What Have We Learned?
Updated: Jun 26
It's time to step back and take account of the past four years in the United States. What have Americans learned since 2016?
1. Like most workers, elected government officials are better with experience than without it.
Corollary: The higher the office, the more experience necessary for competent and compassionate governance.
Conclusion: As the first President with no prior political experience, Donald Trump is a failure (and also in other ways too numerous to cover in a relatively short blog post). His performance in office has shown clearly why the President of the United States cannot be a political neophyte. Bad things happen when the incumbent is clueless (and even worse things go down if he is also a raging psychopathic narcissist).
2. Despite two periods of Reconstruction (the post-Civil War era in the late 19th century and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s), racism is still a major structural impediment to equality and freedom for Black Americans. This applies to other people of color, such as Hispanic and Native Americans.
Corollary: The idea that the United States is the "Land of the Free" is a falsehood because not all Americans are free.
Conclusion: A Third Reconstruction is necessary. Major structural changes, such as dismantling the prison-industrial complex, demilitarizing law enforcement, and redirecting funds from police operations to improve the living conditions of those in overpoliced communities, need to take place. Reconstruction includes consideration of reparations as well.
3. There isn't much difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
Corollary: Americans can't expect the latter to save the nation from the fascist tendencies of the former since the latter is paternalistic at heart. Both are shills for the interests of large corporations and billionaire investors. The Republicans are just more comfortable with this role than the Democrats are.
Conclusion: Revision of the American political system is necessary so that multiple parties are viable and a consensus coalition is required to govern. Consideration of a parliamentary system is recommended. See: Canada and the UK.
4. Capitalism (i.e., state or crony capitalism) as it exists in the world today has created an ever-widening gulf between rich owners and poor workers, with middle-class managers filling the roles of useful-idiot bootlickers. The government serves the interests of corporations and the wealthy over the needs of everyday people.
Corollary: Poverty, the exploitation of workers, and gross economic inequality will not cease as long as the United States economy is based on state or crony capitalism. No neoliberal "reforms" will be enough to right these wrongs.
Conclusion: Revision of the American economic system is necessary so that all have the means to live healthy, productive, and meaningful lives, and none are oppressed by their employers, the government, or the capitalist class.
These four items are just my rough take on lessons learned by the United States in the recent past. Agree or disagree? What else have we learned?