Show Notes by Jesse Crall
In the lead up to the 2016 election, some on the left (most publicly Susan Sarandon) argued that Donald Trump was a preferential choice to Hillary Clinton because his chaotic nature would wake Americans up to the structural rot permeating our sociopolitical body. Hillary, offering a veil of competence and normalcy, would better obscure the unjust nature of American Empire. Well, Trump won. And he’s proven chaotic. And Americans did wake up…to nominate Joe Biden.
Fear drives the Democratic Party where once complacency ruled. The smug corporatism of Bill Clinton and the hollow aspirations of Obama gave way to the Vote Blue No Matter Who crowd decrying Trump as a fascist. Biden promised a return to normalcy while Harris offered a veneer of diversity to simulate progress. Democrats wanted to breathe easy once again, to cast aside imagined Russian plots, Nazi uprisings and whatever else cable news shoved down their throats. Now we find ourselves in a similar position as we did in 2016. And 2008. And 2004. And 2000. The Monster is at the gates and we need to fall out of love, fall in line and save this country from a right-wing menace. Of course, the right-wing menaces tend to enjoy rehabilitation from the same power brokers demanding capitulation, with Mitt Romney praised as a resistance hero, George W. Bush welcome in wide circles as a harmless painter and John McCain the recipient of a funeral befitting a slain Saint. That all three men supported the Iraq War, deregulation in the financial sector and cozy relationships with the Saudi regime doesn’t seem to matter. They aren’t Trump and that’s enough.
The accelerationist argument won’t work again. Four more years of Donald Trump wouldn’t produce a socialist or even mildly progressive revolution. We’d simply see a continued degeneration of public institutions opposed by a more “woke” brand of corporate control and a new foreign bogeyman in China onto which we can thrust all our fear and loathing. But the “Vote Blue no Matter Who” clique doesn’t carry much weight with me, either. I know Biden’s record and I know who’s pulling the strings. His fundraisers with Blackstone, his connections to the Neoliberal Hamilton Project, his foreign policy team’s relationships with weapons contractors and willingness to place Imperial objectives above long-term peace efforts…all point to 4 to 8 more years of better-managed harm disturbing enough on its own and sure to produce another right-wing backlash. At which point, maybe Trump can go on Jimmy Kimmel and show off his new talent for playing the zither while viewers gaze wistfully at a past that didn’t seem so bad in retrospect.
Once-blacklisted actress & filmmaker Lee Grant directed a documentary in 1986 entitled Down and Out in America, a study on the catastrophic results of trickle-down policies. As New York Times John Corry writer wrote at the time, “Down & Out in America is clear about its message: The system has failed, and the American dream has died.” Corry was dismissive of the film, demonstrating the kind of vacuous nature often found by those ensconced in elite media circles. Because Grant was correct and the endless promises of hope, change and Third Ways offered by Democrats have accomplished little in the intervening years. They’ve shifted rightward alongside the Republicans as wealth inequality continues its 40+ year long increase and the economy becomes more and more driven by finance and debt. It was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, the Telecommunications Act and PNTR with China into law. It was Barack Obama who presided over much of the economic “recovery” that threw 8 million Americans out of their homes as banks were bailed out. It was Joe Biden who proved himself a helpful figure to both administrations as well as the war efforts of Bush.
NAFTA cost close to one million Americans their jobs. Communities across the country were destroyed. Deaths of despair spiked noticeably in 2000 and continue to rise as the effects of brutal Neoliberalism infected the nation. To the liberal media, politicians and think tank elites demanding your vote for Biden, Trump represents a looming nightmare. To much of the country, the nightmare began years ago and continues unabated. Since Joe Biden and Kamala Harris fail to even acknowledge the level of pain running through America, there’s no reason to expect them to alleviate it.
Show Notes by Victoria Lynn Hall
Since Kamala Harris was chosen as the official Vice Presidential running mate of Joe Biden, I have respectfully voiced my opposition to the celebration of this choice by – not just the usual, expected culprits like the media and other elite Democrats – but also some of my friends, authors and artists I respect, a local music critic/writer that I admire, my favorite astrologer… the list goes on.
My basic argument is this: I understand why people want to vote for Biden-Harris over Trump. However, they are still corrupt politicians who serve corporate power over the welfare of people here and around the globe. To demonize Trump for policies that reward corporations and hurt minorities, the poor and working class, immigrants, children and innocent civilians in other countries, as well as generally undermine the spirit of our Democracy, and not hold his opposition to those same standards is not only hypocritical but dangerous in my estimation. It indicates the same lack of awareness and discernment about our politicians and political system which I believe led not only to Trump taking office but his having way too much power available to him once he did.
Power is something Jesse talks about a lot. In this episode he states that, “there is nothing more important right now than taking on corporate power,” and I agree. Yet I don’t believe politicians in either party are going to do that until we as individuals begin taking responsibility for our power to educate ourselves, exercise critical thinking, engage in prolonged dialog, face uncomfortable truths, practice empathy and whatever else it may take for us to become active and engaged citizens who are fully aware of how our political system is failing most of us.
I believe if more of us did that we could begin to find ways to elevate each other and those who truly represent all of our interests more in the future and that would be something to celebrate.
A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.