“I’d love to agree that it’s unacceptable for this to be happening, but it is absolutely the opposite. It’s completely acceptable. We The People have, for many years, allowed country f*cks, with the morals and values of leaders such as Trump, to get away with anything in this country. Somehow OUR laws and OUR Constitution protect them when they are wrong and defend them when they are acting like true terrorists. And we just sit and watch, shaking our heads. But are we really all that surprised? In Columbus, it’s punishable by murder by the police for a Black man to hold a cell phone while in his friend’s garage because that is a threat this country can’t handle. But 30,000 whites wearing camo storming Capitol Hill while all OUR elected officials are gathered is just a little unruly and handled by an idiot tweeting “We love you?” I’m afraid the US ship of America the Great is sinking fast. The question now is should we be playing symphony music or Lee Greenwood?” – Keli Rankin, Lissa’s wise, incisive, truth-telling BIPOC sister.
When I posted my review of the Chris Hedges video “The Politics of Cultural Despair” on my blog yesterday, I had no idea how prescient the timing of that would become.
Like my BIPOC sister, I was horrified but not surprised by yesterday’s deadly QAnon and Proud Boy coup attempt. I was not shocked that shirtless white supremacists dressed in bull horns, KKK symbols, and QAnon markings waved Confederate flags in the seat of our democracy. It did not amaze me to see the stark difference between a President that staged a photo op and sicced tear gas and the National Guard on peaceful Black Lives Matters protestors at the Capitol, while white men practically got the red carpet rolled out to let them storm the Capitol while Congress was in session. Nobody in America can deny that if those Proud Boys standing bare-chested in Congressional Hall after vandalizing our symbol of democracy and pushing past a weak Capitol Police had been Black men, there would have been a blood bath. The double standard is in our faces, and while I’m not surprised, I do feel humiliated to be an American in today’s global culture.
I am glad Biden/Harris got the Congressional votes to pave the way for inauguration in the coming weeks, but I do not have much hope that they will move the needle any more than any other establishment figures have. What we need is a peaceful revolution of national transformation, not another puppet show of corporate greed ruling all of our corrupt systems, including the health care system, which as a doctor, is near and dear to my heart. That healthcare is a private, for-profit business venture that gives lip service to patient wellbeing but ultimately panders to the shareholders and the corporate bottom line is as shameful as this coup attempt on our Capitol. We would be foolish not to see how the two could be linked, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m pro-science. Every physician I know personally is a good person who, while they need to make a living, is not profit-driven. Every doctor I know struggles to cover the overhead of increasing costs and decreasing reimbursement from greedy managed care middlemen. Every nurse and doctor and front-line Covid worker I know (and I know many of them) are motivated to sacrifice their health, wellbeing, financial security, and personal comfort in order to save lives during this pandemic. I will get the vaccine when public health officials deem it’s my turn in line. Still, the health care system is as corrupt as our government, pandering to capitalists, who, even if they were good-hearted and really did care about We The People, would not know how to redistribute the wealth under the influence of unfettered capitalism.
I do not think the corporate elites are evil any more than I think doctors are. I do not believe there is an evil cabal of global puppet masters pulling the strings of We The People. I think “trickle-down theory” simply doesn’t work. Creating a small cadre of global elites is the natural consequence of unrestrained capitalism, not some sinister conspiracy to dominate the world.
Frankly, if you’re one of the 9 people who own half of American money, there’s a good chance that you would fit the psychological profile of a narcissist. And if you know anything about narcissism, narcissists do not play well in the sandbox together. The idea that a handful of narcissists might be willing to share power with each other without endless squabbling and power plays so they could coordinate a mass domination effect is ludicrous to me. I had grant funding from a Carnegie to pull it off, yet I couldn’t even get a handful of the world’s most powerful spiritual healers in a room together at a retreat center to try to mastermind a unified theory of healing! You really think the 1% is cunning enough to mastermind a global pandemic, racial division, and other distractions so they can coordinate doling out billions of doses of vaccines contaminated with a way to hook us up to the cloud so they can manipulate us? We can’t even get the goons in Congress to pass legislation to protect the basic human rights of all Americans these days! We overestimate rich people. They’re flawed, imperfect, traumatized people with lots of Achilles heels, just like the rest of us 99%.
I agree with Extinction Rebellion and scholars like Chris Hedges that the only way out of species extinction is peaceful mass civil disobedience. We need to take to the streets (without arms) and express our discontent- whether we’re on the right or the left or somewhere in between. Fighting each other is just a distraction that will pave the way for business as usual. I’ll say it again that I’m glad Biden/Harris are on their way to the White House, but that is not enough. They will be as useless at instituting mass changes- such as toppling unfettered capitalism and exposing how out of control capitalism has built within it its own demise- as all the other establishment politicians on both sides of the political divide.
The sad thing, what made me cry yesterday, is that this time, unfettered capitalism will not just destroy the American empire. It will take the rest of the world’s human species (and many other species, like the Northern white rhinos) along with it. We should be ashamed of the world we are leaving our children. Why did We The People let this happen? So a small percentage of us could indulge in unrestrained hedonism? What happened to our empathy? What closed our hearts? When did we stop caring about the marginalized and vulnerable? Is the human animal just a savage beast that will destroy rather than cooperate? No, I don’t believe we are. I believe we’re hurt and traumatized- and hurt, traumatized people pay it forward with hurting, traumatizing behaviors.
Even though I have trauma-informed compassion for both victims and perpetrators of harmful behaviors, I will not make the mistake of false equivalency and say both sides are equally right, thereby justifying not taking a firm stand for ethics, values, human rights, and ecological healing. Some things are just wrong, even if they happen because someone has been hurt. Even though I feel sad and scared like everyone else, I refuse to devolve into despair or get paralyzed by fear. We must be resolute and know where we stand. I, for one, stand against QAnon, Proud Boys, white supremacy, and anyone who supports the cult of Trump. This is a moral human rights issue, and sometimes we must divide in order to evolve our species. I also stand against unfettered capitalism and any politician who kowtows to corporate interests over We The People’s basic survival needs or compromises with greedy capitalists in order to protect their personal power and political agenda. I stand against ecocide and it breaks my heart what we are doing to Mother Earth and all her creatures, including our own children. I stand against those who refute public health guidelines and put their personal freedoms over the collective wellbeing of the vulnerable and marginalized.
I might be wrong to be taking these stands, and if I change my point of view, I will publicly apologize and renounce my stands. But I just wanted to declare, on the day after the greatest threat to our democracy in the US, that this is where I stand.
What about you? Where do you stand? Are you willing to get uncomfortable, participate in civil disobedience, upset people who don’t agree with you, risk your job, your marriage, and your safety, sacrifice some of your power and privilege, and do what we must to institute radical, systemic, institutional change, rather than comfortably numbing ourselves into thinking Biden/Harris are going to be good Mommy and good Daddy who will take away our pain forever, without our active participation?
I hope the Biden/Harris administration milks this opportunity for all its worth. We now have Democratic control of the government, but with 50% of our population hating those in control, we will not make radical change without finding the places we all agree with. And I think we all agree that 1% of the population has no business stripping the 99% of basic survival needs and an Earth safe from climate crisis. Please, take a stand from your ethics, your morals, your empathy, and your heart. Let’s stop bickering and organize around what we agree upon- which is a lot.
PS. If you need a virtual community to help calm your nervous system and support you during uncertain times, our first gathering of Healing With The Muse meets on January 11 on Zoom. Those of us who are activists also need emotional support, creativity, trauma healing and community in order to fill our hearts so we can stay engaged in our activism. Let’s support each other.