The Biggest Losers
I suspect Trump is going to win re-election, mostly because of gerrymandering and voter suppression. Just like last time, I expect him to win the electoral collage and lose the popular vote. The photo above, however, gave me a good laugh — because in my experience, Trump supporters are neither silent nor in the majority. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be the story they’re telling themselves.
The story they’re telling themselves is, despite Trump gaining power against the votes of the majority of Americans, is that the Trump supporters are the oppressed ones. They’re the “normal” ones, and that they’re in the majority, and that somehow the out-of-power democratic “minority” is able to impose a “socialist” will upon them.
It’s a very annoying narrative — almost annoying as the liberal narrative.
The liberal narrative seems to be “How the hell did these people come to power? Why are they so full of hate? What is wrong with them? Why do they want to kill us?”
To which I’d say… liberals know why conservatives want to kill them. Because, while it’s politically incorrect to admit it, I suspect a bunch of liberals want conservatives dead just as much as conservatives want liberals dead. Liberals and conservatives seem to basically hate each other equally, and it has come to the point where both sides have begun marching out into the streets with guns waiting to see what happens next.
Like… you don’t go out into the street with a gun unless some part of you is hoping to kill someone. It’s become deeply apparent to me, that despite everyone’s protestations, liberals and conservatives are thinking very seriously about killing each other.
How did we get here?
Well; the primary way I think is wealth inequality. This would be a longer story, but functionally, America is a highly propagandistic society masquerading as an open one, and the primary focus of propaganda is to continue focusing wealth into the hands of the very rich. Ever since Regan, under every single president — democratic or republican — the rich have kept getting richer, and the poor have kept getting poorer. Both Bill Clinton and Barak Obama pursued specific policies that allowed the rich to further concentrate their wealth (undoing Glass Steagall and bailing out the banks to name the most egregious each in my opinion) all while pretending that they were on the side of the “commoner.” The republicans pursue a slightly more direct strategy of giving money to the “job creators” so the wealth will “trickle down” into the population, but the result is the same — the continued deprivation of the average American.
So, where does the propaganda come in? By focusing your attention elsewhere. Guns! Abortion! Racial equality! The politicians don’t really care what, they’ll say whatever they think will get them elected, but no matter what, they will continue to concentrate power in the hands of the rich. Do you think Trump actually cares about criminalizing abortion? I’ll bet half his mistresses have had them. Do you think Biden really gives a fuck about racial equality? He was sure down to support bussing when it suited his purposes.
What they both want is power, and will say what they need to get it.
So now, we have an impoverished population, which historically often turns to authoritarianism in an effort to fix their problems. And, of course, this never works — they population just keeps getting poorer and poorer while the autocrats and oligarchs achieve obscene levels of wealth. So, that’s our future.
But! Check this out — the politicians/wealthy/media have cleverly engineered hatred between the left and the right by exaggerating and villainizing any issue that will distract the populous from the urgent need to redistribute power. But, that hatred has become so intense, that now the poor people are going to kill each other instead of the rich people who oppress them. I’m sure the rich would rather there was no violence, since violence is always a destabilizing force, but you can only oppress a population so much before they rise up again. And, if someone’s going to get dead, better it’s someone who isn’t them.
This is a classic system of oppression, and one that the British used time and time again during colonial times; get two groups to hate each other, and they will often turn to their oppressors in order to exterminate the other group.
But, why is the hatred so intense? I mean, that’s a complicated topic, but fundamentally I think it’s because — deep down — we’re all afraid we’re “the losers.” Not only does the vast majority of the population lack any substantial wealth, but we are all forced to watch the “superior” lives of the very rich and some part of us thinks, most people are living far nicer lives than us. Consumerism thrives on a diet of perpetual dissatisfaction; in order to keep you buying shit, marketing campaigns have to keep showing you people who are “better than you,” who you could be, if you just had a bit more money to spend on some product to make you “better.”
Deep down, though, none of us have enough money for all the things we want — not even Elon Musk, who wants to like, copulate with Mars or something. And, it’s so painful we hate to even admit it, but this deep down feeling of failure or being “worse” than everyone else drives us to improve our own situation. We feel angry at “everyone else” who seems to have it so much better than us. On some level, I think white conservatives actually believe poor black people have it better than them (“welfare queens!”) and, they certainly believe that wealthy white liberals have it better than them. I also actually think a lot of white liberals have weird feelings of inferiority or rejection around conservatives. Many white liberals have older, conservative family members who have rejected them for their beliefs or lifestyle choices, and I think these feelings or rejection are at the heart of a lot of liberal hatred of conservatives.
I don’t really want to talk about what POC may be thinking, since it’s kind of not my story to tell, but I will venture to guess that aspects of living in a racist culture and potentially internalizing beliefs around that will not render them free of the secret fear “am I worse than everyone else?” that (I think) basically everyone has.
In the end, it comes down to something very simple: we’re all asking “am I broken? am I a failure? I am ‘the worst’?” Some part of us, is terribly afraid the answer to this question is “yes” and wealthy have weaponized our deepest fears for their benefit.
It sounds simplistic, but we are simplistic creatures. We don’t want to find ourselves on the bottom of the societal pile, so we find someone else to toss there, and dehumanize the fuck out of that person.
So, what now? God, I don’t know. Even if you see the source of the misunderstanding, it doesn’t mean that the angry man with a gun isn’t going to shoot you
Keep yourself safe, I think. I would venture to say, I don’t think participating in violence on either side of the situation is going to improve anything because the more one side becomes radicalized, the more the other side responds with increased force. Know that, intentional misunderstanding between conservatives and liberals is being engineered by powerful in an attempt for them to gain power. And… wait and see what you can do.
Vote, naturally — but even if Biden wins, that will only slow the slide into authoritarianism, and it won’t undo any of the wealth and power concentration that’s been happening. That system of propaganda is firmly in place, and doesn’t look like it’s going to shift anytime soon. But, I do suspect that a Biden win could look like 100k lives saved to the coronavirus since he actually believes in science, and that’s not nothing.
But, as terrible as things are, they are also in flux. Something we have seen, is aspects of the US that we took for granted, that seemed like solid fixtures in fact are not solid. Radical change is indeed possible, and it may not happen now; it may happen in 4 years, or 10 years, but I believe it will happen eventually. You just have to keep your eye on the larger prize, which is returning power to the population and taking it away from the politicians and the ultra rich.