Right 2 Survive: An "Imperial" Moral Imperative
"People 'knead' all of these 'ingredients' at once and simultaneously to make the 'bread of life'.....and not just to 'loaf' around, Government!!!"
Being the analytical man that I am and having the memory that I do, I tend to juxtapose a lot of issues -- to "knead" them together and to create a "big picture" of life today and in the foreseeable future. Some would oversimplify the matter by saying that I speak in a "convoluted" matter. I beg to differ. Yet, to such detractors I will tip my hat politely (possibly show their age and IQ with a middle digit impolitely) and pass on by.
This post promises to be interesting, as I show the connections between the lack of affordable housing, the existence of food deserts in the U.S., the threat to Guam, the aftermath of recent hurricanes, the U.S. government's slow response to crises, tRumpism 101, the rise of China as the next world power and the contribution of neglecting its poor and its defeat of Hannibal to the Roman Empire's eventual demise. It's worth noting here that, though quasi-imperial China's recognition of human rights might be sub-zero, it's counter-intuitive for a power-hungry person or body to regard the desires or demands of the disorganized masses whom they prefer to lord over -- and to whose lives these powers bring some level of organization, albeit by forcing "what's good for them" upon them. The fact that the impoverished masses seek recourse from said powers carries with it the implication that the masses need the few; and, this pleading only serves to further embolden the lords who can deny the requests and squash dissent quite handily. That's not to speak of the fact that government has agency which includes organized police and military forces, while the masses so often show themselves incapable of coming together around an organized and well-articulated set of demands. Furthermore, all of this begs the questions:
"Will the masses need to adopt some or all of the mannerisms of those in power -- against which and against whom they rail -- if they hope to obtain that for which they plead???",
"If so, then to what degree must the oppressed mimic the mannerisms of the oppressor in order to replace the oppressive system with a better one???" and
"If the masses don't intend to adopt any of these aggressive or oppressive mannerisms, then how might they depose the brutes???"
These are all valid questions. Even so, I hope you can excuse and tolerate my obsession with grim realities. If so, then read on.....
I will posit this much before delving into the aforementioned long litany of issues that I'll knead together into the grim picture which we'll see clearly by the end of 2020. As people complain (along with me) about the tRump [White House] 'residency, they must remember that our current electoral system, the lack of sufficient voter (and elementary) education and the irrational sentiments that caused 46% of those who voted for a 2016 presidential candidate to check "tRump" are what gave us this monster. Americana is falling of its own weight.
Even if you argue that 45 lied to the masses, it means that an utter fool managed to fool 62.9M Americans and took the White House from someone who got 65.8M votes and who lived there for eight years with her husband who couldn't guarantee her victory despite his two. Simply put, your argument points to the weakness of yourself and of the one whom you supported for president. It's a self-defeating argument. The difference between you and I in this matter may be that, while we each voted for someone who lost, I'm not blaming the current monstrosity on the lies of someone who campaigned for 17 months and who has been in the public eye for many years. I knew in June 2015 that I'd never vote for him. I am willing to admit to the failures of the system that so many Americans exhibit a blind faith in. What we have here is a failing democracy (which includes a failure to communicate...effectively). Admit it. We'll all be all the better for it.
The grim picture that I'll paint is one that has China as the fully- or nearly-established replacement to the U.S. as the world police and chief world power -- in effect bringing an end to over 70 years of U.S. imperialism. Let's face it: With 45 in "awfulice", China could very easily wait for American imperialism to fall of its own weight. If tRump isn't implementing his failed policies or signing grossly flawed legislation into law quickly enough for Xi Jinping, the latter could decide to call in China's debt in order to complete his rise to world emperor. One might argue that Xi is too reasonable to do such a thing; however, the Communist Party of China continues to serve him 180-proof shots of dictatorial power with which he might soon get drunk. It's anyone's guess as to when this might happen. (He evidently has a high tolerance. Let's hope he's drunk himself dry and won't ever become "politically inebriated".) I'm guessing it will happen around November 15th, 2020. We'll see clearly by then whether or not I'm right.
With me having already given the spoiler for how the story will end if the process is not arrested within three years and with this post having already become quite long, I'll try really hard to explain my other points in very short paragraphs. I'm not the man of few words that my father was:
This post was inspired by an article I read on October 24th, 2017 about America's quickly-declining stock of housing that is affordable to very low-income families. Reading that article began a rush of related thoughts about the various bare necessities of life that are getting further and further out of the reach of hard-working, low-income Americans.
As an advocate for the homeless who has seen the dispossessed become more and more disenfranchised and less and less involved in government-confronting protests and meetings which are designed to address the matters of poverty and sustenance, even as government shows itself to be less and less tolerant of peaceful assemblies that merely ask government to perform its duties for its most impoverished and vulnerable constituents, I've often wondered when this sloppy mix of issues would reach its tipping point -- when the apparent reversal of the social contract of the 1930's that afforded the "well- and much-kneaded" "bread of life" to working-class Americans lest they revolt would again cause the present-day dispossessed to resist or altogether revolt and thereby to refuse to die of starvation or hypothermia without a fight.
(Sadly, I must admit that we haven't reached that tipping point yet.)
The article indicates that nationally 60% of the self-same units that were surveyed from 2010 to 2016 lost their affordability to low-income families. Though the article doesn't say so, this means that all such affordability could be lost by the next scheduled presidential election. The case can be made that there exists a certain irony in the fact that the country's remaining affordable housing stock will likely be completely decimated during the 'residency of the developer-in-chief -- unless and until you factor in the profit motive of capitalism which the election of this empty suit only serves to accentuate. (And the poor denizens of Appalachia actually thought tRump had their best interests at heart. I hope that America has learned its lesson and further that the damage which "the vacant Armani" continues t do is neither completely unbearable nor irreversible.) I see "tRump-villes" much greater in size and number than the "Hoover-villes" of the Great-but-soon-to-be-outdone Depression in America's not-so-distant future.
The crux of the issue that is spurring this rapid decline in affordable housing is the fact that landlords are renting to the highest bidder while willfully ignoring the fact that "Everybody needs a place to rest [and] everybody wants to have a home" (verse three). The economic downturn caused people who couldn't maintain their mortgages but who were quite capable of maintaining rentals to flood the rental market. Landlords who previously relied on low-income people who often struggled to pay the considerably lower rents of 2007 no longer needed to make concessions to the poor or to go into contracts with HUD. Former mortgage holders vacated their houses and opted for rentals. The increased demand for rentals combined with the higher incomes of this influx of new renters allowed landlords to turn a "catastrophe" into a financial "opportunity" ("catastrophe" and "opportunity" being the same word in Chinese -- See opening paragraphs). We ended up with a bunch of empty houses that the working poor could never have hoped to afford and with apartments that the poor used to occupy now losing their affordability at an exponentially faster pace. What is conspicuously lacking here is an overt and unambiguous recognition that "Everybody needs a home".
A similar dynamic is at work when it comes to food. Washington, DC (where I live) has eight wards. Wards 7 and 8 are on "the other side of the [Anacostia] River" (as opposed to "the other side of the tracks" -- but with the same effect as the age-old adage denotes. They are the poorest wards of the city and share other negative demographics. From what I'm able to gather, supermarkets of the size that is most common in the nation's capital are capable of adequately serving approximately 10,000 citizens each and Wards 1-6 have sufficient numbers of grocers. Wards 7 and 8 have a combined census of 135,000 people and three supermarkets between them. What's more is that these two wards are where city officials place the lion's share of the woefully inadequate number of "affordable" units that they intentionally create (as opposed to leaving it to the laissez faire market). One of the few socially-active residents of "Poor Southeast DC" recently explained to me that none of the large chain stores that former DC mayor Adrian Fenty initiated efforts to bring to DC want to set up shop in low-income neighborhoods where the remnant of the city's affordable housing is located. These grocers, she explained, want to build only in high-income areas -- as if poor people don't need to eat. Again, what is conspicuously missing here is an overt recognition of the human necessities of the poor. The grocers are in hot pursuit of the almighty dollar, to the detriment of the poor who are too hungry to give chase to the grocers. Then again, those living in tents would only be able to store non-perishable food unless they can afford a Coleman and a constant supply of ice.
I must stop there for now; but, you get the point. TO BE CONTINUED.