Fighting over the wrong infrastructure

Four years ago, Bruce Gibney wrote that “I think the choices might become so difficult that even fairly good people will get wrapped up in short-term self-interest” within the near future.

It seems like this is already manifesting in the much-greater energy going toward a progressive budget than toward reforming the political system. I observe this pretty much daily, in the messages from members of Congress, and from advocacy groups*; even America’s progressive leadership is pretty much all-in on making pocketbook assistance the priority.

I understand the desire to provide first aid ASAP to people suffering injury, but if that comes at the expense of fixing dangerous equipment which will continue causing injury, then this is the wrong choice to make.

America’s oppressive economic systems are downstream from oppressive political systems.

The reason why budgeting in the public interest is “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” is because America’s democracy is severely decayed. Without reform, now, that will get even worse. I don’t believe that “enact economic policies so popular that a surge of voter enthusiasm will simply overwhelm rigged systems” even is really a strategy, and I certainly don’t expect it to work.

It’s nice that the U.S. House has been passing constructive reform legislation. Yet it seems increasingly like these are ultimately just “message bills,” which will be allowed to die in the Senate** without anything like the fight being waged for progressive budgeting. This seems like a historically bad choice.

Maybe there is no choice to make. Maybe salvaging the political system is absolutely impossible, already. But choosing resignation to that, without acknowledging it, seems like a form of complicity. Either way I’m left to despair for our prospects.

* I credit Indivisible’s leaders for being one major exception, here, but there’s only so much they can do when the rest of progressive America is elsewhere.

* Hegel and/or Marx proposed that history repeats, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Senate Democrats seem to have managed the reverse sequence, however. It’s tragic that, with a high proportion of Democrats ready to admit that obstructionist Senate customs are unsustainable, there is just zero margin whatsoever for contrarianism. Whereas it was really a farce that 12 years ago, with a caucus that was 60% of the whole Senate, Democrats also acted like they had zero margin and needed to make everything hostage to the worst corporate shitbag among them.

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