Civil Disobedience Series #3
For years I have been protesting and trying to get my fellow Americans to see the growing inequalities in this country…..and finally a few years ago I was not talking to the wall…..
Let’s look at “inequality”….
Unless you live on Billionaire’s Row, you’re probably aware that economic inequality is as salient a topic these days as it’s been in perhaps a century. That should be no surprise. Substitute heavy-industry robber barons with hyper-rich social-media moguls; Gilded Age Newport mansions with $238 million Manhattan condos; and slum-dwelling immigrants with the opiate-addicted Rust Belt underemployed, and it starts to feel a lot like 1890 again.
But if you think something is missing from the national conversation about inequality, you’re not wrong. It tends toward sweeping assertions about what’s “fair” and “decent” in a country as rich as the US. That’s the sort of argument you hear when Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calls for rich people to pay their “fair share” of taxes, or when conservatives accuse liberals of wanting to “punish success.”
The problem with this sort of argument is that it conflates two different things: fairness and equality (or equity, if you prefer). One isn’t necessarily the other, as any poker player can tell you. If an exceptionally skilled player happens to win all the chips, that’s just as fair an outcome as an equal distribution of the chips, so long as everyone plays by the rules. Indeed, an equal distribution of the chips would be unfair if one talented player deserves to win them all. And, as conservatives reasonably argue, the best players won’t come to the table at all if they know their winnings will be confiscated in the cause of greater equity.
How many times have you heard the argument against pay raises as an assault on success?
The pandemic and the economic down turn begs the question….will this nation be only for the rich?
So far it looks like that is the case……
This society has long suffered from a kind of Stockholm syndrome: we look to the rich for answers to the very problems they are often responsible for creating and from which they benefit. The wreckage of this pandemic moment is a bitter reminder of this affliction, as well as a signpost suggesting how we must emerge from this crisis a just and more equitable nation. With a possible depression ahead and more social unrest on the rise, isn’t it time to stop vindicating the wealthiest people in this country and look instead to leadership from those who were living in a depression before Covid-19 even hit and already organizing and protesting?
The events of the last week or ten days shows me there is more to these so-called “riots”….it is finally looking like a class war as well…..
The people who became known as the looters were a fraction of those who stayed behind after the earlier protests dispersed. They are now deemed “thugs” and “thieves” by those who find it easy to write off their palpable frustration, which spread to Santa Monica and across Long Beach by Sunday evening. Writing it off, however, not only ignores America’s systemic racism, but also neglects to address our dire social stratification. As displayed this past weekend on the streets of L.A. and elsewhere, the upheaval taking place across the country is now as much about class as it is about racial injustice and police brutality.
Trump, in his own egotistical way, hoped for this outcome, stating that he desired to be a “wartime president”. Wish granted. The flames Trump has fanned since taking office have sparked America’s tinder box and the fire is burning on his doorstep. What we are now witnessing is full-fledged class warfare. No doubt, it’s been a perfect storm of events; the effects of Covid-19’s massive unemployment, some 40 million, the virus’s death disparity, the continued assault of black lives by a militarized police force along with a corporatized government that intentionally fails to protect its most vulnerable citizens.
Not to worry…the media will frame it in another way…..it is all about the police violence towards blacks……I disagree with that and it is their, media, way to try and dumb down the protests.
To help me illustrate what is happening…..a paper by the Journal of Dispute Resolution…… https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”