What if we, or I, have been looking at this all wrong? I often feel like we’re on the verge of losing almost everything. But what if we’re on the verge of⎼ well, winning. Or maybe not winning but at least making things better? Maybe we must re-think our thinking about what’s possible.
The GOP, and even some Democrats, or the financially well-off financers of some Democrats, have become totally desperate. The immorality of many GOP, their willingness to sacrifice everything and everyone for their greed and power, has become totally upfront and obvious to anyone not blinded by lies and an unwillingness to question their beliefs or recognize the humanity of those holding views different from their own.
Desperation is a sign of weakness, not strength. Unwillingness to change one’s views or listen to others is a weakness, not a strength.
On May 30th Sonali Kolhatkar, host and founder of Rising With Sonali, a tv and radio show that airs on Free Speech Radio and Pacifica stations, wrote an article for the Independent Media Institute arguing very cogently that the very rich are making a very dangerous calculation⎼ that it is worth sacrificing millions or even billions of lives in order to preserve corporate and individual profits.
She cites a new poll by the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment which found that “there is no longer skepticism among the public that the effects of climate change are real, as 76 percent of respondents—the highest on record since the poll started—’believe there is solid evidence that temperatures on the planet have risen over the last four decades.’”
Yet, despite overwhelming support for doing all we can to halt climate change, “corporate profit-based considerations have constantly dictated our energy use and climate policies, [and] we have effectively decided that major sacrifices of lives—most likely poor people of color—will be worth the pain of relying on fossil fuels for energy.”
And the same holds true with the pandemic. “Today, even as COVID-19 infection rates are skyrocketing, with cases having risen by 58 percent in the last two weeks alone, mask mandates are being dropped all over the country and COVID-19-related restrictions are ending. This is not because the virus is under control—it is clearly not—but because it’s no longer financially viable for corporate America to sacrifice profits for lives. So, it will sacrifice lives for profit….”
Greg Sargent wrote in the Washington Post back in September about how the GOP would exploit the pandemic, sacrifice lives by lying about vaccines, for example, to resurrect their power. Millions of people were tricked, made sick, and many died due to the anti-vaccine propaganda of DJT and the right.
We remember how DJT made an awful disease even worse by the way he mismanaged the initial response to the pandemic, and did it in a malignant fashion. He put his own power above the lives of most Americans⎼ especially people of color, who, along with seniors suffered the most in the first years of the pandemic. As Adam Serwer put it in an article in the Atlantic in 2020; “The lives of …black and brown workers are being sacrificed to fuel the engine of a faltering economy by a president who disdains them.”
His GOP supporters called for the sacrifice of seniors. The lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick basically argued that seniors, who are most at risk of dying from the pandemic, should volunteer to sacrifice themselves to preserve the economy.
The GOP have tried for years to sacrifice our health care and insurance. For example, in 2017 they tried to end MEDICAID and undermine the ACA. They likewise aimed to privatize, and undermine Social Security Insurance. And in that same year, they passed tax cuts for the rich, all with the purpose of giving even more money and power to those who already had too much.
Each year, the DJT GOP sacrifice thousands of us by opposing gun control measures. They even sacrifice children in this effort. Their reasoning, “the only thing that stops a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun” exposes the blatant truth⎼ their concern is for the power of men. And they oppose any measures to curb gun violence not only to protect the profits of gun manufacturers over our collective safety, but because the violence itself serves their purposes. It destabilizes society. It shocks us. Makes us feel powerless. So, we would be so disoriented, traumatized we would accept the unacceptable and give up our power for some stability.
And then there’s the Jan. 6th assault on Congress. As the Jan. 6 Committee began to show last night in televised hearings, this assault was historically in a class by itself. The President of the US refused to concede an election he knew he lost, and led or provoked an attack on his own government. What blind self-absorption! He was willing to sacrifice police officers, members of Congress, the constitution he swore to defend, his own Vice President and the safety of this nation to preserve his fantasy, his driving need to hold absolute power.
He first tried to use the courts, threaten politicians, state officials and poll workers. And when nonviolent means failed, he worked with others to plot a violent coup to overthrow democracy and nullify the expressed will of the American electorate.
And why did most of the GOP decide to prostrate themselves before him? Why were/are they so desperate? Ignoring the blindness that results from their craving for power, it’s because the demographics are shifting. The proportion of white males in the population, who are the GOP’s primary constituency, is dwindling. Global warming is getting more threatening. And more people are looking to progressive ideas. So, gerrymandering, stealing the vote, using propaganda, hate, talking of replacement conspiracies, making the truth harder to discover, and concentrating wealth and power in fewer hands have become the only ways the GOP can retain power.
So, this is not only a time of great fear and threat, but of enormous possibility. It is a time when, finally, hopefully, we will see DJT held responsible, not only for the attempted coup but for all his other crimes and misdemeanors. And finally, hopefully, our healing will begin. So many of us have been yearning for this, frightened out of our minds that he⎼ that blatant injustice would prevail.
The hearings are not just about seeking punishment for all the hurt, deaths, and destabilization he and his GOP inflicted on this nation. The hearings must be about restoring our sense that there is justice. There are facts. That we matter. And that care for others, the will of the majority, the truth has a role in governing this nation.
By revealing this material for all of us to see and hear, some of the bricks in the wall dividing our nation will start to crumble. Or that is the aim and the hope.
The second part in our healing is for us to take action and restore our sense that we, personally have a role to play. Twenty years ago, many of us had grown complacent. We had believed autocratic attacks on our political process were impossible. Maybe one half of the population voted. Now, more and more people vote and are taking an active role in the political process. More and more of us know that building active, supportive communities is necessary. That protecting the rights of people of color, of LGBTQ+, of Jewish and Muslim people is the same as protecting democracy and the future of all of us.
Because more of us know about the threat of climate change and speak out about it, and President Biden will listen to people other than himself, he recently invoked the Defense production Act to increase production of solar and other clean energy technologies and reduce tariffs on some imports of solar panels. This is a big step in decreasing the use in this country of dirty, climate warming energy sources.
By being compassionate with ourselves, caring about and joining with others to get out the vote, protecting each other from COVID, sharing information and resources, being open to re-think our assumptions and standing up to those who want to make us too afraid to stand up, we have a good chance not only of defeating the GOP this November and in 2024, but of advancing an agenda that would better serve the lives and future of all of us.