White men gloating.
No telling how much extortion, blackmail, chip-calling-in, and other gaming was used to force the House vote on health insurance. I’m sorry Trump’s resignation wasn’t on the table. But on the other hand, that may be exactly what just happened. The House is the House of Militant Ignorance, the obsessed rabble. It was designed that way. The Senate is the Body of Wise People. Also, they’d like to be re-elected. Many Repub House people are doomed by this act. Some are secretly hoping the grown-ups, the Senate, will rescue them.
House/Senate cuts in a different way than Repub/Demo, and that used to be understandable until Money became the third party that replaced any patriotism or loyalty or care for constituents. Trump thought that his inherited and fictional money was enough for him to make deals. Maybe not.
It’s like his idea that softening up taxes on churches would bring people to his side, because it would mean religious groups would support him. But his idea of religion is right-wing, knee-jerk, and -- what his buddy Bannon thinks religion is, namely an everted God-sock in which the wearer becomes God. To them, religion is wealth-focused because of the idea that the faithful will be rewarded by God, and the church is directed by a hierarchy friendly to other big shots. It’s an old Roman Empire pattern. Ask Pope Francis how well it goes these days.
I’ve been critical of the UUA for identifying with the Dems and going with all the knee-jerk progressive kindnesses to the “underdogs,” who have used that indulgence to decapitate the UUA and gouge a big wound in the side of Starr King, the UU seminary. Lacking theological reflection to keep some kind of focus beyond the obvious conventional “principles”, people wandered off to politics, even race and gender politics.
What Trump and many others in the “new minority” of old white men don’t understand is that there is a long historical tradition of humanistic thought that could quite properly be considered “religion” though it has nothing to do with the theory of God. I doubt Trump has any awareness of the Unitarian Universalists. The UUA has been very aware of non-white-bread, alternatively educated, dark-skinned female people and what they might think, but when they get hostile, the leaders' main reaction is to run for the door.
Out there beyond the UU’s are the American Humanist Association and a newly sprouting movement of people reacting to the wonders of the new scientific knowledge of life and cosmos. Those folks may have been empowered to speak now, even more than evangelicals who want to go back to the Fifties. (I begin to see they are not WWII veterans, but rather Cold War intrigue products.) If liberal clergy and congregations can become frankly political without taxation and speak out in plain talk, they might send energy waves back to the Democratic party instead of drawing on their assumed power. Some UU’s have always argued that congregations should pay taxes, especially if they own property though inner city cathedrals and synagogues may be losing value.
Tax exemption for institutions and practices that serve the community's greater good have been a way to stabilize America. It’s not just a matter of imposing the “Will of God” on the people, but a way of honoring what is sacred, at least to some people. Taxation is a way of breaking down the separation of church and state, blurring them both into a slurry of secularity that some politicians think would give them an advantage. That hasn’t worked out well in Turkey.
Many people have let patriotism become their sacred center, and there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as it means close attention to the ideals of our founders and accuracy in the management of resources for the whole citizenry. If patriots only define the country in their own narrow interest and use resources to build private empires, that is — in religious terms — a heresy. In national terms, betrayal. Indictable. Treason. The legal penalty can be death. That’s in the event of a formal trial and conviction. There is an informal penalty for non-conforming "appearance" that is also death, enforced by cops in the street. In other words, in their eyes, not to be like the ruling class, not to appear prosperous, is to be a traitor.
The premise of the article linked above, which appeared as “Our World is Outsmarting our Brain” by Robert Burton in Aeon, is that humans are designed for a world far less complex than the one we’re in. Not because the world has changed, but that our understanding of all the newly revealed factors is not keeping up. His central example is a very angry and destructive person who from boyhood made nothing but trouble for himself and everyone else. Late in life it turned out that he was dyslexic, reacting to frustration and inability to participate properly.
There are undoubtedly a lot of stories about what Alzheimer's sufferers do to family and work as their understanding gradually shrinks. Some day there will be statistics about how many of our senators and representatives are acting out of dementia related to aging and cardiac malfunction. Unable to truly think, they are managed by their staff — to the extent possible — and by going along with their peers. This is how Trump operates, so they are all part of the same phenomenon.
But even with sharp minds and diligence at keeping up with new developments in the understanding of how things work, it would be hard to redesign our national Operating System, with key attention to the Constitution, because it means grasping thoughts that were never even suggested before. The evidence existed but was unperceived.
Among them is the FACT that everything is connected ecologically and the elimination of one thing or the addition of something can easily create cascading consequences with enormous impact. There are two groups that I watch out for. One is the people living here on the Blackfeet rez, whether or not they are are actually defined as tribal Blackfeet. What would happen if the rez were terminated? When that was tried years ago, the results were so catastrophic that it was soon reversed. (I’m thinking of the Klamaths.)
The other group is boys-at-risk, mostly adolescents with HIV. They are among us everywhere. If a boy takes his meds, which is as much a matter of access to a clinic and group support to stick to the protocol, he will be able to live and even thrive. These boys are not always but often gifted and beautiful, which is the reason some want to draw them back into sexwork. In the US they are usually hidden. If they are denied meds, they will die. But before that they will need money and get it the ways they know. They will spread the virus and the pandemic will grow. Anyone can be a victim, not just boys, not just through sex.
The boys' suspicion, which I share, is that the government -- in their zeal to pretend the world is clean and virtuous -- is and will deliberately deny health coverage to these boys on grounds that they should be confined and eliminated. The same as the government has treated refugees and illegal immigrants, violently enough — they hope — to make them stay out. Putin’s Russia does the same, in league with their version of evangelical Christians: super-conservative Muslim clerics.
Legislators have said frankly what they believe: that no one should need insurance because people should make enough money to pay for their own illnesses. Old people are a drag on the economy and should just die. They're over. People with pre-existing conditions, such as birth anomalies, should also just die. They're faulty. For an elected representative of the people to say such things is treason. If there is, by chance, some kind of God, they are damned.