How to remain hopelessly optimistic in the face of gross human stupidity


Kevin Spacey has just admitted to the possibility of having sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy over 30 years ago, when Spacey was 26. That boy is now 46 and Spacey is 58. So, Spacey has issued an apology.
And Netflix is now officially distancing itself from their tarnished House of Cards star.

We’re entering a new era of trial by public media. As a society we recognize that we’re out of balance, the rich and powerful are becoming richer and more powerful, so our collective ability to tear down a few big men serves to temporarily vent off a growing, slow burning rage. It’s both a safety valve, and a diversion.

A diversion from what? A diversion from focusing on what’s really going on, and I don’t mean what’s going with Donald Trump, who is now the target of the same witch hunt media tactics—and the end game of the Mueller investigation. What’s really going on is simply this. The people who operate the status quo system want to keep on running it without any interference or change. They want to keep the wealth flowing up.

Donald Trump threatens to expose them. His flamboyant abuse of wealth and power threatens to expose all those people with wealth and power. They need sacrificial lambs, and in that regard none could me more visible and convenient than the Great Orange One.

Conveniently, the sexual-and-power abuse scandals of Cosby, Weiner, Weinstein and even Spacey (the actor symbolizing the corrupt president), tie directly to Trump. And if and when that Tower topples, the rest of the billionaire class gets off the hook, and life as it is will go on, uninterrupted.

This is not a conspiracy, and I don’t intend to present it in that light. This is something deeper, more profound. This is how organic power knits together to protect itself, in combined, reflexive actions. It’s how prep schools marginalize and eliminate interlopers. There is no conspiracy; all the actors know instinctively what to do to expel the threat.

It is interesting that all this is occurring at precisely the time we need to radically rearrange our political and economic systems to meet the growing environmental crises. Crises, because there are many more than one. Climate change, species extinction, soil degradation, nuclear, chemical and plastic pollution, sea level rise, desertification and more. Life as we know it is changing dramatically, while our political systems become ever-more incapable of meeting the challenge. Why? Because these systems have been hijacked by deregulated, unfettered capitalism, that works only for an ever-smaller group of owners.

How small a group? In January Oxfam reported that just 8 individuals have as much wealth as one half of the world’s population. In other words, 8 human beings have as much wealth as 3,600,000,000 other human beings combined. Oxfam uses the words “beyond grotesque” to describe the extreme imbalance. Actually, there are no words capable of imparting the true horror, given how much of that wealth comes from the direct abuse of the planet’s ecosystems, and how much of it comes from abusing other human beings.

Oxfam attributes events like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as the public’s response to rising inequality, and calls for a new economic model to reverse the trend toward inequality.

One has to ask, who does the removal of Donald Trump actually serve? If he’s removed, Mike Pence will take over. Trump’s anti-environment, anti-wealth redistribution Republican-friendly policies will remain in place. What will change is the symbolism. The public will mistakenly believe that the evil wealthy head has been severed from the body politic. And the status quo will prevail. With this in mind, it is easy to see why Barack Obama was a much preferred leader for the billionaire class. He was able to deliver wealth-friendly policies with a telegenic smile, while the US government eroded individual rights and freedoms, expanded the security state and continued its resource wars across the Middle East—that are now spreading into Africa.

The paradox in my headline is intentional. Hopelessly optimistic. While some of us can and do remain blindly optimistic, the current situation is hopeless. Nothing is going to change until, as Oxfam points out, our economic and political systems change radically.

That is not going to happen as long as the people with wealth and power are unwilling to give it up. And they clearly are not. Look, look, over here. Kevin Spacey laid on a 14-year old boy 32 years ago.

Additional reading:


Popular Posts