A few nights ago while driving out to the suburbs, I came face to face with the future of the American way of life. As just about anyone who has ever driven I-405 or I-5 knows, during certain hours it is absolute gridlock as cars inch along, stop and go, stop then go and stop again.
Meanwhile as my car joined others in a snail’s race, I glanced over at the pay-as-you-go toll lanes only to find them basically empty with cars zipping along quite nicely.
I noticed an overhead sign that declared that the snail lanes would take 29 minutes to get to Bothell, but the toll lanes only nine minutes.
This came in the week that announced that fees were going up in state and national parks, and that net neutrality was ending on the internet, thus closing a once commons-freeway of information to an eventual segregated series of net-roads that privileged those who can pay while burdening those who struggle to make ends meet.
As my snail car observed the cars that were zipping along, I realized that the book I had recently read — “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” by Nancy MacLean — was coming true on a daily basis in the age of Trump. The Republican Party’s agenda to sweep away democracy, replacing it with oligarchic rule, was step-by-step being implemented.
Everything and every one has become a commodity in an increasingly unregulated wild west of so-called free markets.
Everything and every one has become a commodity in an increasingly unregulated wild west of so-called free markets. Or we are being incorporated into a new feudalism, a new slavery of masters who own the markets and the indentured who cannot live without that which markets produce and deliver.
But unlike my youth, full as it was with strong labor unions and a consciousness of consumer rights, today’s culture is one of unrelenting oppression of the right of anyone or anything other than the rights of the rich to dominate the less rich. We are in full dog-eat-dog mode. Capitalism is cannibalizing itself and the only future that now awaits us is inevitable decades of violent revolution.
One might think I’m over-reacting. But as I look around, I see the growing militarism of the police whose primary purpose is to protect property and property owners.
I see the dismantling of the legal system that once championed the cause of the victim.
I see the rise of factionalism in civic culture, and we all see that our nation is in a perpetual and increasing war mode. All against all, us against them. Winter is no longer coming. It has arrived.
Rev. Rich Lang is the district superintendent of the United Methodist Church in King County. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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