The Great Con of 2016
It seems as if every evangelical Christian out there has been conned and is dancing with deception. They made up the majority voters who cast their ballot for Donald Trump and just squarely served the very thing the Bible warns about: false prophets.
The true Christian in me feels deep sympathy and concern for them. I can’t blame them. The disenfranchised, the poor, like the mother who posted an ad on Craigslist to shame herself publicly just so her kids could have Christmas (http://nydn.us/2ieHO71 ), felt they had no other choice but to vote for the greatest con man of 2016.
“But Trump is a great businessman, ” they might argue. Great businessmen don’t file bankruptcy multiple times to avoid paying taxes and short change their employees and dry up the surrounding small businesses, causing an entire community to be left without jobs or without opportunity. He learned this skill from the Walton empire ( Wal-Mart) actually. And that is the very definition of NOT great. “But he wants to reverse Roe v. Wade,” they beam. No, that’s his insidious woman-hating, poverty encouraging, closeted Vice President who wants to do that. Trump himself is actually pretty liberal, being that he was a lifelong Democrat and just became a Republican to run for POTUS. Face it. You’ve been conned.
How is it that we have the capacity to help the woman who reached out on Craigslist but we don’t have the capacity to vote in our best interest? This is THE con of 2016: that it’s our job, not the government’s job, to take care of each other. Never in my life have I seen more gofundme accounts, or more desperate pleas for money for survival than I have seen in 2016. Why do we even have lobbyists, Congress, politicians and elections? If you’ve been conned into believing that our votes matter then why did Eddie Vedder have to come to this woman’s rescue when he handed her a $10,000 check so she could get up to date on her house payments? You’ve been conned into thinking that a government that is regulated by the people and for the people, and has social programs set up to help people get an affordable education , or offer free or affordable healthcare is somehow embarrassing or un-American. It’s embarrassing and un-American when nearly 60% of the wealth trickles up to just a handful of people leaving billions of us struggling. It’s embarrassing and un-American when our elected officials who are meant to protect us from an oligarchy are emboldened by it.
This isn’t an article celebrating the human kindness of Eddie Vedder. This is an article about being conned. It’s not Eddie Vedder’s job to rescue this woman, nor is it mine, or yours or anyone else’s. But the leaders of our free world think it is, in fact they’re on record as saying it’s “uniquely American” to do things like work 3 jobs just to make ends meet, so that you can secure a financial future for yourself and the children you never see.
There’s been a systematic con of the American Dream for the last 40 years as the wealthy get wealthier, and the poor get poorer. Half of the United States of America lives in extreme poverty. This is not normal. Truly socially democratic countries are wondering when we are going to wake up to this con, this hijacking of our future, and this exploitation of the American Dream.
You have been conned and in 2016 there was no hiding this fact. Donald Trump is President Elect, and although he has not been sworn in yet, it looks like we’re out of Hail Mary’s. A lot of people right now will say, “Thanks a lot electoral college!”
Your next 2016 con was when you realized your vote didn’t even count. That it all just boils down to about 538 men and women, who can make or break the state they hail from. They’re called the electoral college and they have what’s important: the power to elect the next President. If their entire state they represent voted for Hillary Clinton they have the power to say “What? You thought your vote mattered?!? Bwaahahahahaha!” , then they can vote for whoever they want. That is a con. It’s why some people want to do away with the electoral college and make it a one-person, one-vote system. The con with that though is that California and New York, the two most heavily populated states in the country would then hold sway every single time, and every single time it would be a Democrat elected into office (because they always vote blue) , and that’s not democracy in action. That’s giving way too much power to one or two states.
Let’s talk about power. Who has it. Who thinks they have it. Who really has it. Who wants it. The corporate entities that work with lobbyists to pass eradication of policy that would help and lift up the American people into a thriving healthy economy are the people who have the power. Those corporate entitities and the lobbyists who serve them hate you. If you think otherwise you’ve been conned. They just hate you and they want you destroyed. Accept that.
The politicians that are voted into offices throughout this country from your state Senator to your county’s school superintendent don’t really have any power. They have opinion. And opinion doesn’t really get anything done. They think they have power. That’s cute. They don’t. You voted for them and they took power and they ran for their office because they wanted it (power). This is evidenced through the crisis in Flint, Michigan. Thousands of children are brain damaged because the people they voted into office decided to make the executive decision to turn off the valves to the clean potable water that filters through the households of Flint. The people of Flint, Michigan were conned and paid a big price for it. It’s why the state of Michigan had such record low turnout at the polls this last November. They weren’t so much interested in a fascist conman or a corporatist conwoman, they were more interested in getting their local conmen and conwomen out of office.
The President of the United States of America doesn’t even have all that much power. It’s Congress that has the power as far as getting stuff done. Who really has the power though? You do. The voter and the citizen. This may be the single most greatest con of your life, let alone 2016: you’ve been told you don’t have power, but actually you have all the power. You have the power to legislate, you have the power to convince, you have the power to stay woke, and you have the power to organize and you have the power to push back. If you can step away from mainstream media for a minute or ignore your self made pathetic drama in your life, and start thinking about what’s really important you can initiate that power and the potential for improvement is right there. The fact is there are more of us than them. Don’t be conned into thinking Stockholm Syndrome is the way a functioning democracy works. It’s not functioning and it doesn’t work.
There are a multitude of one-off issues that seem to act as distractions to the great con of 2016. But the number one issue is the racist rhetoric and racist behavior that takes over our social media and our social conscience day in and day out. We all have our political agendas and issues. Mine is income inequality and political income initiative. All of the problems that we face in our country today: the targeting of the black and brown man by police, the lack of affordable higher education, the lack of healthcare, the fact that so many of our communities especially in the south and throughout middle America look like bombed out third world countries, the environmental issues that beleaguer our world and communities all comes down to the political income initiative. The con is to distract you from that one basic truth.
If you shut yourself off to the rhetoric, and the emotionally charged videos that rile you up when you see massive police brutality or when you watch the Aleppo devastation, you can simplify it down and not fall for the con. Simplicity is the key to a successful life and if you want a successful democracy then you must simplify it to one issue, and mine is the political income initiative, or income inequality. This initiative does not benefit you. It benefits those that run the corporate interests, like those that sit on the board or hold the position of CEO, that pull the strings of our democracy. And it benefits the puppets that are manipulated by the strings they pull.
I have to wonder about the people that have been conned into believing that it’s perfectly acceptable: this systemic targeting of the black and brown community by the militarized police force in our country. I wonder if there are any critical thinkers out there that see this targeting and mass incarceration as a direct correlation to our unmoving and stagnating minimum wage, despite studies that prove our federal minimum wage should be about three times where it currently sits.
What does the fact that we are the most incarcerated nation in the modern world have to do with the minimum wage? It has everything to do with the minimum wage. To target the black and brown community and throw them in these for profit prisons we can keep our labor force at an all time low by hiring prison labor at less than $.22 an hour and the corporate interests that run our country can keep widening the income gap between the very rich and the very poor. In fact, our wages are so low that a billionaire in a communist country (China) wants to move his manufacturing business to the USA, to save money. (http://bit.ly/2hKWQRh)
This is why it’s so crucial to keep this minimum wage dialogue relevant and out in front. Don’t be conned into thinking it will kill your local economy. You don’t have to be a billionaire investment genius to know that if people make money, they spend money, thus lubricating the local economy. If corporations spend money to keep their employees living on a survivable wage then maybe the for profit prison industry which banks on prisoners to keep their slave labor relevant and in competition for a global manufacturing market, will start to crack a little around the edges. Don’t be conned into thinking that everyone who is in prison deserves to be there. Human beings are disposable money makers. The roundup of African Americans and other minorities in our community is modern day slavery in motion. It’s America. If you think you’re free, you’ve been conned. All it takes is one signature for the law to change.
Speaking of signatures.. Let’s look at this latest distracting con. Barack Obama, over the last few months, has pardoned more non violent offenders than any other president in history. These are people who have served long prison terms for offenses that have gone out of style. For instance, in a lot of states it’s legal to hold a weapon or it’s legal to hold a certain amount of marijuana. These people were thrown in jail and are serving decades for such offenses. Since they’ve been incarcerated the laws have changed. These are not murderers or worse. These are just normal people that were walking from point a to point b and happened to find themselves victimized by a system that banks on their incarceration. Keep in mind that that the for profit prison industry is often funded by the federal government and for every prisoner incarcerated and booked into the system that officer, or judge or county gets incentivized. So once the prisoner is in, it makes no difference to them if he gets pardoned. After all, they already got paid. So what happens to all those empty beds? Not to worry, Obama has that covered. (This is where the distracting con comes in so you might want to pay attention).
On Christmas Eve Eve Barack Obama signed legislation offering more incentives to our military under the National Defense Authorization Act. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. My brother is a commander in the armed forces and I want him and his family to have financial security. It’s the language within this legislation that should give you pause for thought crime.
The dystopian sounding “Global Engagement Center…”
“…shall be to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” (http://bit.ly/2hjlisb)
I suppose if you’re not doing anything to undermine USA security interests you should be ok, right? But what if this article I’m writing right here could be considered an undermining of national security interests? The problem with the language in this is that it targets anyone who has a differing opinion other than the manufactured rhetoric that is meant to manufacture consent. Remember how frustrated you felt when you wrote Bernie in despite your deep blue democratic friends chastising you and unfriending you for not voting for Hillary? Remember when you voted for Jill Stein and were called a commie? The language in this legislation makes it so that your friends and family can target you and call you out for having a different political agenda. And now Barack Obama, your President who you are going to miss so much, just signed into action the single most damning threat to our First Amendment Rights and freedom of the press.
I know of what I speak. I had an injunction placed on me because I wrote an anonymous story on Medium where I explained, again in anonymous terms, the illegal and outrageous behavior of my landlord and subletter.
If a self proclaimed deep blue democrat, the first openly gay judge to sit on this particular San Francisco bench can affect my civic freedoms for something so innocent and innocuous, then what of the larger publications out there who have greater influence than me? http://bit.ly/2gxkHBnN
This, not Donald Trump, not the stolen election from Bernie Sanders, is the greatest con of the 2016 election. You have the right to think differently, to think aloud, to write about it, you have the right to offer a differing opinion and illustrate that in whatever form you need: through activism, through writing, through creative artwork, through stage readings, through the medium of media and the entertainment industry.
This legislation as part of the National Defense Authoritization Act enacted by the Administration of Barack Obama , is now in the hands of a demagogic man who may or may not overturn it. You have been conned. And it is your moral imperative to criticize that con, to offend the administration that wants to punish you for not falling in line, and consenting to the con. You have a right to criticize the world around you. Throughout history, these criticisms have been instrumental in progress and movement. Don’t let fear con you into remaining silent, taciturn or even believing in the lie of the con.
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