It’s safe to say the passing of the 1.4 trillion dollar stimulus package was a positive step for the left-wing Progressive community in the United States when it was slipped through the US Senate in March. Statistics showed at the time it potentially could’ve been the most important piece of legislation designed to improve the lives of a the lower middle class since the New Deal domestic programs by Franklin Delano Roosevelt over 80 years ago. For starters the 1,400 dollar personal checks that were sent out, which were 3 months over due, may have seemed like a pedestrian amount, but at the time was at least a temporary lifeline for people living paycheck to paycheck, hand to mouth or living in boarding houses. With the 15 dollar minimum wage the lone sacrifice, though a glaring one, the most important benefit of the American Rescue Plan that made the final cut is the 3,000$ child tax credit extension. According to CNBC.com, this provision is expected to draw over 4 million children between the ages of 6 to 17 above the poverty line, which to me it doesn’t get more Progressive then that, as studies across the board show children of all races have a better chance at future success not living in poverty. It sounds like common sense but when you think that not one Republican senator voted for the stimulus package just goes to show the immense divide in Washington. A Quinnipiac poll at the time found that over 60% percent of Republican voters supported the third stimulus, showing just how popular the bill was amongst most citizens(info courtesy of newsweek.com). Surprisingly Joe Biden came out the gate, domestically at least, leaning more toward the progressive side of his party. Perhaps the fact the Democrats control both legislative houses by such a small amount, he’s felt the pressure to push more of a center-left policy to try and keep the Democratic dominance in Washington through the 2022 mid-term elections. The Republicans are still stuck, whether they like it or now, being the party of Trump, his speech at the CPAC in Orlando back in February (date courtesy of CNN.com) just showed his immense popularity amongst all bases of the Republican party remains steadfast. It’s quite an amazing feat for a ex-president who lost reelection by over 6 million votes to still wield the amount of clout that Trump still does. If you take a peak at the list of potential Republican contenders for President in 2024, do the names Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo or Josh Hawley really make the GOP confident enough to cast their orange-golden haired goose aside? The only name that would bring any sense of normalcy, Nikki Haley, doesn’t expect to stand a chance due to some less than cordial remarks she made about Trump’s dealings/reaction to the January 6th Capitol riot.
I’ve had a thought or two recently about where this country and the mega-capitalist, western culture we are presently a part of will eventually end up. If you’re going to massively shake up the political system to the point of money running not just society in general but to be trusted with the role of global leadership. We’ve already tested a failed businessman, real estate mogul with the position of Presidency. And you can say the results were, fairly mixed and I say that with more than a hint of sarcasm. I mean, okay we had Covid-19, Charlottesville, billion dollar border walls and red white and blue cladded savages storm the capital but let’s look at the one of the positives of Trump’s years in office. He certainly did a great job dividing the country more so then any President in history. Now you might say how could that be a positive? Well, at least we’ve pretty eliminated the silent majority. Moderation is dead and in my mind what a politician is or what it was always meant to represent has been changed for the better or worse. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, are these the only humans we can trust to keep our economic system strong enough where the working class can survive? Have we gotten to the breaking point where monopolization should no longer be considered illegal or even a negative thing? Look at this way, if what we deem as ultra-capitalism is the future of the US and most of Western society, it’s a very realistic possibility that Amazon, Wal-Mart and Verizon to name a few, are going to be running our world, as a whole, anyway. What would be the point in trying to separate these Corporate giants from our government? As long as there are Super-PACs our politicians are in the pockets of these massive entities anyway, so why not just cut out the middle man? I know you’re thinking, has the Gentle Rambler lost his mind? Has he become one of them? No, but the point I’m attempting to make is if you’re on board with the ultra-capitalist machine, then really get on board, and stop trying to save this overly romanticized vision of what you think Democracy is supposed to be.
For those you who are holding onto the hope that someday, our society will take a hard left, and someone similar to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez pre-2020, will emerge from the normally useless lump of the politician pool and sweep us off our feet with true Progressive idealism, most will say keep dreaming. Being Progressive, when I was lad, was just another throw in synonym for being a Liberal. Now that we’ve exposed the word Liberalism and what it means to be a neo-Liberal is, Progressivism has become it’s own political ethos. When I think of what it means to be Progressive a few obvious examples come to mind: education over militarism, free healthcare over big business, cheap and environmentally sound energy over Wall Street. Those are just some analogous topics I’ve chose to use but it’s much more then that. Thanks to the disappointment of the Obama years, the fraudulent politics of the Clintons and the unexpected popularity of Trumpism, being able to realistically see the United States take a suddenly left turn at least socially seems like a pipe dream. Foreign Policies will never have much of a chance to be truly Progressive in this country, due to the subservience to Israel across the political spectrum. Even you’re most “Liberal Progressive” pols in the US are staunchly Pro-Israel and any one i.e. Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib who dared criticize the Israeli government were immediately accused of Anti-Semitism and forced to apologize. Across the pond in England, Democratic Socialist hero, Jeremy Corbyn was replaced as the head of the Labour party and basically black-listed due to his Pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist imperialism belief system. So that’s why such a minor victory like the American Rescue Plan, or hopefully some effective Immigration reform would be worth celebrating. From here on out I don’t expect much more in terms of leftist styled governing from Joe Biden. I was just happy he stuck to his guns and rammed the much needed stimulus through Congress and didn’t fold just because not one Republican had the gumption to vote for it. Progressivism has a long way to go before it could make more then the occasional wrinkle in our Capitalistic, billionaire run society. I, for one won’t give up on the future, but in many ways the future doesn’t look very optimistic.
The Great Divide
Here ‘s a perfect way to start off how inexplicably divided our country currently stands. Joe Biden’s overall approval rating (according to a recent poll by news.gallup.com) is a middling 51%. But here’s where the great divide rears it’s ugly head, amongst Democrats Joe Biden’s approval rating is a 90%, currently, but on the other side of the political spectrum Republicans have a whopping 12% opinion of our President. A disparity in opinion polls are always expected but such a immense difference is alarming, to the least. It seems like a intra-national battle is brewing between the “elitist” on the Northeast and Western coastal states against the bible-belt, rural states. And it seems as time goes by the bitterness and downright verbal and urban-warfare will worsen. If Donald Trump survives the entire Biden term and is good enough health to run again in 2024, that upcoming election rematch would have the actual possibility of turning certain cities and states into not just battleground states politically but with potential violence. “Trumpists” are a violent array of white nationalist groups who we saw first hand on January 6th in Washington what they’re capable of. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the “Antifa”, Black Lives Matter, Never Trumpers, whom as we know can also use a certain amount of violence but are much more prone to raucous, yet mostly peaceful acts of defiance. What can the United States do to avoid such a dangerously volatile scenario? Well, the most obvious being Donald Trump not being the Republican Presidential candidate in 2024. But if the Democrats lose control of both or either the House or the Senate, it’s more than likely Trump will take credit for it and promise that only he can return the GOP back to power. It’s a terrifying visual to be sure, if Trump pulls a Grover Cleveland and win two non-consecutive terms like he once did from 1885-1889 and again in 1893-1897 (courtesy of www.whitehouse.gov). But unlike Grover, it would have an enormous impact should Trump achieve a 2nd Presidency.
It’s always difficult to close out these types of op-eds. The ones where you try and prophesized future events. The more than possible event of Trump running for a second term in four years certainly has the possibly of splintering this already immensely divided country even further. Not to mention in victory or defeat we can almost definitely expect more Capitol Hill, Charlottesville, type of a response. Whether it be in jubilation of a historic win or raucous anger in case of defeat. A lot hangs in the balance of the 4 years of Biden’s time in office. If he can manage a much more effective juggling act of domestic policy to keep both wings of his party happy, that could go a long way in him winning a second term. A bigger issue maybe the Foreign Policy stances he chooses to take. He rekindled relationships with key allies in Europe, as well as, our Progressive neighbor to the north. He seemingly is taking a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia and Russia for their Human Rights violations and cyberattacks respectively. But he’s also angered many Progressives with his bombing raids on Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq who may or may not even been responsible for a mortar attacks on a US bases. No one expected Biden to attempt to declare World Peace, but it certainly didn’t fill us with confidence that Biden was over his warmonger past. And lastly, the fact he seems to have no intention of backing off Donald Trump’s Israel-Palestine policies has left many of us in the Pro-Palestine, anti-Zionist, aparteid section of the Democratic party with a disgustingly bad taste in our mouth. Lastly, this nation, along with the UK and the European Union are coming to a crossroads. Are the leadership of these nations and entities ready to embrace a more progressive, pluralistic society? Or will they continue to allow mega-corporations and super-pacs to continue calling the shots from above. Democracy can survive, without Amazon, Socialism can thrive if certain aspects are used to a contentious manner. We can only hope we’ll have to take more of the good and less of the bad, if not what Democracy was once meant to stand for may seize to exist.
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