The Dance of the Neanderthal Saucer Men
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
~ Oscar Wilde
This is the Holiday Season in the early Twenty-first Century. We’ve cracked the human genome! We all carry around the sum of human knowledge in our pockets. We’ve created artificial intelligence that makes art. If there was any era ripe for a miracle, this is the time to pull it off. The Build Back Better Bill may not be divine intervention, but it is a sign that people today are starting to believe the severity of events around them and are actively trying to fight it.
This week the Pandemic hit the 800,000 dead benchmark in the United States, a larger total of dead than any other country on the planet, climate change is producing extreme weather and as a result an unprecedented swarm of deadly tornadoes cut a swath through 200 miles of America’s Breadbasket and killed up to 100 people, and the Child Tax Credit that’s helped up to 60 million families buy groceries, pay for doctor’s visits, and take care of their children for the last six months, has sent out its last check. Despite our government’s tendency to consistently do the wrong thing or kick the problem down the road, there’s a chance they will act by signing a bill that will pay for programs that will fund organizations and agencies that will help continue to fight COVID19, climate change, and poverty. But before we celebrate that people are actually recognizing this apocalypse unfolding around them, we must accept that the Senate does not have enough votes to pass the bill even though the Democrats have a majority in the House and Senate with a Democrat in the White House.
Why? What is keeping us from acting? Most Republican Senators are scaring voters by screaming Socialism. They’ve made socialism the big bad monster of 1950s sci fi movies: it’s off screen and no one actually knows what it is, but we have to take their word on how horrible and evil it is when they describe it.
The GOP uses the connotations of the word socialism given to it by the NAZI Party in the Thirties and Forties. This has been very effective because the majority of Republican voters are old enough to remember the evils of the Axis Alliance either directly or through their parents. Seventy-four percent of seniors vote, and they also make up most of the Fox New viewers, the propaganda machine of the Right. The average age of someone who watches Hannity or Tucker Carlson is 65 or 66 years old. So when a strong, young woman like AOC says the word socialist, it triggers a huge voting block of old, white people on many levels. In their heads these WWII and Vietnam veterans aren’t blocking funds to fix a bridge or get a family out of poverty, they’re right back to fighting them god-damn Commies that almost took over the world while putting women back in their place, just like it was when they believed America was great.
If a Republican is cognitive enough to need a better explanation on why socialism won’t work, the main argument the GOP uses against democratic socialism is that a hard working percentage of the population will have to share the benefits of the social system with people who don’t deserve it. This is the opposite of the American Dream they were sold or fought for where a person can pull him or herself by their bootstraps and become successful through will power alone. They’re told that the majority of society will work hard, but instead of reaping the reward for their labor, a few people will ruin everything by not working toward the ultimate goal of a successful society and acting completely against the greater good by being selfish.
Of course it’s lost on them that we’re in the middle of a pandemic where everyone is asked to work toward the ultimate goal of a successful society by simply wearing a mask or get a free vaccination, and the people who are the first to use this argument against socialism, are the exact ones keeping us from achieving the ultimate goal of a successful society by acting against the greater good by being selfish. They refuse to wear masks or get the vaccine so COVID19 keeps mutating and creating variants.
This is the same with Climate Change. Politicians who vote against any bill that would protect the world from climate change as soon as it is introduced in the House or Senate, are the ones who say socialism will not work because a small group of selfish people will never work toward a common goal that benefits all. Meanwhile, they are the small group of selfish people not working toward the common goal that will benefit all.
When talking about the evils of potential socialism in America, many Republicans believe poor people are the ones who will take as much as they can and give nothing back, but in today’s system the people who are taking everything and giving nothing back are the very rich (which, coincidentally, are the people they aspire to become). The poor are the ones who work hard for shit wages, and when the IRS says they owe taxes the poor don’t have lawyers, loopholes, or any way to avoid garnishment.
Let’s go so far as to concede the fact that there will always be some who try to manipulate and fraud the system, but who is the bigger drain on society, the poor who receive a few extra hundred dollars of food stamps a month, or a billionaire class avoiding paying taxes, taxes that total the gross domestic product of a small, industrialized nation?
According to the latest numbers, 37.2 million people live in poverty. Imagine if the billionaire CEOs actually had to work as CEOs instead of being Instagram influencers and spending billions on personal space programs. What if they paid taxes to our government so we could spend millions or even billions on infrastructure, ways to fight climate change, or create programs to lift 37.2 million people out of poverty? The mean income for families has decreased over the past few years, poverty across the board has grown, the middle class is disappearing. The American Dream of working hard and someday being a millionaire has the same odds as playing the lottery.
Creating a country where children don’t go hungry, where school teachers don’t have to scramble on their knees to stuff a few dollars into their clothing so they can buy supplies for their classroom during halftime show, or just having a society where everyone has a good standard of living, shouldn’t that be our new dream?
Saving the world should be everyone’s long range goal, but before we get there, we need to heal our democracy. It’s no coincidence the people who don’t believe in climate change and don’t believe the science behind vaccines are the ones who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to steal the election for Trump. And it’s no surprise to find these same people say that there’s no way we can trust all of our population to do the right thing to save itself, while they are the ones who we can’t trust to do the right thing. The talking heads on television over at Fox News scream nightly about the destruction of our democracy, but they completely and without hesitation support the one man who has done more to destroy our democracy than anyone else since the British during our revolution. Fox television entertainers Sean Hannity, Laura Ingrham, and Brian Killmeade all texted Trump to tell his supporters to stop destroying the Capitol on January 6th. They knew who was in charge that day.
But hey, it’s the holiday season, Christmas and the New Year are coming. We can change! Let’s all hope that our society realizes we need to stop glorifying the rich and powerful and ask them to pay their fair share of taxes. I mean pay real taxes, not leaving it up to a fucking Twitter poll… Oh, fuck, Elong Musk was just named Time’s Person nof the Year? Fuck it, nevermind, we’re screwed.
No, but say we do believe in miracles. Can’t we dream that Republicans will stop and actually see their hypocrisy? What? Rand Paul just asked for disaster aid for Kentucky after voting against aid for Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Harvey victims? Fuck again! Well, I’m not going to give up. I know that things changing are as likely as me starring in a 1950s Sci Fi movie with Bigfoot and Nic Cage, but shit, Cage doesn’t seem to be turning down anything lately, and I have an inside scoop on Bigfoot. We’ll call it The Dance of the Neanderthal Saucer Men.