I eschew topical politics for deep politics, but even that seems to fail me. There is something much worse going on.
Politics supposedly represents a struggle between different segments of society with different goals and values. But the basic nature of the society in question is more important to understand.
I have an online backup service that I bought when I bought my computer, provided by a third party. I paid for a year but they seem to think I’m on a trial. I have spent quite a bit of time on the phone to no solution.
You feel for me in my private hell of phone “support”, but you don’t see what this has to do with the deep metastisized cancer of American society. Please bear with me.
The social environment these days is extremely toxic. This is what the late 60’s must have been like, minus the riots and bombings. Of course the people who organized the riots and bombings are running things now. What happened then? Is it happening now?
The late 60’s and early 70’s were a time when a huge portion of society just dropped pack. It wasn’t civil rights or the war, it was a cultural revolution in which much of the vast middle of America got, or gave themselves permission to free themselves of their obligations to others, to their families and generally accepted norms of cvilized behavior. I was a child then and I have come to see a lot of the horrible stuff I saw then was a result of adults deciding to hang loose and do their own things.
The decay slowly crept through society. The Catholic church became overwhelmed by child molesters, Wall Street by a variety of grifters. I don’t know exactly how to follow the thread, but during the 90’s businesses decided that customers were expensive, and should not be served.
Johnny Carson liked to joke about the DMV, by which of course he meant the State of California DMV. In the 80’s going to the DMV was a hard slog. It helped to go to a less busy office, but if you went on Saturday you would be in line for three hours easily. It was not easy to find where to go, and getting in the wrong line meant starting over again.
At some point the DMV started the practice of phone appointments. This was enabled I guess by a computer program that worked with the phone system and smoothed out the flow through the office. You made an appointment, showed up and were pointed to the right window, and did your business. My most recent interactions with the California DMV were actually quite pleasant, as have been those in my current state of residence.
But why shouldn’t they be? State employees are well paid and well taken care of, and work regular hours. They have every reason to be pleasant and helpful. Businesses on the other hand are obsessed with squeezing every last bit of “productivity” (read- money) out of their employees. Pay is low, hours are irregular and changed constantly, and full time work is hard to come by.
The employees themselves are nothing to write home about though. They are lazy, not terribly polite, and usually don’t care. Being friends with the supervisor is much more important to your quality of work life than doing a good job, so why should they?
Conservative political support presupposes more faith in business than government, but such faith is not merited and thus held by few people. If you call a business for help you get a person in India who hangs up on you if you are too demanding. You are a nuisance to the people you buy goods and services from. Nobody cares.
Your parents divorce if they are bored. Your boss can barely stand to pay you a minimal salary and basic benefits. You may have a few sincere friends, but they are as broke and helpless as you. You have little way to find some satisfaction for yourself other than buying stuff and isolating yourself in media or some private hobbies.
Fundamentally things don’t work. A society has to work, it has to reliably function on a sustainable basis.
The Obama phenomenon is the culmination of something building for a long time, 30 or 40 years. People want easy answers, and they want the burden to be borne by somebody else.
Various groups want to hold power, but once you have power you need to be able to do something with it, even if that is only benefit yourself. Leading America- virtually bankrupt, with a surly and uncooperative populace, is not great prize. But people kill to control even the poorest place, so the struggle will not end.