This is a break from the bicycle stuff to comment on The World.
Today, special counsel Robert Mueller filed indictments against folks connected with the possibility that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to rig our last presidential election.
(Don't get me started on how I think prior elections were also rigged in their own special ways.)
Now, there are loud murmurs that Trump may fire Mueller and pardon the man Mueller indicted.
If this happens, it's not revolutionary. In fact, it's only radical because it will be so blantant an abuse of power that no one can look away. People are already wringing their hands at the prospect of a "Constitutional crisis" and talking about "nationwide action" (meaning, protests). to "speak up" about the injustice of it all.
I admit that I am dubious about all of this.
I'm dubious because, as cathartic as a rally/protest might be in this
situation, we may be too late for such an action to be actually
Not "meaningful," but EFFECTIVE.
--Unions have already been neutered in most states with "right to work" laws and lawsuits.
and fewer jobs are full time and/or offer meaningful protections
against worker abuse, and many workers are being replaced by automation;
are legally people (yeah, I know) and the time for the repeal of that
legal reality is not now or in the near future;
"General Strike" will no longer be cohesive, cooperative or widespread
enough to have a real impact. Too many people cannot afford to walk out
on their jobs and/or cannot get childcare to attend a protest. Too many
people are elderly, un-ambulatory and/or otherwise unable to attend.
Thanks to rampany development and gentrification in cities, too few
buildings are left to squat in should participants in general striking
lose their jobs and their homes. Assuming that hundreds of thousands
could actually be mobilized to make such an action EFFECTIVE (rather
than merely meaningful), there would be widespread violence, either from
troops sent in by the President or by independent armed militias who
see the opportunity to flex their heavily-armed muscles -- while law
enforcement mostly look the other way.
We have already watched the protests get bigger, and louder, and more violent.
And nothing has happened, except that the people with power and money are circling their wagons in tighter and tighter circles.
When the first school shootings began happening years ago, and no one in a position of power screamed or pushed through legislation demanding stricter gun laws, that was when we decided it didn't matter anymore. America -- a violent country with violent beginnings and a pervasive, hyper-masculine collective psyche that has wounded generations of sensitive children and encourage bullies for most of its history, is about to have a constitutional crisis. And other than the few hundred thousands who will march in protest, waving their signs and screaming their protest chants and wearing last winterr's pussy hats,
Most of the country will stay home and yawn.
They will yawn from exhaustion, because they have to work two or three jobs just to stay housed. Because they're single parents or grandparents raising children, and they have no support and few or no resources. Because they are too stressed from surviving to stay caught up with the news cycle or even to read and understand our nation's constitution. because after generations of growing "anti intellectualism" -- which really boils down to hating anyone who has more than a high school diploma because you never got father than yourself, let's be honest -- the people who are actually using their educations and intellect to try and make things better are OUTNUMBERED by the folks who are too poor and sick and under-educated to find the energy and strength needed to engage in this fight.
As a country we are being overwhelmed by an inertia brought on by the widening gap between rich and poor, the death of the middle class (not nearly as slow as some would have us believe, if you know your economic history at all) and the consolidation of the world's wealth into a handful of dynastic cells. For the time being, the deck is stacked against the common working person. I will suggest that it was stacked since long before I was even born, and that the ability to make real change through mass action was already pretty much lost by the time I was in high school. Sorry, I was born too late and grew up too isolated to participate in that grandly romanticized struggle called The Sixties. I came of age with Reagan's election in 1980. Throughout my twenties I was told that "greed is good" and that fashion mattered more than substance because no one was paying attention substance anyway.
As a member of the high school class of 1981, I was never going to be an idealist about politics or the supposed power of my vote.
I am shocked by the number of television shows today that recalls the halcyon days of the 1980s.
Seriously? Is anyone actually nostalgic for that decade? Good Lord. I'm sure as hell not.
who lost their idealism long ago, I am dubious about the effectiveness
of a protest action anymore. It is highly possible that real change will
take generations and that I will not have a thing to say about it
except on a micro-level, teaching kids or otherwise quietly influencing
one heart at a time. I've got nothing else. Because I'm a
fifty-something chickenshit with physical and mental health issues and
so far have not found a cause that I'm actually willing to really and
truly die for. Blame it on my birthyear, blame it on my rootless, isolationist parents and my highly mobile childhood, blame
it on depression or auto-immune disease or any number of things.
But all I can do is all I can do, and dying
for a cause is not part of the equation.
Because I was never raised to believe any cause might actually be worth such a sacrifice.
So it's no stretch from there to my views about rampant nationalism, flag-waving and all the rest.
So what's left? Other than going underground, living quietly and below the radar, and reveling in the small daily miracles, and being kind whenever possible, well -- I honestly don't know.
Other than doing those quiet things, I have no other answers, except to suspect that I am standing on a point in our collective timeline where the pendulum isn't swinging in my favor, and won't again for a long time. I can't be an idealist anymore. I can't pretend that bicycles will helps ave the world in our lifetime. And I can't imagine a world in which we all actually wake up and realize that we need to live kinder, gentler and simpler (and maybe have fewer kids) in order for everyone to have what they need to live a merely decent life.
I don't buy in. I don't believe. In the end, we will all die someday and the older I get, where, when and why matters less and less.
If this totally bums you out, feel free to detach, unfollow, whatever.
This is who I am, this is how I move through the world, and going forward I'll be looking for those smaller miracles, if only to keep from going crazy.