Divide & Conquer, Part 4: VBNW v. MAGA

This installment in my series examining how our corporate overlords stoke the flames of civil war in the hopes of avoiding a revolution will focus on the two corporate parties.

After a divisive speech in Philadelphia with the inflammatory title “Remarks by President Biden on the Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation,” I was inspired to do some compare and contrast on this topic. Rather than a Venn diagram which offers a very small space for similarities, I used a “top hat” graphic organizer from my teaching days. Not exhaustive by any means, but here’s what I came up with:

Why such divisive, inflammatory rhetoric on the eve of midterm elections? Because, with the scene below repeated all over the planet, the ruling class in the U.S. fear they are next.

One of the huge differences we were supposed to believe distinguished red from blue was a scientific approach to the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. The demogogue with bad hair that leads the MAGA cult disinguished himself in the White House spouting unscientific nonsense about a disease the public knew almost nothing about at that point. Oddly, his administration still delivered more “covid relief” at least in economic terms than has Biden’s. 

Once the current administration came to power, we got plenty of vaccines and boosters that didn’t actually keep us from getting infected but no mitigation effects like N95 masks for all to protect the vulnerable, nor high quality air filtration in public spaces like classrooms. Science became “the science” which is science in the service of commerce — not the same thing. And economic relief from the effects of layoffs, illness, lack of free public school daycare? Fuggidaboudit.

I think history will conclude that, if not for the pandemic, 45 might very well have been a two term president. But never mind about the current ~400 deaths per day. It’s pretty clear that our rulers of either color have lost interest in protecting us from premature death. Neither party supports the universal health care fundamental to success in adressing public health elsewhere.

But what about January 6?

It’s clear that the outgoing president incited his followers to stage a riot at Congress on the day the election results were to be certified. The legal fallout from that is pretty intense for said followers who are receiving hefty jail sentences for their participation. The fallout for 45 remains to be seen. It would, however, be unprecedented for him alone among presidents to be held to account for any of his crimes, including a new possibility, that of mishandling classified documents.

The war crimes of each successive president are never called to account, no matter whether the man in the White House has a D or an R after his name.

The other science topic that was once supposed to be — and is still heavily sold as — a HUGE difference between blue and red was protecting access to reproductive health care, including abortion.

I say supposed because Democrats for decades did nothing to codify Roe v. Wade into law. They were able to fearmonger and fundraise so successfully off the prospect of it being overturned that they didn’t want to give it up.

The fact that the Supreme Court is now a swamp of sex offenders and religious zealots was the fundamental reason used to promote the need to Vote Blue No Matter Who. But this argument doesn’t hold up. The Obama administration failed to insist on hearings for their 11th hour nominee Merrick Garland, and failed to block the 11th hour confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett. For that matter, the Democratic Party failed to convince elderly, ailing Ruth Bader Ginsberg to step down in time for Obama to replace her.

Once upon a time, we were able to distinguish the two parties by their differing aesthetics. When the GOP was in the White House, we were embarrassed on the international stage. 45 pandering to his base had to stoop pretty low, and George W. Bush was the most inarticulate president since the advent of television.

Those days are gone. Or maybe the White House just kept on the same art director?

I’ll end with a few of the zillions of tweets commenting on Biden’s speech.

Onward, to Civil War 2.0. 

Revolution Needed, So Our Corporate Overlords Are Fanning The Flames For Second Civil War

 One of President Obama’s many rewards for enriching banksters at the taxpayers’ expense was this summer “cottage” on Martha’s Vineyard.

Why do we need a revolution, you say? 

In rough order of priority:

o Global climate crisis driven by capitalism is spiraling out of control and the window to walk us back from catastrophe is rapidly closing.

o Global pandemic has killed millions and appears headed to kill millions more with a system of medical apartheid and for-profit medicine in the U.S. and other non-socialist countries.

Eviction crisis on top of already galloping homelessness not only creates trauma for millions but is a big factor in the spread of COVID.

Military spending and weapons systems surging — including building nuclear weapons, illegal under international law because they could easily end human life if used.

Incarceration for profit in the U.S. and to impoverish and disenfranchise Black, indigenous, and people of color is growing worse and was already at crisis levels. Racist policing continues at crisis levels but is now more visible due to cell phone videos.

o Student debt continues to depress the prospects of entire generations.

o Minimum wage is now about 1/3 of what an actual living wage should be in 2021, especially because of rapid, ongoing inflation of the cost of housing.

o Child care and public education continue to be underfunded in the face of immense unmet needs.

How are our corporate overlords fanning the flames for a second Civil War?

Charlottesville, Virginia “Unite the Right” rally August, 2017 

In roughly chronological order:

o Propaganda rather than useful information sharing is the norm across the spectrum of corporate-owned “news” outlets, from Fox News to CNN. The steady erosion of reliability in sourcing information is the work of corporate media and corporate social media that censors on behalf of the ruling class.

o White supremacy is in a desperate fight to remain in control, and numerous militias and other types of organizations have responded to perceived and real threats including the removal of Confederate statues and flags. Also, attacks on Black Lives Matter protesters, including killing them by running them down with cars (a practice that a few states have legalized) and targeting them for assassination.

o Law enforcement complicit in white supremacist movement, and armed to the teeth with cast off military equipment shared by the Pentagon.

o Widespread misinformation about public health protocols including vaccines, masking, and distancing and robust media coverage of refuseniks.

o Absence of national leadership on ending the pandemic leaving states, towns, and school boards to fend for themselves in the face of angry mobs. We are entering the third school year in a row pitting neighbors against neighbors and parents against school administration.

What can we in the U.S. do to bring on revolution rather than a second civil war?

In no particular order:

o Don’t fall for divisive tactics. For example, consider the possiblity that “divided we fall” “may be COVID’s underlying purpose.

o Look and listen beneath the surface of false dichotomies.

o Don’t demonize each other just because we disagree. People with ideas that seem wrong and dangerous may have PTSD from traumas. They may be experiencing hunger, bankruptcy, or lack of medical care. They may only have access to really poor information or outright disinformation. Don’t write human beings off even if you loathe their ideas. 

o Free your mind and the rest will follow. Do your own thinking, take in new information, and be willing to rethink your beliefs. Put another way, don’t mistake narratives for truth. Even this one.