So I know it’s hard.
The president obstructed justice, or maybe he’s just too stupid to be president, or both, is what we got out of the Comey hearings. The congressional GOP won’t care until their base starts threatening second amendment solutions the way that non-GOP voters have started to do.
But the top line takeaway from the last few months is this: fascism is not our future.
It’s not that a portion of the electorate wouldn’t welcome it. It’s that that 30 percent has a hard time getting traction with their ideas when non-ideological go-along get-along tax cutter mildly sociopathic types start actually having to vote for policies that amount to blue collar genocide or ethnic cleansing.
It’s not that genocide or ethnic cleansing really bothers these conservatives—it’s just that they’re bad for business. Some business. It’s bad for enough business to break the coalition, just enough, to let democracy sort of work. Eventually.
So, kicking twenty three million people off their health plans to suffer and die on the nightly news? Starving old people and kids in huge numbers? Abandoning sustainable energy that is actually paying for itself? Mass deportations of law abiding non-citizens facilitated by blue state governments? Massively cutting taxes for the rich, slashing safety nets allowing huge swaths of the country to experience untold misery?
None of that is going to happen. That’s not how any of this works.
I’m not saying they can’t, and won’t, and aren’t, making things worse at the edges. they can and will do those things. They’ll fuck the environment, as much as they can; if it can be vandalized with an executive order, it will be.
But there is no majority of frightened uneducated-but-middle-class-enough-to-actually-vote, eager to slash safety nets, even their own—if the only upside that ever materializes is tax cuts for the rich and punishing immigrants, GLBTQIA, and women. That majority exists nowhere. Not in France, not in England, not even in the US. Trump lost by 3 million votes.
We didn’t know this, before France, before England. We thought maybe a wave was rising to engulf us.
The labor party gave young Britons something to vote for. Affordable college. You know, that stuff that HRC laughed at. (The brits already have single payer. The other idea HRC found ridiculous.) So. Let’s stop laughing at healthcare and college. It won’t fix inequality, it won’t stop the coming tide of tech based dislocation, but JESUS FUCK ITS A START.
Nothing else is possible, until we do those two things. We have to KNOW that everyone that wants to train themselves to work can do this, that everyone who can be healthy and contribute is getting the medical care needed to do that, before we take the next steps, of renegotiating the social contract around the coming tech and climate based upheavals.
Health care. Education. Not ‘affordable,’ but as human rights. Thats what we want. That’s the minimum we need in a democratic candidate. The minimum. Sure you are gonna have to negotiate to move towards these ideals. But for god’s sake, you have to articulate them and not be afraid to defend them or…
YOUNG PEOPLE WON’T VOTE.
It is so devastatingly simple.
How do we ply the dead enders? Turns out if you buy green energy, wind and solar, from the farmers who are always going bankrupt in red states? Yeah, those farmers aren’t against taking blue state dollars. They may not believe in climate change. But they like the color of the money of the educated, wealthy people who do.
We can buy off the dead enders, and a sane democratic party would have done this and won the last election cycle. We buy them off with education, training, relocation, subsidized green energy IN THEIR DISTRICTS, infrastructure IN THEIR DISTRICTS. They’re not actually threatened by immigrants, mostly, because they live in post-work hell holes no sane person wants to move to.
Oh my God it isn’t hard. I assumed HRC surrogates were doing this, but they weren’t. They piled up votes in California and insulted the stupid flyover people, who, let’s be clear, are stupid and racist, but they’re not irrevocably suicidal; if we’d cared enough to buy them off, we could have had enough of them to carry the electoral college.
A lying orange rapey irreligious sack of shit got their votes for a handful of magic beans.
Oh, and when I talk about dead enders? Jesus I’m one of them. I was sweated out of the real economy over a decade ago. I made art and wrote and took care of my kids and did some activism and refused to maintain the proper set of skills and networks to remain in the medically insured class. My contempt isn’t for those being bypassed by the changing world; it’s for those who think there’s a time machine where they get 80k a year jobs that can be done by robots for 20k a year.
We are going to have to make the transition from the knowledge economy to the meaning economy. The first step in that is making sure that everyone is allowed to pursue as much education as they want in any fucking thing they feel like. Gradually we subsidize the living fuck out of a huge quantity of science for the sake of science and culture, so the Ph.Ds in Video Game World Building and Klingon studies and Catfish communications have shit to do, and find people to play meaningfully with.
There are lots of ways to do this. That’s what we can fight over.
The only alternative is the Hunger Games. We see it now in the House GOP budgets and proposals.
AI, robotics, nano and biotech will remake the world in the next century. Without all these things we’re dead as a species. Capitalism can be patched to work via basic income, or via other means. But we have to start out with a populace educated enough to let reality into their brains when making policy decisions. Two thirds of humanity is educable. It’s why we are still alive.
We just have to do the work, and never despair.
Oh, and calling people stupid is dumb. I’m dumb. I have too much anger to be the one doing much of this work. I speak here to people better balanced than I am. My fury at the utopia that could be makes me unreasonable. We need people filled with zen compassion, with Christian, turn-the-other-cheek-level unconditional love, with Jewish Tikkun Olam… we need all the fairy tales on Earth pulling hard for a livable future.
I think we get there. I think we make it as a species, in a last minute, adrenaline-fueled Hail Mary orgy of last second cramming and heroic effort and a bit of luck; we will construct a nested series of Rube Goldbergian solutions as we lurch into an unknowable future that will intermittently stall, shudder, and slip but ultimately, bend towards justice.
Fascism isn’t the future.
The future will be shiny and weird.