Say It Ain’t So, Joe, Again

The Biden administration (with a 33% approval rating) looks like the zeppelin Hidenburg just before it hit the ground in New Jersey. But it isn’t only Arizona’s Sinema’s anti-voting rights agenda, or Manchin’s refusal to budge on enhancing the nonexistent social safety net in the US “Joe Biden’s low point: can the president revive his sinking popularity?” Guardian, January 15, 2022).

The political system in the US is run by, and operates for, the economic elite here, just as it has since the founding of the nation in the late 18th century. Just as the founders allowed for a horrific system of slavery to become the bedrock of the economy, so does today’s racism and mass incarceration result from the same forces of the power elite. It is no cliché to say that they, the elite, run this nation for their interests as the military-industrial-financial monied class. Joe Biden is a figurehead for the elite and they, the elite, are tipping their hands more and more toward opening the door for complete corporate fascism here.

When I wrote “Say It Ain’t So, Joe” (CounterPunch, March 20, 2019) many months before the 2020 election, I enumerated the really bad policies that Biden stood for, from kowtowing to the banking class in Delaware and beyond, to his support for immoral wars such as the war in Iraq that he wholeheartedly supported. His disgusting behavior toward Anita Hill during the Senate hearings to confirm Clarence Thomas speaks for itself.

It turns out that the anarchist Emma Goldman and the antiwar protester Philip Berrigan were prescient in their observations that voting meant just about nothing in the US. Both protesters were wrong about a few issues, but on the voting issue they were right on the money as the capitalist class might observe. And the money here in the US is in the form of predatory and militaristic capitalism.

It seems more than apparent that the ruling economic, political, and social classes will now allow, indeed they’re ready to usher in, some sort of fascistic corporate state where national symbols of so-called pride become sacrosanct, if they aren’t already, and criticism of the material kind, such as left journalism, will be punished. Look to the plight of Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison for the litmus test of what the power elite can do to someone who materially challenges their military and political interests. A member of the royal family, Prince Andrew, allegedly took part in the grotesque underage sex-procurement ring of Jeffrey Epstein, but the Queen will do nothing to free Assange from the clutches of the poodle-nation Britain. Readers might say that in Britain, political authority lies with the prime minister Boris Johnson, but it seems as if he is sometimes busy  with rolicking parties at inappropriate times.

The laughable effort of Democrats in failing to stem white supremacy through their debacle over voting rights put Biden’s saber-rattling over the Ukraine into the shadows for at least one moment “Fear of Russia Brings New Purpose and Unity to NATO Once Again,” (New York Times, January 14, 2022). Even casual observers might have paused following the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle to allow others to catch their collective breaths before they began the drumbeat for militarism and more military spending.

There’s a segment of what’s left of the left that can’t holler loud enough about Antifa. How about screaming as loudly about environmental murder for the benefit of the few and ensuring that life of this planet will become ghastly in about 100-200 years? I suppose that this is all part of American Exceptionalism. It’s like what Nixon said about breaking the law over 50 years ago: If the president does it, then it’s legal. If the US helps to burn up the planet in concert with others, then we’re still exceptional among nations.

Here in the Northeast, it’s not exceptional to have cold temperatures during the winter. But, as I write, we experience the second of several below-zero days and enormous amounts of rain, snow, and freezing rain fall as if in some bizarre weather potpourri. It was unheard of to experience rain in the Northeast in the winter and often bare ground, an environmental condition that does not allow for the reflection of sunshine back out into space and furthers the environmental debacle.

In one area, science, the US has made some inroads. The development of Covid-19 vaccines is an example. Profits for the successful pharmaceutical companies that developed those vaccines are astronomical, but the achievements are spectacular. Tragically, the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers have put a dent in that accomplishment and that dent has been lethal!

Here are the words of the late astronomer Carl Sagan: “Don’t sit this one out. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment of the history of our planet.”

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).