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Stuck Again

The daily lives of Americans are multi-cultural and have been for a generation. Growing up in the 1960s my parents told my sister and I that we were lucky to live in the Bay Area because it had people from all over the world. This is true everywhere now.

The economic paradox from which this country is born, equality financed by slavery, manifests today as so-called “wage slavery” for most U.S. workers and many who work for American companies abroad. The economic racism on which this country is founded is at the core of how we perceive of and distribute wealth. All our institutions, however great, produced by this wealth will reflect this racism. The United States does not have a history of racism, is has the fatal flaw of racism, from the beginning.

We can measure our society by any rubric or slice and dice it with any chart and all know who lands at the top and bottom. Covid-19 statistics show this as well. The poor and people of color grouped closer to the bottom and ever increasingly all but a few losing ground and descending fast. All inequality in the United States is economic, everything here is about money. Demands for change to this economic inequality are met with oppression. In our plutocracy, the most effective form of oppression is inflicted economic hardship.

Congress isn’t stalling on economic relief. Corporations are getting what they need, right? Washington is punishing a population that wants change, reminding us -don’t ask, especially from the bottom. Politicians do not want to hear left-wing views about using tax money on taxpayers. If politicians (of any party) must raise money from the uber-wealthy to run their campaigns they cannot change the racist economics that keeps their donors rich. This country’s leaders are being clear that there is no level of suffering they are not willing to inflict on the population to maintain power. The denial of universal healthcare during a pandemic is the only example needed.

Trump’s openly white-supremacist views are a win for him and politicians of any stripe. The racist dog whistle is tiring to blow, why not be obvious, and make the Nazi crazies feel important? The rest of us, conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs condemn the racist deplorable(s). This is much easier than addressing the ugly economics that produces in our fellow Americans, ignorance, intolerance, desperation, alienation, and racial hatred. A divided and angry populace is easy pickings for any politician.

Some may have voted with enthusiasm this last presidential round. I think most of us voted against who we hated the most. I believe that many of my fellow citizens felt as I did, these candidates were losers. What great nation presents Donald Trump and Joe Bidon in an emergency as real choices?

The earth was not hit by a meteorite, there has been no solar flare event or even a supernova (I am holding out for at least one of these in 2020). There are no Barbarians at the gates or terrorists. The only bombs and gunfire here are domestic. All our wounds as a nation are self-inflicted, even Trump.

This country will and should dissolve if we can’t face the racist economic policies on which it is based. We are stuck, we have been for two hundred and forty-four years. Over a century ago W.E.B. DuBois said, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” And here we still are. There is no way to move forward with hardship, debt, and sickness for the majority and economic stability for the few.

Despite the state of the nation, I am optimistic, truly. Even a car crash can stop an out of control car. President Trump is a car crash. I am not a big fan of U.S. activities abroad. Nineteen years of war in the Middle East at the cost of trillions of dollars (exported racism). Trump through his ineptitude and dereliction of duty has lessened the grip of our empire and our ability to bully the rest of the world. Trump has also spied on the citizenry less than Obama. The Black Lives Matter movement and the leaders growing out of it have flourished under Trumps’ incompetence. Obama-Biden shut down Occupy Wall street quickly, ruthlessly, and competently. I salute president trump for these achievements.

President-elect Bidon’s re-establishment of what looks a lot like the same players before Trump does not bode well for the change this country needs. Yes, I gladly voted for Bidon if only for the fact that I believe the President should occupy the same dimension as I do, Trump does not.

This terrible virus is not the cause of our current crisis. It is just a harsh light on what was in plain sight. This death and horror are self-inflicted pain, we brought it upon ourselves. Dozens of other nations stand as proof of this. Our society was in turmoil before the Trump presidency. People died for lack of healthcare and medical coverage and faced medical bankruptcy before Trump’s COVID-19 fiasco. Economic inequality and wealth concentration was well underway before Trump and his cronies came in. The nation was racist before Trump threw down the dog whistle and picked up the phone to tweet.

Our great nation was founded on the labor of slaves, millions of slaves, generations of them. This is where our most hallowed traditions and institutions were born. Today our national fatal flaw, racism, stands in contrast to our national diversity, the day-to-day reality of our lives. These can’t coexist.

Kim Codella is a recently retired California Community College instructor from California and can be reached at codellk@crc.losrios.edu

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