Saturday, May 14, 2011
How Fares Teh Revolution?
Well. That seems to be the case anyway.
The Ruling Class has been very busy with its various neo-liberal plots and plans to take over the country, to take over the world, and they have been steadily gaining ground in spite of the fact that every now and then the People rise from their torpor and say, "WTF?" before sinking back into passive non-resistance.
Teh Revolution to halt their progress has barely been a bump in their road, at least so far. It lost its steam -- such as it was -- when the matters at issue in Wisconsin and elsewhere wound up as a dispute in court over process, not a matter of policy. Even if the case is won by the Revolution in the end, it will be a Pyrrhic victory at best. The policies continue on.
Right now the big deal is over "changes to Medicare and Medicaid" which the Republicans are "demanding" as a condition for acquiescing to the need to raise the debt ceiling by sometime in July-August.
"Changes in Medicare and Medicaid" that are not specified, of course, but one assumes they would require the eventual end of the government health care program for the elderly, the disabled, and the poor. That's the goal Republicans have had on their agenda since the inception of the programs.
What they say they want is a private health care system, not a public one, that provides a declining amount of "premium support" to Medicare "customers" and provides states with financially capped block grants to partially pay for medical care to the indigent. Or not. As they so determine.
I'm pretty sure that's not actually what they want, but that's what they say for the purposes of argument. Basically, what they want is all the money now in the System diverted to their private portfolios. Same as with Social Security.
The standard response has been to argue their points, issue by issue. They are so "wrong" about this or that, and the standard opposition position is to support the status quo against their radical changes to the System.
For me, that's a real problem because the System is pretty fucked up when you get down to it. It "works" after a fashion, but because it has been under relentless assault by those who want all the money in the System diverted to their private portfolios, it costs far more than it should and it provides far less medical care than it should, while simultaneously requiring doctors and hospitals to over-prescribe, over-test, and over- or under-treat patients.
Rather than use the opportunity to make the System better -- and take the reins from the Reactionary Party of Theft and Greed -- all the oppositional energy is concentrated on keeping things the way they are.
Well, things the way they are suck.
Rs want to make it worse -- "Ha-ha, Suckers!" -- whereas Dems and most "progressives" don't want any changes at all.
And so it goes.
Is it any wonder the Rs and their radical reactionary sponsors continue to make substantial gains in their relentless quest for their brass rings whereas everyone else is the loser? It's not just a political struggle. It's a social and economic struggle that really only they are engaged in.
Practically everyone else is... passive in the face of their onslaught, or they are arguing the finer points of custom and law in hopes of protecting parts of the status quo. Or, praise be, continuing to marvel at the ignorance and arrogance of Alan Simpson.
Yes, well. Not surprisingly, the Radicals and Reactionaries are thundering forward.
The rebellions in the Midwest earlier this year did not succeed in thwarting the nefarious plots and plans of the Minions of Reaction, but they weren't entirely unsuccessful. They certainly raised a bit of consciousness, and they demonstrated that the vast majority of people are not at all inclined to agree with the Rs slash and burn tactics.
On the other hand, the Rs relentlessness in pursuit of their objectives has the effect of chipping away at resistance and opposition, and the generally positive media coverage the Rs have been receiving, despite the radical nature of what they are doing and what they want, is shaping opinion in their favor.
While marching and carrying signs is all well and good, and we need much more of it, unless the protest movement can provide a Better Solution Than the Status Quo, it is ultimately doomed to failure.