I’m sorry, I just don’t think there’s a ‘moderate’ approach when it comes to oppression and discrimination. It’s either there or it’s not, it’s either in our laws and in our hearts or it’s not.
It’s become resoundingly clear to me that even these presidential candidates who I thought were probably well-meaning actually never really had any interest in changing the status quo.
For what they lack in intersectionality and ambition they make up for in cowardice and complacency. For Buttigieg and Klobuchar to fold after Biden wins *one* state on virtually name recognition alone doesn’t shed enough light on the strings being pulled behind the scenes, but definitely reminds us of their existence. I was never vocal supporters of either, obviously, but they were better candidates than Frat Bro Joe, right? Clearly?
We know that corporate interests and big money in politics are at the very least *capable* of corrupting not only our government but our minds and our self-esteem. Whether it’s through advertising, comparing our lives and experiences to others online, or maybe like when ExxonMobil discovered climate change in the 1970s and put profit over planet. There’s money to be made in fear, but scaring people requires effort, confusing people instead requires less.
It’s just manipulating the truth for personal and financial gain. We tend to conflate understandable decisions with justifiable ones.
It’s my opinion that if corporations have *any* hand in making decisions in our democracy, there will always be profit sought and Americans measured not by the rights endowed by their creator, but by their capacity to consume and produce.
This is when the “capitalism” vs “socialism” debate comes in, which I’m deeply disinterested in because it’s a debate invented to scare people into thinking it’s too risky to demand corporations have a modicum of morality in the way they conduct business and asks us as people to have a modicum of decency to human beings; even and perhaps especially the ones we cannot see. If you agree with that, you’re a radical progressive in the eyes of establishment politics and media. Welcome to the club.
Similarly, pure misinformation and fake news don’t seek to convince you of its lies, its goal is to obscure the truth and scare you with micro-targeted precision. The mission is simply to barrage you with so much bullshit that you can’t tell what’s real and what’s not. So many are gonna scroll past this because it’s a long Facebook status and who the hell has time for that?
What’s worse is you just stop caring, which I’m sure is where a lot of us are at now. It’s designed to do that, even and perhaps especially this platform here. Facebook’s political ad policy is toxic and disgusting, where if you’re selling something you must be truthful in your claims, but all bets are off if you’re simply looking to persuade or confuse.
Definitely the worst part about being fed lies all the time is that it gets harder to identify truth when you hear it. It gets harder and harder to identify hope when you need it.
It’s not idealistic to imagine a world beyond institutionalized greed. It’s not idealistic to seek and elect representatives and find identity with politicians or advocates who make clear what they’re beholden to. I’m dubious of anyone who claims to be beholden to no one.
It’s not idealism, it’s not purity testing. It’s recognizing that making life substantially and sustainably better for the most vulnerable first makes existence better for everyone. Call it trickle-up empathy. There isn’t a ‘moderate’ approach to this belief just like there isn’t a ‘moderate’ amount of acceptable rat poison to consume.
You can say no more rat poison. You can say enough is enough. You don’t need to be strategic with your vote or support whatever optics look better. That’s not your job. You don’t need to figure out healthcare or education or affordable housing to demand better for everyone. Sure, incremental progress is how these goals will be accomplished, just like any goal, but in this Primary we’re setting where the finish line is. Don’t sell yourself, or those whose value you couldn’t fathom, too short.
I don’t see myself ten or fifty years from now regretting these positions, and I don’t think you would either. Everyone benefits from a healthy community, a literate and educated community, a community where everyone has a place to call home. We *can* have nice things. I’m dubious of anyone who believes otherwise, or that they are singularly the solution to any of these problems. I’m especially dubious of anyone who says that it’s too “far” in any direction to believe in a world without suffering.
Millions of desperate people are a national security risk. They will make decisions against their own interests out of fear, they will make choices out of a perceived lack of options.
You personally may not be suffering in the particular way we’re talking about but so many people are, and they desperately need your help. Don’t sell them or yourself short.
Y’all already know who my candidate is (it’s Bernie Sanders) and you can also see now how truly afraid so many comfortable people are with changing the status quo even slightly in favor of those who make those people’s lives comfortable in the first place. Some have gone from presidential candidates to scared individuals simply folding to job offers come next January within hours. That’s how powerful the establishment is. It’s all very human, but we tend to conflate understandable decisions with justifiable ones.
Tyler Scruggs is a writer and musician living in Atlanta. When he’s not churning out internet content, he’s paying too much for coffee and buying movie tickets weeks in advance. Feel free to validate him on Twitter (@TylerScruggs), Instagram (@Scruggernaut), and YouTube.