We have had evidence for approximately four decades that we are burning so much of our world that we threaten our own human ability to thrive on this world. We made unsteady and reluctant changes, while corporations who wish to continue to profit from the burning of fires sought to bury the knowledge. So successful were they that they no longer need to act directly. Legions are convinced of the lies.
Coincidentally, approximately four decades ago a plan was hatched to radically change the political landscape of the United States and draw it into a cycle of more and more reactionary cultural politics. While progressive activists and politicians have made some genuine, if uneven, progress — we have ultimately arrived at what can best be described as a fascist regime. And changes in governments elsewhere mirror our decline towards the reactionary.
Or perhaps not coincidentally.
The same corporations that wish to continue to profit from the burning and polluting of the world are the ones who helped fund the movement to the right. The prosperity gospel, anti-intellectualism, jingoism, and colonialism all readily embraced by the reactionaries were exceptionally convenient for the corporations. Helping them sell more, move into new territories, ask for more funding from governments, and avoid scrutiny.
So soon now, we will have an answer to a question. A choice, really…
Will we refute the oligarchs who wish to create a perpetual regime for their comfort that will end in genocide and global environmental disaster? Or do we allow ourselves to be slowly burned alive, as we descend into fascism, tearing at one another?
We will decide. And soon.
It’s time. It cannot be postponed any longer.
But that’s not the end of it.
Because it isn’t as simple as that. Nothing ever is.
The people who have collectively woven this reality that is the United States are the people of the United States, collectively. Not equally, no. Despite the imagined equality that many of us espoused to ourselves, the nation that has been and is was founded in an attempt to gain equality for a select few and a profound distrust of equality for all. Slavery and the invention of ‘whiteness’. The continued presumption of the superiority of men. The genocide of the First Nations. Continued religious (and non-religious) persecution and Protestant Christian religious hegemony. Insistence on inventing a reality where gender roles are rigid, and strictly heterosexual and cisgender. Oh, the lists I could write, endlessly detailing these… tools. Call them cultural values if you must, but in valuing certain humans above others the tools are devices for establishing and reinforcing castes and classes, and above all for excusing individuals who mete out punishment from a higher to a lower caste outside the law, while making our “injustice” system a means of exacting revenge on anyone who tries to seek justice.
The hoarding of wealth, the devastating pollution of the world, and the creation of power structures that divide. These are not separate things. And that is where it gets tricky. Because most of us with some degree of caste have been taught all our lives that we deserve it, and that to become equal we will lose something. And that imaginary sense of loss is what generates friction, that friction emotional heat, and that heat gives the fascists ascendant means to manipulate. Turn people into agents of power and violence.
Not the first time that violence came to the fore. It is not our exception. It is our custom. It is our habit, those of us with some caste to us, to exact revenge on those without it.
We will have to give up this habit.
Without giving it up, we ensure that those who are most powerful always have those tools at their disposal. Tools to ensure the inconvenient are not at liberty to make changes to their harvesting of the systems of the world.
We will have to give up this habit.
If we want to survive, at least.
Otherwise, the only ones to survive will be the extremely powerful.
At least if you chose them over yourself and every other human being who deserves your respect and your willingness to see them as equals in the world, you might take cold comfort in the fact that they will be as miserable and uncomfortable as the least of us now.
Time to choose.