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Guns vs Bears vs Special Olympics

Cruelty and stupidity are often difficult to distinguish between, and that is a fortunate thing for the cruel. We’ve recently found out that Betsy DeVos (nee Betsy Amway Pyramid Scheme) and her Department of Education will stop funding Special Olympics. Many laughed her off as simply comedy–notably in evidence from her aren’t guns in schools already to protect against bears comment. I’m not saying that she isn’t stupid, but the evil that is oozing out of the current administration has Stephen Milleresque villainy written all over it. He’s putting into action a more overt plan, but it’s the same playbook used by others in a less ham-fisted manner over many administrations.

18 million is paltry change, and that is the amount in question–many have asked…. what is this? A few trips to Mar-a-Lago? 20 porn star pay-offs? The plastic surgery bill for the Trump clan? It’s not that much money when unfathomable amounts are being lit up for orange idiocy. 18 million for Special Olympics……… discuss this with me when we look at that $639 billion military budget with no other country even visible in the rear-view mirror. This is not about fiscal sensibility; this is about ensuring we live in an empathy-phobic society that is in place for the delight and advancement of the oligarchs.

The mental shackles most Americans drag about ensure that radical reform does not occur. The 80s and the 90s were all about instilling a sense that if you fail, it’s ALL on you. It’s not any kind of fundamental rot in the system. Very little mobility is possible in this society, and those who have “achieved” higher than the class they were born into often were born with an intelligence or capacity of some sort that helped them with this. Or simply lucky breaks. And this is a relatively rare thing these days. Downward mobility is much more common. The very notion of what constitutes success is completely fucked up in this society anyway. Kindness extended is usually considered weakness, and excess consumption is celebrated. Many profess a religion that extends charity to the less fortunate, but these are often the very people calling for cruelty upon cruelty for the poor.

The average American just keeps thinking, another degree (or insert x: lottery win etc.) and I will have what I need to do well. There’s always a shifting goalpost. Sometimes you hear attempts away from a money based success notion, but how on earth can someone watch a grown child without insurance (or with it for that matter) try to ration insulin and miscalculate, end up in Diabetic Ketoacidosis and die? How was that not about money? It wasn’t about materialism and consumption– it was about not being able to access proper and necessary items that should be readily available at our level of production. We are told money doesn’t bring about happiness, but sometimes it can prevent someone’s death, so yeah—in this mess of a society, it can bring about happiness.

We’ve all seen the graphs that show the enormous increase in productivity of the American worker over the last few decades without a corresponding trend in pay. The wealthy are receiving all the benefits of that productivity The trend is for more consolidated power and wealth.. A giant like AT&T was split apart way back when, but can you even fathom them doing it to Apple or Amazon. That’s easy. No.

It’s obvious why the benefits of productivity couldn’t go to those doing the work. If individuals had adequate pay, they might have the free time to start to question those mental shackles, to begin to realize a potential in all of us–that is the potential to rise above petty subsistance issues and connect in more meaningful ways with others. If that happens, the Betsy DeVos creatures of the world suddenly don’t control us. They don’t have the ability to have more yachts than they could ever use. The illusion would be gone that we need them to patrol and control us. As it stands, it takes two parents struggling to barely survive, often sick with relationships thin on understanding each other simply due to frenetic schedules and stress.

Current popular thought is that when someone is struggling, especially someone who has a job that is considered menial, the answer is always to advance their education or make better “decisions” (like not to get sick or have their car break down). I don’t agree that anyone should have a job and not have what they need to survive. I will even up that and say that I don’t want anyone to not have what they need to survive period, regardless of employment. I don’t want to see anyone starve; I don’t want to see anyone sleep on a sidewalk. My self esteem is high enough that I don’t need that to ensure my sense of self-worth. I believe that people want to get up in the morning and have a purpose, but the hollow nature of a purpose that is simply to exist as a commodity for others breeds depression. It’s hard to know what amount of strange behavior is caused by this system. Can you even imagine the freedom and excitement of a day not dictated in that manner?

The vast expanse of our history on this planet has been one of relative cooperation or we wouldn’t be here. Not to go all Garfield on you, but the damn concept of Mondays is but a blip on the timeline. Early graves found show an egalitarian nature evident in regard to the ways people were buried. Not the nonsense of mummies in pyramids—the kind of thing that came with “civilization”. To say it is simply human nature to lord over each other is about as valid as describing the pacing of lions in a zoo as being the natural behavior of lions.

The glories of imperialism and capitalism have brought us to the cusp of environmental annihilation. It all started when those in power started limiting access to food for the masses—then a trap was built Participate in the game or perish. The sociopaths are in charge. If we accept the notions of false scarcity and a need for nothing but competition, they are the only ones who “win”.

 

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Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest and can be reached at klwallace@riseup.net

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