Saturday, February 27, 2016

Déjà Vu All Over Again

 I’m having a déjà vu moment.
About two years ago, I was going through the first of my three bouts of unemployment in the last three years (due to the project-based nature of my industry) and I embarked on a series of media appearances on behalf of extending unemployment insurance. I appeared on CNN, The CBS Evening News, and WNYC (among other places) pleading my case and, by extension, the case of millions of Americans like myself. I wrote to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell (twice) and called their offices, and I tweeted about 5,000 tweets in support of extending unemployment insurance. Despite my best efforts (and those of others), Congress voted against extending unemployment insurance five times.
Now I feel like I’m going through the same thing with the Bernie Sanders campaign.
I produced two benefits for his campaign, I’ve blogged about his candidacy and have tweeted every supportive article about Sanders I’ve read.
Now I’m watching as Democrats fail to show up to vote in primaries, and as so-called progressives like Bill Maher and the media in general refer to Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee.
What happened to our outrage?
Meanwhile, over on the Republican side, the three-ring circus that is Trump, Cruz and Rubio attack each other like rabid dogs. The bully governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, has endorsed that other bully from New York, Donald Trump. And Trump continues to insult every demographic in America while the media sits back and salivates at their ratings.
I’ve basically resigned myself to either the current status quo if Clinton wins (incremental change at best, Republican obstruction at worst) or complete Armageddon if Trump wins (war with Syria and/or Russia, climate catastrophe, complete deregulation of corporations).
It’s hard to feel sorry for the establishment Republicans who created this mess. It’s just the end result of 35 years of trickle-down economics, starting with Reagan, so that now we have a situation where the top 1% is doing tremendously well and everyone else is at each others’ throats and blaming whichever scapegoat is most convenient (Muslims, Mexicans—take your pick).
This is what happens when wealth and power become so concentrated in the hands of a few: the rest of us have to just sit back and hope for the best.
Meanwhile, the latest news is that the death rate among white people is going up, particularly those without a college degree.1 They’re literally killing themselves with drugs and alcohol because they can’t find a job. (Of course, blacks and Hispanics are doing even worse than white people economically, but that’s been going on for so long it barely raises an eyebrow anymore.)
I give up.
Even Bill Maher said he was “speechless” after the last Republican debate. Donald Trump isn't funny anymore. It’s worse than America being the world’s laughing stock. America is about to become an even more dangerous place than it already is. We’re already a threat to ourselves (we have the highest rate of gun violence in the civilized world and we’re the only civilized country without universal health care). Now we’re about to become an even bigger threat to the rest of the world, as well.
So keep watching the Kardashians, America, and don’t forget to watch the Oscars tomorrow night.
Because if Donald Trump gets elected president of the United States, it’s going to be lights out for all of us.