Economic Systems and False Patriotism

Purely capitalistic economies have never existed.  Most western democracies have mixed economies that consist of free enterprise and government regulation that are in constant negotiation to find a reasonable balance.  Sometimes government gets a leg up and other times free enterprise gets a leg up.

Both are necessary as a sturdy foundation is required for innovation and production, while that latter is necessary to support the foundation.  The foundation is built and maintained through wage labor while innovation and production is created by capitalists.  Both are necessary and when they are out of balance the country suffers.  When business is favored we end up with a large class of working poor and when workers are overly favored innovation and production may suffer.  Livable wages for all should be a national goal.  Most people are not looking for handouts.  Most people take pride in hard work.

Unregulated capitalists (the minority) gain unfair power and exploit the working class (the majority).  They tend to prioritize profit over social good, natural resources and the environment and can become an engine of inequality, corruption and economic instability (Wikipedia capitalism).  We must find a balance.

Since the 1980s the capitalist class has been favored through deregulation resulting in stagnated or lower wages and lost benefits (pension & healthcare) for the working class while prices have risen.  When I was growing up the working class was the middle class, but now the working class is just surviving paycheck to paycheck.  We must find fairness.

Capitalists and the governing class have formed an oligarchy in which the masses are ruled by the few and allowing the oligarchical class to abscond with the country’s wealth that was built on the back of labor.  They would have us believe that anything that regulates the “free” (which does not exist) market economy is un-American or unpatriotic.  They want to label anything that helps the working class as “socialism” thereby connecting it to the former Soviet Union and communism, our mortal enemies since the 1950’s.  They want us to believe that socialism will steal our freedom when, in fact, it will curb their freedom to exploit the working class.

It isn’t an either/or thing.  It’s about balance and fairness and not letting the rich and powerful exploit labor.  Supporting affordable healthcare, housing and education for all is not unpatriotic.  Don’t let regulation that provides fairness for the working class be dismissed by the label of socialism.  It is a ploy by the capitalist class to maintain their control and power that exploits labor.  Let’s vote for fairness and balance and don’t be fooled by labels.



Understanding Narcissism and the Importance of Voting

One of the reasons that I find the behavior of President Trump unacceptable may be that I am not accustomed to dealing with narcissists.  I grew up in an environment of humble,  kind, hardworking people.  As a child, I was reprimanded for bragging or acting superior and praised for being considerate of others.  I find many of his behaviors to be repulsive.

I came across an article this week written by someone who was raised by two narcissists and who has a greater understanding of how to deal with them.  “Being Raised by Two Narcissist Taught Me How to Deal with Trump” by Karen Greier ( 2/13/2019) provides some valuable insight.  First, the author outlines “patterns of behavior” exhibited by narcissists.

  1. meltdowns – public tantrums over the tiniest slights that are held up as great injustices.
  2. dressing down –  forcing someone to listen to a complete accounting of all the ways they’re terrible.
  3. wagon fixing – teaching someone a lesson for imagined slights by doling out an outsized punishment.

She continues, narcissists “…are all about wielding control over people” and don’t care how mean or bad they look doing it.   They “…do what is needed to elicit behaviors from the people around them to ensure they get what they want” and finesse situations to their advantage.  They make “… their opponents feel like they don’t have any moves left.”  Furthermore, “narcissists do not show remorse, they are incapable of shame.”  They can’t see how they have wronged others because they don’t hold them in “… high enough esteem.”  They have no sense of decency and want to hold their power over others.  They know how much leverage they have and will always use threats to get what they want.  THEY NEVER CHANGE.

So we are stuck.  Our President has no shame filter, doesn’t care what others think and does not have the ability to change his behavior.  He exerts his power while having an aversion to complexity and limited knowledge of the real and important facts needed to support his inflated sense of his ability.  In Team of Vipers Cliff Sims (St Martin Press, NY 2018) writes “Everything is personal to Trump – everything.”  He is incapable of seeing the other person’s point of view unless it agrees with his.  Everything he does is for himself and is incapable of anything else!  ALL WE CAN DO IS VOTE!



Benefit of the doubt…

One of my Facebook friends posts numerous memes of Trump depicting him as being chosen for the Presidency by God, being guided by Jesus, as being a pro-life family man of great Christian virtue and as a highly successful businessman who is only disliked because he is working so hard to make America great again.  My Facebook friend is not alone as 35% of Americans still support Trump.

My friend’s view of reality is diametrically opposed to mine and I have other friends, family members and acquaintances who agree with my Facebook friend.  This makes me question my view of reality.  If I see these people as being misled, am I being misled?  Are they not looking closer or seeking other sources of information?  Am I engaging in confirmation bias?

In Trump, I see a twice divorced man who engaged in multiple extra-marital affairs, who inherited a lot of money, declared bankruptcy six times and often stiffed contractors and workers, who mocked a person with a disability on national television, has told over 6000 documented lies since becoming President and who believes that the National Enquirer has the same journalistic standing as The Washington Post or The New York Times.  I don’t believe Trump was chosen by God and that he thinks “WWJD” when he makes decisions.  Before becoming a pro-life Republican for the 2016 election, he was lifelong a pro-choice Democrat.  He is more concerned with money and his brand than with the circumstances of the American people.

I am giving everyone the benefit of the doubt as I search for the truth.  My hope is that everyone would fact check and research the reliability and motivations of their news sources.  I hope that we can find common ground.


Superficial Beliefs and Assumptions

This is the first time in my life that I have had strong opinions about a United States President and government policies.  I struggle to not dismiss the beliefs and assumptions of others that disagree with mine.  I read, listen and write about our current political climate.  I fact check and try to be aware of my own confirmation bias.  This is not an easy process.

Some, superficially, find the President’s brashness as a good quality while others, also superficially, find it distasteful and dangerous.  These divergent views are supported and fueled by opposing news sources that may be more concerned with ratings than truth.  Our superficial beliefs and assumptions reenforced by our favorite media makes it easy for us to jump to conclusions and wrongly believe that we know the truth.

One way for us to find common ground is to find one neutral news source and compare its reporting with our favorite news source and to note any discrepancies.  Google the media bias chart and choose one of the sources from the top center.  This is the place where we can begin to find common ground and to unmask our superficial beliefs and assumptions.