The Future Is What We Make Of It – Part 1
Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. … Most of us are about as eager to change as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.
– James Baldwin
2017 has been a really strange year for me.
As tens of millions of my fellow Americans have experienced mental breakdowns following the election of Donald Trump, an unexpected sense of calm has come over me and I can’t remember the last time I was this optimistic about the future.
Importantly, the optimism I feel isn’t the demented, tribal and transient sort that many people experience when their politician of choice wins an election. I strongly disliked both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and I refused to support or vote for either. As such, I already knew going into November 2016, that we’d emerge on the other side with a dangerous authoritarian in power, and I mentally prepared myself to push back against whoever won. Although I think Trump is a terrible President and a fake populist, I think his winning the election might serve as the necessary kick in the ass our society needs in order to evolve.
If Hillary Clinton had been elected, she would’ve been given an incredible amount of slack from our depraved corporate media. In fact, the entire first year of her Presidency would’ve been dominated by non-stop slobbering about how amazing it was that the U.S. chose a female leader. This would’ve overshadowed anything she actually did and we’d continue to hear endless platitudes about how exceptional America is from our corrupt, self-proclaimed “elites” via the propaganda press machine. In short, Hillary Clinton would’ve gotten a gigantic pass by the media class which claims to keep the public informed.
All of this reminds me of the James Baldwin quote I put at the top of this post:
“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. … Most of us are about as eager to change as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.”
With Trump’s election, the mask is finally off. Even Trump supporters admit that his election was a reaction to how corrupt and fraudulent our economy and society had become during the 21st century – first under Bush and then Obama. Independents such as myself, despite finding Trump revolting and dangerous, tend to agree with this assessment.
The only significant group of people who simply refuse to admit this fact are those who proudly proclaim themselves to be part of “the resistance.” Many of them thought everything was going just fine for the country while Obama was President simply because things were going well for them, which is just human nature. If things are going fine for you on a individual level, there isn’t much incentive to peek behind the curtain and question what’s really going on. You’re simply too busy feeling good about yourself and focusing on getting ahead. I know because I’ve been there.
During my Wall Street career from 2000-2010, I was primarily focused on my career and having fun with friends. Part of this was age related, but it was even more so due to the fact that I was on the fast track and my personal future — from a materialistic and superficial perspective at least — looked bright. It wasn’t until around the time of the financial crisis that I started to see the world from a radically different perspective. I started digging into our shady monetary and financial system, and from there, started looking into other industries, as well as the nefarious and unconstitutional practices of my government’s military-industrial-surveillance complex. The learning curve was exceptionally steep, but it’s been well worth the effort and I finally started the process of confronting reality, as opposed to living comfortably in my own bubble of privilege. Many others “woke up” during this same wave.
While all that’s well and good, there’s a catch. Although “waking up” is an exhilarating process, it’s simultaneously a terrifying and vulnerable time, especially in the early stages. I certainly spent a couple of years with visions of imminent apocalyptic doom, which made me more susceptible to going down all sorts of unproductive rabbit holes that merely sucked away my energy versus inspiring me with productive drive. It wasn’t until I heard about Bitcoin and recognized its revolutionary potential that I began to turn the corner and see a better path forward. Accepting reality for what it is, is productive, but wallowing in fear and despair is not.
At the exact same time I was fretting about the future and expecting collapse, others were working passionately on building the Bitcoin ecosystem. My fear and kvetching didn’t add much value to the world, while those who had focused their energy on creating a better world were helping to push humanity’s evolution forward in a tangible way. This realization forced me to once again question my entire worldview and mindset, which is why you’ve probably noticed a significant change in the tone and content of my writings this year.
While none of us knows what the future holds, it’s guaranteed things won’t get significantly better if we just cower in a corner in the fetal position shivering about what “the powers that be” are about to do to us. A revolutionarily better future will only emerge if we create it.
Which brings me to both the problem and opportunity presented by “the resistance.”
It’s tempting to just write these people off as useful idiots being easily corralled into the vicious arms of neocons and deep state psychopaths following the emotional trauma inflicted upon their psyche by the election of Donald Trump. It’s tempting to do that, because in many ways that’s a fairly accurate description of what’s going on, but I want to try to be less judgmental right now. When thinking back to the early days of my awakening, I remember how malleable my mind was to all sorts of influences, both positive and negative. This is what happens to people when your entire worldview is suddenly shattered or disrupted. Human nature is to look for an alternative narrative that can help you once again make sense of the world. Unfortunately for most card-carrying members of “the resistance,” nefarious characters within corporate media and U.S. intelligence agencies were ready with a comforting narrative which gave them permission to avoid confronting reality: Russia did it.
As idiotic as the whole obsession with Russia has been in 2017, it serves a very useful purpose for the entrenched and discredited U.S. power structure. It effectively gives permission to that segment of the population who thought everything was hunky dory during the Obama administration to continue with that worldview. If everything can be blamed on meddling Russians, then we don’t actually have to confront the rapacious oligarchs running this country into the ground. This is the real tragedy of “the resistance.” By creating and pushing the Russia narrative, these master manipulators are intentionally preventing tens of millions of Americans from confronting how bad things really are. As such, a considerable percentage` of the population simply refuses to admit that our big problems were not created by Vladimir Putin, but are very much a home grown affair.
This presents the danger and the opportunity. If the millions of people in “the resistance” continue to blindly blame our deep problems on Russia while fantasizing about how awesome everything would’ve been if Hillary had been elected, we’re in for some serious trouble as a society. On the other hand, if some meaningful percentage of this group can move beyond their initial election trauma and face reality for what it is, the future is very bright. Let’s never forget that the 2016 election was as much about staying home as it was about voting for Donald Trump. Enough of the country was pissed off about the corruption and degeneracy of the status quo to elect this guy as a middle finger to the “experts” and “elites.” People don’t love Trump, they just despise the status quo.
While I think most rank and file “resistance” members continue to be happily manipulated at this stage since it allows them to avoid confronting how truly screwed up this country has become, I suspect a certain percentage of them can eventually come out of their stupor and evolve into productive agents of change. Tomorrow’s post will dive more deeply into why I think that’s the case.
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