Georgia demoted McConnell; what comes next?

Joe Biden will begin his presidency with a legislative majority in both the House and Senate for the first two years of his presidency.

Democrats need to take a lesson from the Republicans who have proven themselves wholly unfit to govern, and use that majority to its full effect to put out a full and complete repudiation of McConnell and Trump’s legislative policy.

First priority, after correcting the COVID Vaccination rollout, should be appointing an Attorney General who will investigate and prosecute the crimes committed by the Trump administration.

Second priority should be addressing their assault on the judicial branch of government through impeachment, where possible, of his appointments and by adding seats to the Supreme Court bench to eliminate the Republican majority and the power of the three Trump appointed Justices.

While all that is happening, rebuilding the CDC, reconnecting with the WHO and UN, treating white supremacy militias as domestic terrorism cells, releasing the caged immigrants and returning their abducted kids back to them, rejoining the Paris Accords, police reform, and ending funding to the border wall should all be taken care of.

Improving the ACA and working toward a single payer health care system needs to begin. 

A national minimum wage that provides a living wage, tied to inflation rates needs to be established.

And, the government needs to make a massive commitment to national infrastructure including job training and placement programs to create and fill the jobs necessary, not just to repair and maintain the current infrastructure, but to also upgrade it for the future.

Biden may not be the progressive I wanted, but he is an improvement over Trump, he will assemble a competent cabinet and empower them to lead without heavy handed micromanagement, and he will sign the bills put in front of him by a Democrat majority congress.

This means he will be as progressive as the Congress we, as voters, give him.

So, while we expect him to get to work on repairing the damage of the McConnell/Trump era, we need to get to work on the 2022 midterm elections to provide him an even stronger congressional support system to write the policies and create the budgets we want signed by the President.

The incredible work to drive record breaking voter registration and turnout to defeat Trump and flip the Senate was just the first step, not the end game. Don’t sacrifice the momentum. This is our opportunity to truly start checking and correcting our #Culturalinertia.

A Field Guide to Changing the #Culturalinertia – Part 1

This is not about the candidates for President this election cycle, but the people voting in the election.

Over the years, this blog, and the accompanying Facebook discussion page, have contained an ongoing theme of identifying and discussing ways to address the aspects of our culture we cling to consciously or subconsciously to hold us back. We have been calling this our Cultural Inertia.

An evaluation of the current election results so far has proven to me that I need to approach discussing our #Culturalinertia a bit differently. Over the next several months, I will be posting an ongoing, and cumulative guide on how we need to start dealing with this. Each post will give us the next step to begin working on to make dramatic overall shifts.

As of the time of this writing, 68.6 million people, and counting, have voted for at least four more years of malevolent incompetence, lies, criminality, fascism, racism, sexism, religious bigotry, and weaponization of faux (and real) Christianity through legislation. That’s over 5.5 million more than voted for Trump in 2016.

We can’t not have a serious talk about this.

We cannot truly have freedom in a multicultural society while any of these people remain in positions of power and influence over the lives of others and adhere to these belief systems. Whether that power and influence comes from the office of the presidency, elected or appointed members of government, judges, doctors, nurses, police, first responders, loan approval officers, Neighborhood Watch groups, Home Owners’ Associations, or anywhere else is irrelevant. What matters is that the power to oppress must be removed from the people that would take advantage of it.

Which brings us to:

Step 1

Stop watching what’s happening and passively saying and thinking that “This isn’t America” or “This isn’t my America.”

Because this is America.

This is the America we have always had.

Trump didn’t change the hearts and minds of half of American voters. He simply gave them permission to be open about it to others.

Some still cannot bring themselves to openly admit their believes, so they lied to the poll takers, and their friends, and their family and said they would vote against him. Then they went in the voting centers and pulled the levers, punched the tickets, placed their mark, and pressed the buttons to select his name on the ballot anyway.

As Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station recently stated:

This is the America people of color have been telling us we were part of since its founding.

What Trump has done for the rest of us is remove the blinders so we can no longer pretend we don’t see it happening all around us.

We now know we have neighbors and family members who are among those who adhere to these abhorrent ideologies.

So, what can you do about it?

Start telling yourself, “This isn’t the America I want in the future,” and start actively working to change it by aggressively standing up and calling it out every single time you see it.

No matter who is doing it.

Be Bold. Be relentless. Be uncompromising.

Do not back down.

Do it online and offline, in public and in private.

Don’t fall into the trap of maintaining negative peace. Don’t avoid the necessary conflict to resolve a problem at the expense of allowing the problem to fester, spread, and worsen.

Do not agree to disagree on matters of human and civil rights.

Do not accept that we are all entitled to our opinions when challenging an opinion that is harmful or detrimental to others.

“Get in good trouble.” ~U.S. Rep. John Lewis

Focus on that step for a while, and then I’ll give you Step 2.

Looking To The Future Through A Hindsight Filter

We are now in our 8th month of dealing with COVID-19 in the US and the 11th month since China first began publicly acknowledging their outbreak and taking large scale preventative measures.

While we don’t, yet, have a cure or reliable vaccine ready for mass distribution, we do have a pretty clear understanding of the science outlining how we can minimize its infectious spread.

This along with the material leaked by various congressional and White House staff members (current and former), the rhetoric and sources being disproved by those leaks, and the physical confessions of criminal intent Woodward suppressed for half a year offer us the wisdom of hindsight.

What is clear to anyone looking at the whole picture is that Republican politicians bet big on the hope that refusing to allow the proper steps to be taken in time would kill off a massive segment of the already elderly, infirm, impoverished, and marginalized minority community members in a natural biological warfare eugenics scheme before it could reach their cloistered and fortified ranks.

They weaponized the willful ignorance of their racist supporters to hasten the process and used #StochasticTerrorism to whip them into a frenzy.

They did this while accelerating their long term efforts to strip access to health care away from the millions they want to eliminate.

They even managed to fabricate an economic crisis that escalated the risk to those lower income workers in societally essential, but underappreciated and underpaid jobs. Making them choose a death by pandemic illness or homelessness due to loss of income.  And they created an imbalanced stimulus package to benefit the employers and companies that were abandoning their workers by the 10s of thousands.

All to eliminate a huge segment of their opposition voting base and protect their dying grasp on the levers of power in our nation.

Horrifically, they were largely successful. A quarter of a million Americans died, millions more fell ill – many permanently, and tens of millions dropped further into poverty and face homelessness in their near future.

But they weren’t successful enough. The people were galvanized instead of broken. We began using social media to organize large scale resistance and defeat the propaganda spin. They prepared en masse to reclaim democracy.

This increased resistance threatening the decades of work the Republicans spent gerrymandering and redlining districts and suppressing votes by every legal and illegal means possible, forced them to take larger, faster, more obvious steps toward establishing a fascist kleptocracy under the influence and control of an adversarial foreign power.

If they had managed to kill more, and crush the resistive spirit of enough of the rest of us, faster, they would have immediately adopted the necessary protocols to stop the spread of the disease to save themselves.

But, we persevered for too long, and the illness reached them before they could secure victory over their own citizenry and constituents. Now it is too late to admit their intent openly without their own violent supporters being forced to realize how they were being used and being disregarded and discarded along with everyone else in the process.

So they have to maintain the lie at any and all costs, even as they begin to suffer the same detrimental health effects and possible deaths within their own gilded halls sequestered from the masses.

And that is where we are now.

The only way we begin to recover is to sweep everyone who has supported, protected, enabled, and emboldened this presidential administration from every level of our federal, state, and local governments.

Then we can work on passing some new laws, abolishing some old ones, and begin correcting the course of our #Culturalinertia. It will be generations before we are done, especially if Trump and McConnell secure a 6-3 imbalance on the Supreme Court.

We will never complete the journey unless we decide right now to take every possible step necessary to begin it.

The first step is making sure your ballot is properly submitted between now and November 3rd.

Pluralistic Ignorance – Overcoming #Culturalinertia Part 7.

A recurring theme on the blog, the corresponding Facebook page and Twitter feed, over the course of the year has been exposing #Culturalinertia and discussing how it affects us.  You can read those previous entries here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

Today, as the year nears its end, I’d like to put forth for specific consideration a slightly different type of message.

Instead of looking at specific examples of the phenomenon, let’s look at the major cause of it and the best tool available to us to over come it.

One of the major causes of Cultural Inertia is termed “Pluralistic Ignorance.”

 

Pluralistic ignorance occurs when people erroneously infer that they feel differently from their peers, even though they are behaving similarly.

 

This ignorance can be reinforced or overcome by properly applying the concepts of “Social Proof.”

 

Social proof is based on the idea of normative social influence, which states that people will conform in order to be liked by, [people] similar to [them] or accepted by the influencer (or society).

 

The combination of these concepts indicates that people, when unsure of how to behave, will look to those around them who are similiar to them, or people they respect, and mirror that behavior.

The need to conform to the social proof can even force a behavioral change in someone who knows the actions they are observing to be morally incorrect so as not to be seen as different and made an outcast.

Now, consider a Person of Color being verbally abused by a White racist, if nobody stops to intervene, the social proof for those walking by is that the behavior is acceptable enough that they are not supposed to do anything about it, even if they disagree with it.  Especially if they are physically similar in appearance to the attacker instead of the victim.

If there are mutliple attackers the social norm could drive enough pluralistic ignorance to compel those passing by to join in the attack instead of help the victim, even if they themselves would not normally initiate such an incident on their own.

However, if another similar looking White person stops to intervene, another will follow their lead instead of that of the attacker.   This proof of proper behavior will spur more to choose the role of protectors.

When it comes to this bigotry and racism, we need to change the social proof to indicate without question that such behavior is unacceptable.   We cannot allow the normal accepted response to such behavior to be apathetic indifference or a mob mentality attack.

Until we do so, we condemn ourselves to having to constantly wonder why this is still continuing, why we must keep having the same battles.   And worse, we condemn those victims of it to the choice of either remaining victims or aggressively reversing the situation on their own, and then we’ll complain about their methodology instead of helping them specifically because they violated the social norms of acceptable behavior themselves.

The social proof of pluralistic ignorance becomes even harder, but more vital, to overcome when those in positions of great power and authority are openly displaying and calling for behavior we know to be abhorrent and unacceptable.

When that happens admissions of sexual assault become “locker room talk,” and secretly conspiring with adversarial governments to undermine and overthrow our own becomes “partisan disagreement.”

If you want to break the momentum of this, or any, Cultural Inertia, you must be willing to be an agent of change.  You must step up and help provide the social proof that the behavior you want to see is behavior that others should mirror.

You need to be the shining light allowing those lost in the dark to see.

If you aren’t willing to do that, you have become one of those lost to the pluralistic ignorance, reinforced by the social proof you see around you, that has led you to believe that it is too late to do anything or that anything you do won’t be enough.

As long as enough people believe that, they’ll continue to be right.

It is time to change the norms.

We must, each of us, be willing to be the one that makes the change.