Sunday, August 16, 2020

They Just Want You To Hurry Up And Die Already - CAN YOU DIG IT?!?!?!


newrepublic |  For a variety of completely unacceptable reasons, federal and state governments have proven unwilling to provide adequate relief that would have allowed more Americans to avoid the more severe impacts of the pandemic. Lawmakers could have paid workers to stay home, provided ongoing support to industries that cannot safely open, or offered financial assistance to parents for child care instead of rushing them back to school. These sensible options weren’t on the table. After the first round of paltry relief expired at the end of July, nothing has happened. Like someone breaking their diet with one extra cookie and deciding they might as well go HAM on a whole sleeve of Milanos, the nation’s leaders have blown past their deadline and have thrown up their hands. 

They’ve tried nothing and they’re all out of ideas, man.
 
As many have observed, the United States is broken, barely a country anymore. Tens of millions of people are in truly desperate need of help. Some need protection from eviction. Others require a rescue from the dangerous conditions of nursing homes and prisons. Many more just need the unemployment money that the state owes them. A portion of this country larger than many European nations has been abandoned to life-ruining chaos. Less than two weeks since the extra unemployment benefit expired, lawmakers have quit the scene and the media has largely moved on to covering Kamala Harris. 
 
The question of why there are not widespread, large-scale protests or riots specifically about this is worth considering. Perhaps it should be surprising that no one has burned down an unemployment office. The elusive detail is that we’re talking about people who have long been left to wither; many were left abandoned during the last financial crisis and its aftermath. Millions of ordinary Americans have lived their lives as the frogs boiling in the water of austerity and neoliberal neglect. Instead of channeling their rage into a broken political system that has been unresponsive to their needs, they post about committing suicide on Reddit. 
 
There is obviously a major problem in our political system, where the ongoing disaster unfolding does not necessarily translate into an electoral threat for the Republicans. As my colleague Osita Nwanevu noted recently, the Republican Party is insulated from its own mistakes by the absurdity of the Senate as an institution and their general success in structuring the political system around their continued victory. Like the rich boss’s nephew who gets an internship and spends it fucking around on the internet and harassing his coworkers, the party knows what it can get away with and by how much. Our democracy has been warped such that one of the parties in charge in Washington can flamboyantly embrace the mass death of impoverished Americans, knowing that the consequences will be too minor to be of any real concern.