Monday, February 26, 2018

Daily Outrages

The era of Trump means being in a state of continuous outrage and despair. Here is the round up of outrage and despair today:

Don Blankenship, head of Massey Energy whose mine blew up and killed 29 men is running for Senate. He calls himself a "political prisoner" for the one year he spend in prison as punishment for killing 29 men.

The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL are returning to school today after a week of full throated activism and holding elected leaders to account - for which they received death threats from NRA supporters. Let that sink in - death threats for surviving a massacre at the hands of a semi-assault rifle toting gun man and have the temerity to say adults should do better.

One extremely rich man, an "Illinois Industrialist" named Richard Uihlein is almost single handedly financing an assault on organized labor by bankrolling anti-labor think tanks and politicians. Today a case goes before the Supreme Court that will cripple public sector unions by allowing workers to not pay union dues but still be represented by unions. I wonder how Richard "Hank Reardon" Uihlein would appreciate having the Supreme Court find that his customers can enjoy whatever good or service he provides without having to pay for it.

Trump is not behind all of this, he is just the titular head of a movement that reestablishes white men of privilege as the only people that matter. Starting with #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName, the narrative that people in this country are created and thought equal, judged only by their character, has been shown to be a lie. The murder of so many black men and women at the hands of the State caught on video and distributed via social media blasted through that narrative and demonstrated that contrary to what we, the so-called majority, would like to believe, all lives don't matter to the State. Followed by #MeToo and #TimesUp, the reality that patriarchy is still a closely held principle in this country and women are valued first and primarily for their appearance and sexual usefulness to powerful men. Women have no intrinsic human value, we are only meant to be playthings.

The massacre in Parkland made me realize something even more sad: no one matters. Black lives don't matter, women don't, children don't. Nobody matters. Only profit matters. Trump is the titular character of an ethic that rests on using others for your own gain. We are reaching peak capitalism where people, labor in the Marxist equation, are nothing but inputs to the capitalist. We don't matter. The 29 dead miners don't matter, the 17 dead high school students and the 20 dead first graders don't matter. The women whose lives were shattered by sexual abuse and exploitation don't matter, none of us do in this society of peak capitalism. What matters is the freedom and liberty to acquire wealth by any means necessary. That is the ethic and character of this nation now.

Where our founding fathers balanced liberty with the Enlightenment ideals of the social contract, Trump and his ilk, like Richard Uihlein and Wayne LaPierre, have abandoned any enlightenment ideals and embraced only the liberty to step on the necks of others to amass their wealth then weaponize it to use people to gain even more wealth and more power.

We need to protect and strengthen our solidarity. Their laws and rules are meant to weaken our connections to each other - splinter us and stratify our worthiness. None of us matter. Only all of us matter and we must matter together.

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