Mid-Term Message: Abandon Hope

Okay, we won. Now would everybody please go home and leave us alone. We’ll let you know if we need you again. (Photo by Jayu/Flickr)

Okay, we won. Now would everybody please go home and leave us alone. We’ll let you know if we need you again. (Photo by Jayu/Flickr)

Bull beat brains just about everywhere in America on election day last Tuesday, (with an exception or two), and anyone who still harbors the hope that the American Dream is alive, that the future will be better than the past, simply was not paying attention. People who profess not to believe in climate change have been given power over our national response to this rising threat to our continued existence; people who owe their souls to industrialists have been given responsibility for protecting ordinary citizens from the depredations of industry. We the passengers of the Titanic just elected a crew that doesn’t believe in icebergs.

As a result of Tuesday’s exercise in representative democracy, the people have declared that you and I should give up all hope:

  • that any measures whatsoever, however timid and inadequate to the challenge, will be taken in the foreseeable future to mitigate the awesome flood of pollutants into the air that is making our planet ever more hostile to human life;
  • that any meaningful regulations or restrictions will be placed on the industries that are blowing out the last of our shale-bound gas and oil, unleashing as they do a hideous cascade of toxins, greenhouse gases, carcinogens, radioactivity and earthquakes;
  • that anyone can now stand up to the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline to carry caustic, volatile, diluted bitumen from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico, across the American breadbasket and its vital aquifer, the Ogallala;
  • that any restraints will be imposed on the rogue superbanks that are engaged in exactly the same practices that came within a hair of destroying the world’s economy in 2008, on the theory that when you do the same thing over again you get different results;
  • that the so-called “War on Coal” will be seen for what it actually is — at attempt to minimize pollution from coal burning and avoid the fate of China’s strangling millions;
  • that any meaningful measures can be taken toward renewing our perilously deteriorated highways, bridges,water and sewer systems, electric grid, airports and air traffic control systems, even our weather satellites, because doing anyof that would require taxes, and we no longer do taxes;
  • that there is any end in sight of the determination of one of our two parties to prevent any success in governing, no matter how desperately needed by the people, if the credit for that success would go to the head of state, who is of another party — an attitude that our Founding Fathers, had they been able to conceive of it, would have branded corrupt if not treasonous;
  • that the iron grip of big money on our elections will be in any way lessened, anytime in the near or far future, in a country where only millionaires get into the room, and only billionaires get a seat at the table.

The die-hard, small-d democrats among us will hold tightly to the straw of Richmond, California, the little city where Chevron Oil blew $3 million — that’s $76 for every registered voter in the city — trying to elect a mayor and city council that would stop bothering them about the explosions, fires and pollution issuing from their giant Richmond refinery. Chevron was handed its head on a dipstick by local candidates who raised maybe $40 thousand each, if that.

And it is true that a fired-up electorate led by people who work hard and organize well, can always defeat the money — it’s demonstrated in every election cycle as the few examples that prove the rule (the Golden Rule: he who has the gold, rules).

But how to fire the electorate up when they’re busy watching Fox News and fulminating about Benghazi? And who will lead them when all the politicos are out begging money from the big dogs with which to run attack ads on television?

We must forget Washington, and all politics, abandon hope that someone will figure out how to save the system — they’re not even working the problem. Instead, we must learn to live sustainably and resiliently. We must work hard at it, get good at it, have courage, and wait for signs.



Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Mid-Term Message: Abandon Hope

  1. Tom says:

    Thank you for reaching the conclusion I came to when Obama was elected and immediately became a Republican by word (“look forward, not back”) and deed (his idea of ‘compromise’ was to give them almost everything they wanted, over and over again). i’m done with politics as a means to progressive change now that the corporatocracy has captured the entirety of government, from the Supreme Court, through Congress and the Presidency, all the way down to local government and the ‘party machines’ that decide who can be a candidate. No third parties ever do well enough to count (see Ralph Nader).

    So now it’s sit back and watch the fiasco unfold, and try to laugh all the way to the grave. Before much longer (let’s say by the next election in a few years) the environmental destruction should kick in to the point that everyone will notice and be effected by it.

    Great work Mr. Lewis!

  2. Twilight says:

    The crew of the real Titanic did believe in icebergs.

    I don’t see any of those bullets that would actually be treated any differently (in other than rhetoric) by either “party”. They’re two sides of a very thin coin, and it gets thinner every year.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      My point was not to bemoan the fact that one party or the other won or lost, but to bemoan the fact that the problems that threaten our very existence WERE NOT EVEN DISCUSSED. Both parties have sold out, and have agreed, for money, to ignore reality.

      BTW, I do not think the crew of the Titanic believed that icebergs would ever be found as far south as their course.

      • Twilight says:

        Some claim they don’t believe these problems are real, and so will not do anything. Others professes to believe they are real but in the end never accomplish anything either. Doing something that would impact climate change chiefly means using less (fossil fuel) energy – a lot less. So much less that it will have major negative impacts on our comfort and wealth, and realistically on the ability for many to even eat and stay warm. There’s no part of our political system that can accomplish this or will ever attempt to, so the mid term elections are irrelevant. Yes, it’s irritating to have such fools in office, but it means little.

        Regardless, each of us can choose to reduce our impacts on climate right now, without waiting for the failing system to act. However, it is important to recognize that the climate change that is happening now and in the near future is the result of the actions of our forebears over the last century, and to understand that any contributions we can make will be to the benefit of future generations we’ll never know. The worth of such efforts of course depends on what you mean by “threaten our very existence”.

  3. SomeoneInAsia says:

    Perhaps history operates in a cyclical fashion, with periods of wisdom and virtue alternating with dark periods of ignorance, greed and malignity, just like the cycles of night and day and of the four seasons. And perhaps we are now sitting through none other than the nadir of this cycle. Certainly that’s what the Hindus believe — that we are now living in the Kali Yuga, the Age of Darkness.

    If so, we’ll simply have no choice but to let history run its course. And take solace in the conviction that, at the end of the darkness, a new dawn will arise, like the phoenix from the ashes.

  4. Tom says:

    Someone: That’s a nice thought, except extinction is forever.

    • KB says:

      Extinction is forever only if you believe the here-and-now is the only existence forever…that tale has yet to be told.

  5. Surly1 says:

    Excellent thoughts above. Kali Yuga, indeed. Meanwhile, it’s even worse than you describe. Charlie Pierce wrote about a ballot measure in Mississippi that will restore “the entire catalog of neoConfederate fetish objects:” http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Labs_Look_Back_On_Tuesday
    “A Mississippi heritage group has launched a proposed ballot measure which would amend the state’s constitution to recognize Christianity as the official religion of the state and English as the official language of the state. The 12-part measure would also establish “Confederate Heritage Month,” which would provide a curriculum base for school children to learn about “Mississippi’s Confederate history, heritage, achievements, and prominent people,” the initiative reads…additional proposed changes under the initiative include flying the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the Mississippi state capitol, mandating that the Mississippi state flag pledge of allegiance be recited after the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, and the mandatory broadcast of the song “Dixie” immediately following the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” in public venues…”
    It goes on. The Treason Commemoration Act of 2014.
    Here’s hoping the people who sat this election out enjoy the fruits of their studied indifference.

    • colinc says:

      Many a moon ago, I was sent from CLE to a backwater burg E of Jackson to install software from my [then] employer at a Hughes Missile Systems facility. When we got to said backwater, after countless airport and other ‘delays,’ I and the trainee who accompanied me were famished. A desperate hour trying to find somewhere to eat finally resulted in seeing a sign above a large building proclaiming “STEAKS.” We were relieved, nay, overjoyed… until we entered the, ahem, restaurant to discover that not only was it one of the seediest dives we’d ever been in but, to even greater dismay, the ONLY “steaks” they had were, ugh, catfish! In fact, the only thing on the menu that was NOT catfish was a grilled-cheese sandwich, which I consumed nearly in one bite and left with all due haste. Such legislation there is only surprising by not having been enacted many decades ago!

    • Tom says:

      Surly: As George Carlin pointed out, the people who VOTED IN these clowns bear the responsibility! Besides, realistically at this point in the corporatocracy either candidate is pre-selected before being placed on the ballot and backed by the party machine (for ability to be manipulated) so that, again from Carlin, “you have no choice.” Face it, politics is dead as a means to progressive change. Watch as it all plays out over the coming years.

    • KB says:

      I am amazed that the people here believe that Democratic leaders are any better than Republican leaders. As the person above said, they are nothing more than 2 sides to the same coin. The Democrats held the Senate AND/OR the House at various points during Obama’s term, and what did they accomplish to date?

      …securing America’s borders? Nope.
      …ensuring our Constitutional Republic was protected? Nope.
      …uniting the citizens of this country? Nope.
      …putting people to work? Nope.
      …revitalizing our infrastructure? Nope.
      …solve the still-occurring Federal Reserve financial system manipulation? Nope.
      …stop the alphabet voyeuristic snooping on the American public? Nope.
      …ended our participation in armed conflicts? Nope, expanded them, in fact.

      So what did they accomplish? A seriously crappy healthcare system that caused our physicians to bail out, that pays less and less than it did before, and costs more and more UNLESS you don’t work….because the majority of them couldn’t be bothered to actually read what was put in that act.

      What an option: sick or poor. So under the Democrats, the rich don’t worry…the poor don’t worry….but IF you want to work AND need healthcare, you are out of luck.

      AND if you want to blame Republicans for the total fail of Democrats these last 6 years, look at Obama’s magic Executive Order pen and tell me another bedtime story.

      Bottom line is Democrats hate you and want you to be poor and dependent because of their communistic goals, and Republicans hate you and want you to be poor and dependent because of their patrician goals. There is NO difference, and you voting Democrat next go-round won’t change a thing.

      But I tell you what…I would much rather have a republican who is pro-gun in charge than an anti-gun democrat in charge when China comes knocking, or the world dissolves into chaos.

      AND when the world begins dissolve, nationalism becomes the rule, not the exception…and that applies to statehood too…as people instinctively try to pull in to protect themselves from the chaos that is coming.

      • Tom Lewis says:

        Nothing can be accomplished now by either demonizing or glorifying one party or the other. The essay did not do so, it deplored the fact that neither party made any attempt to confront the serious issues of our time. They are equally contemptible.

        So please, KB, spare us the partisan rhetoric. It’s beside the point.