THE UNITED STATES OF DENIAL

12 11 2017

I want to explore the geography of the United States of Denial just a little. No, “The United States of Denial” is not a new name for Egypt. I’m talking about the good ol’ USA, where we are all united in being in various states of denial. Some of those states are adjacent to each other, some are pretty far apart, and some of the ones that are adjacent to each other are simultaneously quite distant from their neighbors. That’s one of the ways we’re united–in denying our denial. Those other people–they’re in denial Not me!

There’s Republican states of denial, Democratic states of denial, and then there are various liberal-left-socialist-Green states of denial, as well. I think it’s wonderful that, even though the United States of America has effectively closed its political process to all but two basically similar parties, in the United States of Denial there’s room for lots of political flavors.

Republican states of denial have been on the front burner a lot lately. Climate change denial has been front and center, along with science denial in general, as well as denial of racism, sexism, and compassion.  And then, of course, there’s denial of reality in general. Speaking of generals, there’s denial of the danger that a war anywhere in the world would pose to life everywhere in the world.

That particular state of denial, the denial of the danger of war, borders one of the most prominent Democratic states of denial, which also denies the dangers of war. While the Republican state of denial of war danger borders North Korea and Iran, its Democratic counterpart bumps up against Russia. The two states of denial also share a common border with Afghanistan.

Republican climate denialism is so well-known that I’m going to skip over it and give some attention to its neighbor, Democratic climate denialism. Democratic climate denialism is more subtle than the rugged Republican version, which simply denies that the problem exists. Hey, mass extinction is the capitalist way to solve overpopulation!

Democrats admit that there is a problem, but are in denial about how serious it is. They can get behind closing down the coal industry, but think that it’s perfectly OK to keep  developing our oil and natural gas supplies, with all the pollution, from petrochemicals in the ground water to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, that results. Democrats deny that Our Sacred American Way Of Life could be part of the problem, and like to believe that we can somehow stop climate change while we go on living the lifestyle that has induced it.

There’s also twin states of denial around authority figures. Many of the blue-collar folks who put Trump in office are in denial of the fact that the policies he’s enacting are hurting them and helping him and his plutocrat junta. That territory has been widely explored, although Trump supporters (and the media they are conditioned to believe), deny it even exists.

Screenshot-2017-11-10 AB133_web pdf

Thanks to Adbuster Magazine for this graphic!

Clinton supporters have their own states of denial, although apparently not enough to elect a President. Democrats just don’t understand how a campaign that spent a billion dollars on publicity could have failed to inspire its target demographics to turn out and vote. They don’t seem to understand that the policies of their candidate’s husband and the next Democratic President, Barack Obama, whose policies she promised to continue, punched a lot of formerly middle-class people in the gut instead of giving them relief, let alone security. Democrats blame their loss on the Russians, the Greens, the Berniecrats, non-mainstream media, sexism–I have been told that, as a man, any criticism I might make of Ms. Clinton would be discounted as “sexist.” Umm, isn’t it sexism defined as “discrimination based on gender”?

Berniecrats and a lot of other “progressives” are in denial about the Democratic Party. They think they can take it over and make it more left-wing–socialist, even. People have been trying, and failing, to do that since the Mississippi Freedom Democrats in 1964. It hasn’t worked yet, and various events, from Tom Perez’ insertion as party chair, to the recent ejection from the DNC of most of its remaining Sanders supporters, to Donna Brazile’s tell-some memoir, make it clear that the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is dug in and not about to surrender.

All of these Democratic states of denial border another state of denial that is populated by old-line Republicans as well as most Democrats. That state of denial is characterized by the belief that, if only we impeach Trump (and Pence and Paul Ryan and Orrin Hatch and Rex Tillerson and so on), everything will be OK again. OK, maybe we have to somehow  replace the President and a whole bunch of Congressman, Senators, Governors, and state legislators with Democrats, but then things would be OK again.

No, they would not. The system, not the actors in the system, is the problem. Sweep away this bunch of bad actors, and the system will just produce worse actors to take their place. That’s what happens when you acquiesce in a system in which you keep voting for “the lesser evil.”Politics becomes a race to the botom, and things just get more evil. But there’s lots of denial around that, of course.

“But, speaking of evil, the Democrats are right! The Russians interfered with our election! Look at the recent indictments! Look at the recent revelations!”

So far, my take on that begins with the likelihood that most of the very wealthy are involved in a certain amount of complicated, possibly illegal business dealings, sometimes without even realizing they are breaking the law, because business law is incredibly convoluted, so it’s just a question of who the government decides to catch.  Democrats and Republican are united in denial that this problem is systemic, of course. They couldn’t possibly be part of the problem!

After the 2008 crash, it was widely expected that the Obama administration would hammer Wall Street. Everybody remembered that hundreds of bankers went to jail in the wake of the Savings and Loan crash in 1990. But Obama told Wall Street “Relax. I’m your friend,” and nobody who was anybody went to jail. In fact, the government gave the criminal banks billions of dollars to keep them from failing. Meanwhile, the federal program that was supposed to bail out the homeowners who were the real victims of this scam was underfunded and misdirected, and ended up helping very few of the millions who were scammed. That right there created a lot of future Trump supporters, y’know? Clinton supporters tend to deny that. But, I digress….

The other important factor that’s being denied is that it’s OK for some countries to influence US elections. Ever hear of AIPAC? The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee is Israel’s tool for influencing U.S. government policy.  You pretty much can’t get elected to national office in this country without being on their side. When Ms. Clinton spoke at an AIPAC gathering during the campaign, she was even more militant than Trump in her level of support for Israeli policies that have helped keep millions of people miserable, the Middle East in turmoil, and made the whole world more dangerous, and threaten to further squash civil liberties here in America.  How does that serve the interests of most Americans?

Saying it’s OK for Israel/AIPAC to vet all candidates for national office, but “Russian interference in the US election,” which zealous investigators have been straining to nail down for over a year, is not OK–now, that’s denial! And yes, there seem to be quite a few Republicans who have been caught in denial of meetings they had with the Russians–I guess they thought they could get away with something that was only declared unfashionable after they did it, for the most part. But hey, just because they’re being persecuted, doesn’t mean they’re saints.

Charlie-Brown-Lucy-Moves-the-Football-AgainBefore I close, I do want to talk about Green Party denial. We tend to deny how systemically we are cut out of American politics, and keep getting our hopes up that, this time, Lucy will let us kick the football. Ain’t gonna happen. If we Greens are gonna score any points, first we’re going to have to change the rules of the game, by going on a don’t-take-no-for-an-answer campaign to change America’s electoral/governmental system so that it includes, at the least, ranked-choice voting that will eliminate the “spoiler” threat (Considering the low rate of participation in US elections, “spoiler” is, of course, another form of denial.). If we could push things to the point where state and  national congressional bodies have some form of proportional representation, that would be even better. But we’d going to have to get on it. If contemporary life were a hockey game, I’d say we are now late in the third, and final, period. And, speaking of hockey, I’m going to talk about hockey sticks next.

music: Eliza Gilkyson “The Party’s Over


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