Preparing for a New Direction
Yesterday was the fourth of July. I was dreading going to my family’s get-together. I didn’t want to be the only one wearing a mask. I got to the point where I decided I wouldn’t wear a mask for two reasons–I am tired of feeling like a liberal freak in my super-conservative family and, more importantly, I am done caring more about my family’s well-being than they do. I have spent many years watching my brothers self-destruct. Now their health stinks and I don’t think they have long left. I didn’t get asked and was so relieved to not feel obligated on any level to go. Problem solved.
I also got this feeling: survive this year and prepare for next year because absolutely everything will be different next year. I am sure one of my brothers will not survive another twelve months. And, politically speaking, everything is turning on its head.
When the riots started and I watched the Minneapolis police precinct go up in flames, I was sure the new name of the Twin Cities would be “Detroit, Jr.” It’s fifty-two years after the riots of 1968 and Michigan never recovered. This was the only thing I could think of that would make Trump look good in comparison. Wow, was I wrong. Trump’s numbers never went up. He even tried to play the law-and-order card, but that’s not really feasible by a President who consistently holds himself above the law. He tried to pull a Richard Nixon but ended up looking like Lyndon Johnson, forgetting that Nixon resigned in disgrace.
The whole race baiting thing could have worked fifty years ago when whites were a much stronger majority. Now…not so much. White supremacy is part of the foundation of America. It is part of our heritage, but not a heritage that any human should take pride in. It’s just like anti-gay rhetoric. I remember when I was a conservative Protestant and people were taking a hard-line stance against “the homosexual agenda.” It’s fine to protest gay rights when you are not aware of any gays in your life. Back in the 1990s, Ellen DeGeneres had a sitcom that she lost when she came out as gay. This is not fifty years ago, but maybe 25. Now gays are much more out. Do you really want to protest against your mother, father, sister, brother, friend, co-worker, boss, or classmate ever having basic civil rights? Now Trump is taking a hard-line stance against people that protest and topple the white-supremacy agenda. The problem for him is all the people that are now friends, lovers, co-workers, mothers, fathers, or classmates of blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc. What worked fifty years ago is now falling on deaf ears. It’s like playing your parents’ favorite music, quaint and uninteresting. Being white is not so privileged anymore and the younger generation has no patience for celebrating Confederate traitors.
And then there’s the economic issues. Capitalism is not surviving. The basis of capitalism is consumer demand. With 30 million Americans with no job and many of them with no wealth to fall back upon, the plug has been pulled on American capitalism. You can force a restaurant to be open, but you can’t force potential customers to have money to eat there. You can force a salon to be open, but you can’t force people to go if they think they are risking coronavirus to do it. Let’s not forget about the millions of Americans with massive, crushing student loan debt, including myself. These people can’t buy houses or cars or much of anything else. Conservative Republicans have been taxing the poor for many years, but that is not possible with people that have no jobs. Conservatives have brought this upon themselves. With no middle-class to rely on, the wealthy will start having to pay their fair share. Welcome to the American Banana Republic.
So even if Trump got re-elected in November, everything will change around him. He represents a world view that is white supremacist at its core. And he is killing off his base. The states with surging coronavirus cases are mostly those led by Trumpian ass-kissing governors with no concern for the welfare of their own citizens. Killing off every single black and brown person in Massachusetts or California will not turn those states red, but eliminating even a handful of elderly white Republican voters in swing states like Florida and/or Michigan will turn these states permanently blue. Trump will be forever known for offing his staunchest voters.
I feel like I am preparing for the next phase not just of my life, but of the whole country. I will not defend things that just don’t work. That includes my dysfunctional family, white supremacy, or Darwinian capitalism. I am not fighting these things. I am simply removing my support from them. I will not give my unconditional support to things that have never served my interests. I am done. Let the chips fall where they may.