Social Media Detox 2

August 21, 2020 at 8:46 pm (By Amba) (, , , )

Getting off Facebook again, and for the most part Twitter (I might use it to post links to blog posts if I have anything to share), at least until the election.

I’ve pretty much concluded that the fragile feel-good illusions about the Democratic party and ticket that they have, against all odds, managed to recreate (quite a feat, I have to hand it to them) are all that can just barely save the country and give it a last chance to make good. At full enough flood, that nostalgic resurgence of willfully innocent Kennedy-era idealism might be able to float the country an inch or two over the horrific threshold facing us. Since I recognize that but can’t join in the inspiration (though I feel its pull) or the cheerleading, I’ve decided to stay out of it. So fragile is that gossamer feeling that some of my friends freak out if I express any realism; others are so cynical they seem to think we need another Trump term to trigger revolution, a privileged, romantic idea if I ever heard one. Some other time I’ll post about why I think a revolution is a bad thing to wish for. (Teaser: Revolution was brought to Romania by the Red Army. Romania’s simmering Communist Party seized its chance. The rich were expropriated and set to the lowest manual labor. Yay! Revenge! Some very bright peasants’ and shepherds’ kids got to go to medical school. Yay! Opportunity! As soon as they became full-fledged doctors, they escaped the country any way they could and came to America, where they could make some money and have a nice house, car, and lifestyle. They listened to Rush Limbaugh and now they are all fulminating right-wingers.) Reform is unromantic, but if it’s serious enough (big if), it can actually improve people’s lives, rather than destroying them to save them.

Anyway, I’ll copy some disorganized thoughts I wrote in my journal this morning.

We have to be saved from the abyss if at all possible, and it’s the naïve enthusiasm of the simple (white liberal) folk that will do it. Black people spotted this early on, and it’s why they wisely pushed Joe Biden to the fore. He’s perceived as safe and kindhearted enough for a wide spectrum of frightened constituencies to accept—from the masses of voters to the dollars of donors—and so he, or his handlers, could just barely hold this improbable coalition, with the tensile strength of Jell-o, together just long enough to squeak through the door. Okay, so it’s the same old coalition of the comfortable-enough to be complaisant while the plutocrats fleece us. The difference is that the voters now want to shoehorn the diverse new America into the crude fairness and opportunity of the old (pre-Reagan) America. It was pretty good for them, and they’ve belatedly realized that it wasn’t for everybody. It’s all necessary to survive and to inch forward another half-millimeter toward such justice as glorified chimpanzees are capable of.

The rich must realize they are rich on sufferance, that the only way to enjoy their wealth in peace, without becoming murderers to avoid being murdered, is not to leave the rest of the community behind. To recognize that they are still part of humanity, with reciprocal bonds and obligations, not untrammeled demigods. They have to earn the right to enjoy their wealth in peace, and they can’t be trusted to do it voluntarily. They have to be required to pay the rest of us to grant them that limited license.


  1. Polly said,

    Well I can say things here I can’t say on Facebook. The divisiveness between the parties is mostly a delusion.

    You seem to think there is a contest between the “rich” and the “poor,” and the Republicans are entirely for the rich and the Democrats are entirely for the poor.

    No, not really.

    Trump isn’t what will destroy this country, and the Republicans aren’t either. Or the Democrats. We have deep problems, and the political team players are looking right through or past those problems. Seeing wars between rich and poor, between white and black, male and female.

    We have real problems, but instead of looking at them and trying to solve them, they are fighting imaginary demons.

    Because those imaginary demons are simple, while the real problems are horrendously complex.

  2. Kathy Wexler said,

    Annie, I loved reading this, especially the “teaser” about why we shouldn’t hope for a revolution. I understand your FB detox, but I will miss seeing you there. Also, leaving FB means so many fewer readers for your thoughts and analysis. I’m still hopeful that well-expressed ideas can change/expand minds. Be well. Stay in contact this way or email.

  3. amba12 said,

    Thank you, Kathy. I’ll miss you, too.

  4. amba12 said,

    As for the rich and poor, they will both “will always be with you” (look at the Soviet “communist” nomenklatura, they are now the massively wealthy industry-owning oligarchs). But in our country unrestrained inequality has gotten way out of control, and the assumption of the wealthy that they are self-created and owe nothing to the foundation of a sound society is Ayn Randian bullshit.

    It’s hard to listen to the whole thing, I should look for the time stamp, but toward the end of this podcast there is a fascinating discussion of “rent-seeking” and the decoupling of wealth-making from productivity. Some rich people make rather than inherit their original fortunes, but once they pass a certain threshold, their money makes money without further input on their part, other than the shrewdness to hire the best hedge fund manager.

  5. Tom Strong said,

    I feel quite the same. One thing that’s struck me this election season compared to 2016 and (especially) 2018 is how calm I am about it. That’s less due to confidence and more because I seem to have accepted my own helplessness in this matter. I don’t share the enthusiasm of my liberal friends (especially those who have gotten amped up since Harris joined the ticket). I also don’t share the cynicism of those in the left and center who think both sides are equally bad. But what I have learned is that any political action that is geared only towards November has lost sight of the bigger picture.

    A Biden/Harris win will, at most, stanch the bleeding. That’s definitely worth something, but what’s needed is a nation that can actually be resilient through the tumult that’s still to come through the 21st century. I see a lot of worrisome signs that we are not at all prepared for what’s ahead.

  6. Polly said,

    I am one of those who thinks both sides are about equally bad/good. The Democrats have more talent for hypocrisy, which makes me like the Republicans a little more, even though I hate them also.

    I agree we are not at all prepared. This country is broker than broke, while some progressive Democrats would like the mad spending to get even madder.

    I very strongly believe the obvious fact that everything in life has limits. So AOC and her MMT could become a dangerous influence.

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