Some thoughts on today’s politics
This morning I was watching Tavis Smiley. He was talking to Dee Dee Myers about politics.
The one thing that impressed me the most in the interview was that our political tendencies are now based on emotions, and not logic, or viewing the facts to make an informed choice.
The whole situation harks back to the Roman times where bread and circuses were the main means of political control. Today, with all the global turmoil going on, we are losing the bread and only left with the circus.
Getting back to Tavis and the fact that 50% of our electorate seems to feel that they are being cheated, and why Mr. Trump is so popular without any real credentials for the job, this deep division in our populace gives any thinking person cause for concern. There is a contingent of the voters deemed “the white male working man” that has been cheated, but not by any one political party, but by the global process of competition.
Large companies do what they have to in order to make a profit and satisfy their stockholders. Often this means shipping the jobs away from the union controlled sites in the Mid-West, and setting up in the Far East.
My concern is why these men feel that they are no longer relevant, and have no hope or confidence in the country or the people running our government.
Trump has certainly brought out the worst of our sentiments, when we have demonstrators and counter demonstrators at any gathering at which he appears.
This process of disenfranchising the white middle class working man has been going on for thirty years, and has affected a large portion of our society. The resulting fear and anger at forces beyond the working man’s control leads to the elevation of a demagogue such as Trump, who is not exactly a shining example of having good business practices.
If we look closely at his life, we see a lot of litigation against those he worked with, bankruptcies, and many behind the scenes deals.
Why should those who have lost out to shady business tactics vote for a man who employs such kinds of deals to make his profits?
They might think he has the power to change individual lives, but like that invisible deity who promises to love and save us from ourselves each Sunday, that is not going to happen.
There is no saving us from ourselves and no outside power that can make that happen.
What does exist is confidence. Those white male working men have lost that confidence because they were not aware that they could be caught up in forces stronger than themselves, that the jobs that they held would not always be there, that the value of their houses that they were promised as part of the American Dream would always be worth something.
Global forces conspired against them, and they will never get back to making “America Great Again.”
For those who understand this and have confidence that the future will be better than the past, there will be less angst and fear, less emotional response to any babbling from a politician who promises impossible things, and a better life overall.
I am one of those.
For years, I had very little in the way of material goods. I was dependent on others for food, clothes, housing, medical care, and insurance.
Now I have very little in the bank, no one to care for me in those former material ways, but a great deal of self-confidence. I know that as long as I pay attention to what my choices are, I will have a good future.
Why? I can detach myself from those material things, and like the old Buddhists, I know that happiness does not come from “owning” a new couch, a kitchen full of appliances and broadband speed. Every time that I do lapse and enter into an agreement to “own” a service like phones and internet, or cable television, I have to let them go.
Once upon a time I filled a rental truck with all my worldly belongings and set out to live and work in a big city without knowing a single person there. I had such confidence in myself that within an hour I had a place to live, and paid cash for the first and last month’s rent for one room in a “mini-dormitory. This was done without the aid of a cell phone or internet service.
Within the day I had unloaded everything, and returned the truck, caught a bus back to the house, and settled in.
I was 55 years old, and at the time when most white women were settling in to a good retirement, I was setting out to get an education.
How could I do this? Maybe because I thought I could and never considered that anything else was an option.
Now I am giving up the cushy apartment by the water, giving up club memberships, giving up the phone and internet service inside and going back to a simpler life after I move to a town where I know not one single person.