”However biased it was towards the interests of the rich and however hostile it was to the poor and minorities, the capitalist democracy at least offered the possibility of incremental and piecemeal reform. Now it is a corpse.”
”It is an elaborate and empty reality show funded by the ruling oligarchs — $1.51 billion for the Biden campaign and $1.57 billion for the Trump campaign — to make us think there are choices. There are not. The empty jousting between a bloviating Trump and a verbally impaired Joe Biden is designed to mask the truth. The oligarchs always win. The people always lose. It does not matter who sits in the White House. America is a failed state.”
”There were many actors that killed America’s open society.
Hedges seems to indulge in fecklessness more than a little bit here with his own "talk, talk, talk," never mind being needlessly hyperbolic in his commentary. His bullet points, while at least somewhat accurate, are nonetheless generalizations, and his overall attitude appears to be: "We're fucked; there's nothing to be done about it; I quit."
How much I can do about the current state of this planet obviously is pretty questionable, yet I continue to chop my wood, carry my water, and to the best of my ability keep my own house in order. I provide feedback to my elected officials, regarding issues of concern to me, but I do NOT so involve myself with that feedback that I fail to live my life apart from that activity. To me, a large portion of why the world is in its current state traces back to a failure on the part of the majority of its inhabitants to PERCEIVE the world as it is and ENGAGE it. I suspect there is a considerable degree of ennui and indifference extant which can too easily vitiate the motivation to be involved and affect improvement. How to change that on a large scale? At the risk of mimicking Dr. Leonard H. ("Bones") McCoy: "I'm an engineer, not a sociologist," and ill-equipped to provide what might be an intelligent answer, other than to recommend the course of action I summarized above.
What I WON'T do is bemoan the situation as Hedges has here as though we are helpless to alter it. That kind of caterwauling is worse than useless to me, and if he bothered to think about it, to him as well.
I might agree with Hedges views on the state of American democracy and the degree in which the two parties have failed and even betrayed the working people of America, but then to make the decision to totally opt-out of the political process and to shout and bemoan his disgust from the sidelines is unforgivable.
Indeed. He enumerates the problem with no small amount of exaggeration, but can't be bothered to suggest solutions. That kind of attitude IS part of the problem!
Solutions to such complex problems aren't easy to articulate, Loren. Deep revolutionary changes are necessary, such as examination of human limitations, exposing complicated hidden finance flows, short-comings of how we pay for mass communication, even painful self-examination of identity and our basis for self-esteem. Even the sociology of revolution is relevant. Our brains are wired for simple stories with clear cause and effect. Audiences don't even have the attention span to comprehend several novel ideas that interconnect. (Unless it's feed to them like a soap opera.)
Joan, I was just reading an academic article about this, especially point one.
... McGuire and Delahunt flatly dismiss notions that anyone’s opinion about public policy outside of the top 10% of affluent Americans independently helps to explain policy.
Page and Gilens themselves were clear that opinion within the top 10% of the income distribution may well be a proxy for opinions of the top 1 or 2 percent.
... variable affecting policy outcomes…is the transfer of large amounts of money to policy makers from the wealthiest sources focused intensely on particular policies.”
The political coalitions at work in these cases quite transcend business associations.[xii] Individual firms and investors virtually always dominate.[xiii]
... the mobilization of big money with its comet-like trail of social networks, subsidized op eds, subservient think tanks, and journalists seeking applause and better positions. That is how the reality of money-driven political systems shows up in surveys.
In money-driven elections and policymaking, you will have candidates, elections, real competition that is not collusion, and all kinds of noise, but when the smoke clears – and there will be lots of handsomely subsidized smoke – average (“median”) voters will not determine where policy settles. This doesn’t mean that elections do not present real choices: divisions among oligarchs can really matter.
... a form of affluent authoritarianism.[emphasis mine]
"There is no check left on corporate power." Hedges most succinct sentence, to me, Joan.