Running Away: Giving up on the (Dis)United States
The United States is coming to a crossroads. Nobody is happy:
- The nutjob right can't wait to turn the US back into a white man's world where queers are closeted, punished with bashing if they come out; where black people are second-class citizens and women are possessions. To this end the right is working itself into an ever-increasing frenzy of hate, psyching their ranks up for the coming slaughter of their enemies, the left. And it's not just old men; the incels (involuntarily celibate) are angry young men who refuse to reconsider their poor valuation and bad attitude toward women are the reasons for the isolation with which they're frustrated. Instead, they blame women and buy into all the other horseshit.
- The left ideal is a tranquil world where we all get along. To that end they'd love to be rid of guns; their talk of doing so reinforces righty paranoia. The left talks about separation of church & state; the right frames these as attacks on Christianity. The left wants to end police racism, but tries to achieve it with ridiculous slogans like defunding police, which the right takes at face value and justifiably interprets as insanity.
- The moderates, who once steered the country by tacking left and right to follow a sane path, aren't satisfied either: whereas once they chose between center-left and center-right candidates, they increasingly are given far-left and far-right choices, neither of which is palatable: if either side acquires a majority through the legislative process, they will impose their one-sided ideology. If not, they will impose gridlock; there will be no compromise and no progress.
- The independents, who ideologies don't follow party lines in our 2-party system, are forced to compromise and pick the lesser of two evils: fiscally conservative yet socially liberal types, for example, must prioritize one, and vote a losing choice on the other.
Our national legislature has achieved little positive in at least 20 or 30 years: An assault weapons ban that eventually expired, never to be renewed; a half-assed compromise of a national health care system that was weakened by the courts. Then Trump brought chaos, confusion, tax cuts for the rich, and politicized a pandemic in unhelpful ways. In his aftermath, he left distrust in our electoral system, conspiracy theories that the last election was stolen, and crazies that held a riot over it. That crazy is escalating over time.
Meanwhile, CEOs pay themselves $10,000,000 a year; in an hour, they'll make more than I do in 2 months. A day for them is several years toil for the rest of us; in a month, they'll earn more than I will in my entire lifetime. Their companies they run have whole HR departments whose job is to negotiate wages; if there is anything looking positive, it is the comeback of unions, because we the workers need our own specialists to negotiate on our behalf if we're ever to get our fair share.
For now, though, many struggle to make ends meet with their meager wages, often supplementing income with credit and ensnaring themselves in debt obligation from which they can't escape. That debt is often a car, even though we know fossil fuels are fucking up the environment, because America's development pattern is car-centric and transit options suck. So while the cars are a personal financial burden, and the sprawl-based development pattern is a society-wide financial burden, we do nothing to change.
I remember seeing a middle-east family interviewed on the PBS Newshour. They lived in a city of rubble, and were subject to the rule of some religious crazies with guns. They didn't like the way things were, but accepted they just had to go along with it so they and their kids could live. They weren't willing to fight.
That seems like a bad choice. If instead there were others to fight alongside to prevent this sort of ending, I'd think about doing so; but the left's ideology says Guns are Bad. I don't believe they will stand up to fight for themselves, instead ceeding their rights to the will of the tyrants.
The European Union is a very mixed bag of attitudes and laws: for example, some countries are quite liberal on GLBT issues, others very regressive, even oppressive. If that mixed bag was where the US was heading, I might settle for it. But I don't think the Republicans will settle: now that they've dismantled Roe v Wade, I think they'll impose an anti-abortion law and impose oppressive anti-queer legislation at a national level, if they can. I recognize I am speculating, but I fear this outcome is possible, even likely.
I would accept the splitting of the country: "[W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundations ... as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." The current system isn't working, and hasn't been in a while, so why not? But, "mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." Instead of accepting that the United States are no longer united, that our shared government is failing and thus splitting peacefully, we will instead wait until we reach a snapping point and it becomes violent—also a bad choice.
So Opal and I are looking at something else: we are are getting out, if we can. We're studying up on Dutch and working toward moving to The Netherlands, although Opal has layers of fallback options in mind should they be needed. It's intimidating, the idea of leaving my homeland, of how much will be lost and have to be started anew and rebuilt, the unknowns. But staying here and hoping the country will suddenly come to its senses doesn't make sense either.
We're getting out, because in short: there's not enough folks to stand with. If this conclusion is wrong, the left better get its shit together and announce its intentions quickly, because we are not alone in our conclusions. What base could be an army has already started shrinking, and will continue doing so the longer the left lingers in inaction.
- Authority vs Wisdom in Politics (state-of-the-country.html)
- When leaders only look at their authority to take action, and do not consult wisdom, badness results.
- The Importance of Compromise (importance-of-compromise.html)
- Political and media polarization are breaking us into factions, preventing compromise and negotiation. But compromise is a cornerstone of the United States--can the government function without it?