

“Well then, we can just vote them out next time!”
See? Complacency, no sense of urgency. Accepting the results and allowing the political class to do as it pleases, simply because a right to punch a card or press a button gives you a false sense of freedom. No urgency to make REAL change. Complacency makes the public allow one step forward, if any at all, and then three steps back.

Elections have never been a guaranteed way to get an accountable leader. This is an absolute falsehood. The truth about elections (not quite democracy in general) is to give the people an illusion of choice to make them complacent. To make them think that they will be protected from unethical leaders. All the while, the proliferation of the plutocracy continues without pause in Washington and everyone is too complacent to notice or think of it as a problem; they can just vote them out if they get corrupt, right?

Now, there are plenty of liberals that are pointing fingers at everything to blame for the Trump winning; the electoral college, Russia. This is a bunch of BS. While I do not 100% agree with the electoral college, liberals are picking on it too much just for electoral shock. And honestly, getting rid of that would be a huge uphill battle, and just create new problems if it actually happens. As for Russia, do I think there are ties with Trump? Possibly. Is Russia the reason he won? Not a chance, and I will never believe so unless I hear it from an Intelligence Officer, not a Democrat lawmaker or a Hilbot journalist. The electoral college and Russia are simply convenient ways for liberals to make excuses about why their lord and savior lost.
Yeah, sure. It’s not because she’s an unelectable candidate.
Liberals need to do themselves a favor and drop the Russia crap. If the whole thing is proven false (I’ll allow an “if”, cause anything is possible, I guess) then the whole thing becomes a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario, vaccinating Trump against anymore criticism.
But enough digression about that.

The political class has been dosing the electorate repeatedly for decades with the medicine called “Elections”. Whenever signs of disease appear, everyone takes a pill and feels better afterwards. While the symptoms are repressed, the disease remains, and gets worse...worse...worse...
And combined with the side-effect of Complacency, everyone becomes fine with it, no matter how bad it gets.
“We just have to try again after four years."
“It’s better than having the other party win."
And the politicians lick their lips.

There is no wonder how Trump could possibly get as far as a general election, never mind win it.
But now here’s the thing: every horrible thing Trump does, we know it’s bad. If Mrs. Clinton won, her shills would be making the lamest logic-bending reasoning for everything (just like they did for her actions in the primary), or if they are even more complacent: say it’s still better than having Trump. Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with complacent shills, because this past election the people did not get the medication. Or got immune to it... like I did with allergy pills. Those smart enough to not buy the Russia crap know that it is the donors or have real say in who runs in elections. And these donors support Republicans who can win and Democrats who are bozos (like Hillary Clinton, who is one of the world-class variant). They favored her so much because she cant win, period. This is the kind of influence over the election process. The powers that be have that much influence. This is not the fault of the electoral college, nor Russia.

Stop thinking that elections are the ultimate - or only - form of democracy. What about unions? What about forums where people meet to discuss their community needs? Worker owned businesses, where decisions are made by voting? How democratic is it to rely on a politician to fight for your interests?

Stop thinking that the right to go to the election booth is enough to make the political class accountable. They control how the election is conducted. It is just another way to control people: oppression by complacency. This removes the sense of urgency to demand change. To paraphrase Harvard Business School Professor of Leadership John Kotter from his book A Sense of Urgency, urgency in the workplace is what creates true productivity and achievement. Without urgency - in its place, complacency - nothing will ever improve. It is the sense of urgency that energizes the people to demand real change, and elections do nothing but take that away.  This is why our elections have been more and more repressive, and it took the Trump election to be noticed. When everyone blindly believes in the power of political elections, the political class grows the attitude: “We can do whatever we want, just give them a right to vote and they become complacent. If they are the same party, they will support us no matter what! If they are in the opposing party, but an electoral minority, then it makes no difference. But no matter what, they will accept the results and let us do whatever for x number of years!”

This is arguably the worst form of oppression, because no one notices or everyone thinks it's fine. Despite the gerrymandering, despite the total control of the primary process, despite the overt attempts to suppress votes, no one demands real change. As long as we have our elections, we’ll be fine, right? And the political class gets off scot-free. How is this not oppression? How is this not worse than force or fear? Because if a dictator is repressive, you KNOW you’re being oppressed. If a king - ruling for life - misrules, there sure is a sense of urgency for things to get better; look in history for that precedent. Oh sure, in this country you can voice your dissent, and then the media can simply ignore you or label you some kind of troublemaker. Look what they did with DAPL, and Bernie Sanders. Ignored. And Trump is proving that too; he is getting a lot of dissent and is simply ignoring it. You don’t need to be silenced anymore, simply ignored. And you THINK that going to the voting booth is making a difference. Don't get me wrong, keep doing it, keep dissenting, but up your game!

This is the good news of the Trump election. Without the medicine, complacency died. Now we are seeing real pressure being applied to politicians, demanding them to do their jobs. There is still much to do, as the stupid, cowardly Democrats are still maintaining the status quo and even approving Trump's nominees. So the electorate must turn up the heat; don't let the political class take a pause for breath. Make them worried, make them nervous, give them a very strong reminder of who they have to represent. But whatever you do, do NOT become complacent. Because once you get that feeling, the pressure is off.

So in this sense, Prince Ea is right. This result is arguably better than a Hillary Clinton win. With how her supporters were acting, they would have been very complacent with her neoliberalism. Heck, look at her supporters now: totally buying the finger pointing at Russia. This is complacency with her behavior, instead of accepting the inconvenient truth that she lost because of her and DNC arrogance.

Fight off your complacency. Only then will you know how to organize, demand true chance, and give the country the medical attention it needs. I have my OWN special brew of medicine, though I doubt any of you care about what it is (my blog, though).

That's all. Your move.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Well Hello, 2017

Sorry everyone, the old posts had to go. And even now reviving this blog is still up in the air. With my new life in Taiwan, circumstances have for the most part forced me to literally live on an island so far from home. That said, all the chaos that has followed since the election has been hard to miss.

To be frank, what kept me away from this blog for so long (and what may still) is that I have a real life now... grown up priorities. Secondly, I often get a strong feeling of “Why keep talking when no one listens?”. Yeah, all I have ever done is make myself an echo chamber; my beliefs are an impossible sell in this day and age. Should be obvious to those of you who have actively read my stuff.

The problem with having an “echo chamber”? What is the use? Look everywhere on Facebook, everyone has turned their feed into one. How on earth does this make a difference? All the talk on social media wont stop Trump’s executive orders; sharing article after article after article on your Facebook profile is not a form of ‘resistance’; reposting Trump memes will not change any minds in Washington; the Womens’ March was a nice touch, but what the heck was the ultimate goal of that, more culture war issues? There’s your downfall, “liberals”: thinking that the culture war makes you infallible; thinking that focusing on those issues will be enough to win elections, and losing is the fault of a racist, sexist, homophobic minority. Meanwhile, people who likely share the same economic woes as you are driven away because you make ZERO attempt to connect to them. You won the culture war, congratulations. And at the same time the 1% enjoyed having activist pressure be diverted away. And the Democrats saw that being on the winning side of that war was all they needed to win elections and call themselves “liberal”; forget about fighting for the working class.

That is how you got the Trump. This so-called ‘alt-right’ captured the populist spirit that the culture war does not and convinced the working poor that it is their champion. Of course, thanks to your social media echo chamber there is no way you could even understand that. The irony is, by focusing so much on the culture war, now you’ve given power to the people who are eager to set things back. Yes, it’s your own fault. Congratulations. Maybe if you supported candidates who aggressively ran on economically populist issues you could have protected your accomplishments.

You want to make a real difference? Connect to those like you. Those who are not wealthy are like you. Those with college debt are like you. Those who cannot afford medicine are like you. Those who have to work multiple jobs to make a living are like you. You have more in common with the economically challenged than you do with whatever inherent demographic you identify as; I guarantee, those of that demographic - whatever it is - who are in the 1% care very little for your rights. Why should they? They have enough money and influence to protect their own needs. Stop confusing white privilege (or male privilege, for that matter) with economic privilege (or celebrity privilege, for that matter).

What, is this “privileged talk”? Then get off my blog, run back to your Facebook echo chamber, type paragraphs of capital letters about how I’m such a “privileged” brat, and go back to sharing articles about the next crazy thing Trump does. Become part of what maintains the status quo: sharing, labeling, hiding behind social media. A lot like Trump himself.

I don’t even know what I’m going on about anymore. But before I stop, I should share my thoughts on the election; now that it has been months maybe this will be easier to swallow, now that the emotional shock should be gone:

 No surprise  he won. There, I said it. Not happy, not apathetic... and not surprised. Heck, Michael Moore called it and he got crucified by butt-hurt die-hard Hillary supporters who silence everyone who rains on their echo chamber (hmm... sounds like Trump supporters). She had no shot against the Trump, period. She acted too much like a Washington insider with her behind the scenes deals with the financial elite. She made no effort to connect to the working class or to Sanders supporters. Maybe she should have used her “great listening skills” to notice that she was losing the rust belt by being the TPP champion and not even visiting Wisconsin. And that she should not anger Sanders supporters (which include a nice chunk of Independents, not a base you want to PO) by flat out saying she does not need them (“I am winning”) or promoting Wasserman-Sh***. The signs of doom were clear as crystal! Oh wait, die-hard Clinton supporters can’t see outside their echo chamber.

The DNC is far more responsible for the Trump presidency than the Russians, or the made up “sexists” that the DNC made up in their echo chambers to blame for this embarrassment. Die-hard Clinton backers, who even to this day have utter contempt for Sanders and his fans, are more to blame than the depressed Sanders supporters who DID show up on election day. Yeah, I said it. They made no attempts to bring them over, instead resorting to hurtful labeling tactics such as ‘sexist’ and ‘ego’, don’t forget “they are mostly white”. What do you think happens when you label an economically disadvantaged group as “privileged”? You know, instead of reminding how you have much in common as 99%ers? And really, if a real fight for the working class is not so important to you; if you were complacent with Hillary’s economic neoliberalism from the very beginning; if Sanders’s progressive record meant absolutely nothing to you, or thought it was unrealistic, or made you upset (because it showed how “she” wasn’t so progressive); if you still believe the Democrats are “liberal" just because they are on your side of the culture war; if you can afford to consider working class needs secondary to said culture war; then you’re the one who needs to check privilege.

Did my “mansplaning” make you upset? Then get off my blog, run back to your Facebook echo chamber, type paragraphs of capital letters about how I’m such a “privileged” brat, and go back to sharing articles about the next crazy thing Trump does. Become part of what maintains the status quo: sharing, labeling, hiding behind social media. A lot like Trump himself.

As for those of you who voted Trump because the ‘alt-right’ convinced you that he will push for your needs... you got played like puppets. I’ll stop there because so many others have covered it thoroughly.

And now, here I am, in my own echo chamber. Am I any better? Probably not, though I give myself a point for using my own words instead of resharing articles again and again and again. But whatever, nobody even has to listen to me. And if there is any detractor reading, I encourage you to tell me why I’m mistaken instead of proving me right and running back to your echo chamber.

Well I’m done. I think I went off about nothing for long enough and now need to get off my train. No, literally, my stop is coming up. Time to get off.