Why America’s Suddenly Leaping Forward — While the World’s Hurtling Backwards ~ repost MEDIUM

by faithgibson on January 19, 2019

Reposted from MEDIUM ~ Online Journalism “Where Words Matter”  and Eudaimonia & Co

Note from the Editor (me):

I consider this to be the first and so far the only contemporary journalist to see a light at the end of our dysfunctional tunnel — one created by the GOP staring in the min-1970s and culminating with the election of Trump.

I just had to share this, hoping that each reader will pass the on the critical word — that there is HOPE for America. We can “Make America Kind Again”, make her democracy healthy, her economy successful, create a healthcare system that is about health and caring, that is both effective and affordable, and best of all, address climate change before it anything we do would simply be futile

(How) America’s on the Cusp of Historic Transformation

Why America’s Suddenly Leaping Forward — While the World’s Hurtling Backwards

Jan 7
Things suddenly feel different in America. Determined. Resolute. Fiercely optimistic. Like everything just might change. Like life will change, finally. That’s because things really are different. America stands on the cusp of a remarkable, historic transformation. One that’s much bigger and better than we think — a political, cultural, and social transformation that could reshape a collapsing society into a world leader again. Yes, really — I don’t say that lightly. I’ve been a fierce critic of America over the last couple of years, after all. So just how remarkable is the transformation America’s on the cusp of? Let me begin explaining by way of an example that’s as strange as it is telling.
By now, you’ve probably heard of the “Green New Deal” that AOC’s championing. Essentially, it’s a plan to reinvent the economy in one fell swoop — with investment in things like clean energy, transport, construction, and manufacturing, which would also create a wave of cutting edge jobs (not just dead-end low-wage gigs). You’re not wrong to think it’s a brilliant idea — because it begins to resolve not just one problem, but many. Economic stagnation. Political corruption. Middle class implosion. The extremism and fanaticism all three drive. And, of course, climate change.
So where did this brilliant idea come from? Did AOC invent it, over a few drinks with clever friends? Did some beltway insiders at a thinktank cook it up? Nope. So who did? The Green New Deal was thought up by a group of brilliant economists — in London. Economists so prophetic, in fact, that they’ve never really been given credit for it — especially in America, where they still remain unknown. The point is this: the Green New Deal is a British invention — not an American one. So Britain must have applied it first, right? Wrong, my friends — and here’s where the story of the future gets both interesting — and weird.
You might think that having invented the Green New Deal, Britain would have rejoiced and put it into action. But it didn’t. So what’s it doing instead? It’s busy…self-destructing. Instead of applying the Green New Deal, Britain’s spent the last few years obsessively wasting its time on Brexit — leaving the EU. Why would anyone want to break up with their closest allies and biggest trading partners, you ask? The answer is: no one really knows. No one in Britain can really say, beyond vague nationalist nostrums of “taking back control.” Never mind that Brexit will plunge Britain into something probably worse than the Great Depression. Medicine and food will go into sudden shortages — because there’s not enough capacity to handle all those new customs forms, and because prices will skyrocket. Even Britain’s water and energy, for heaven’s sake, rely on the EU. But you can’t create the future if you’re too busy trying to bring about the end of the world, so you can prove what a noble martyr you are. Hence, instead of putting the Green New Deal it’s very own brightest minds created into action — Britain’s busy desperately stockpiling food, medicine, and water (yes, really) for it’s own self-created apocalypse.
Do you see how weird, strange, funny that is? But do you see what it really says that America’s applying the Green New Deal Britain invented, while Britain’s hell-bent on turning into what America used to be — a place that doesn’t want to invest in itself, be part of the modern world, care about its future? Do you see the thoroughly improbable divergence hidden within it? America’s roaring forward, while Britain surges backwards into ruin.
But Britain’s hardly alone. Europe, Canada, Australia — all these are beginning to head backwards now — while America, weirdly enough, that problem child, that slow-witted dunce of the world, suddenly seems to have found the will, the insight, the burning desire, and above all the fight, to take giant leaps forward. That’s the trend, my friends. It’s a titanic shift in global fortune. And should it continue, America will undergo a historic transformation. Let me make the scale and scope of that trend clearer.
For the majority of our lives — maybe all of our lives — the world has been shaped by one great trend. America plunged backwards and downwards, while Europe skyrocketed upwards. The American middle class became a minority, as incomes stopped rising in the 1970s (that’s half a century of stagnation, my friends) — and as stagnation became collapse, American life became truly dystopian. People had to crowdfund healthcare, while their kids got massacred at schools. Meanwhile, the average European lived a life that might as well have been from another planet — with healthcare, retirement, education, childcare, elderly care, parental leave, all guaranteed as constitutional rights. The different was like night and day. America was the loser among rich countries — in its own class, a rich country of poor people, a powerful one of the powerless, a wealthy nation of the broke.
But now all that’s changing. Europe, Canada, Britain, and Australia are all becoming Americanized. Europe has chosen a decade of ruinous austerity, underinvesting in all those wonderful and life-changing public goods and social programs, whether healthcare or education, shifting costs and burdens and risks to the least capable of bearing them. Canada’s being rocked by waves of Trumpian nationalism. Britain — the less said the better. And so on. The rich world is now moving backwards. Except, strangely enough, for America.
America’s alone, right about now, in applying the best, most radical, and most transformative ideas in the rich world. Or at least wanting. There’s the Green New Deal, which we’ve discussed. There’s Elizabeth Warren’s idea to have the government make medicines that capitalism won’t. There are proposals to change corporate governance and limit executive pay and tamp down speculation and break up monopolies. And so on. Meanwhile, the rest of the rich world is, instead, being gripped by the strange fevers that America seems to be recovering from: austerity, nationalism, American-style “conservatism”, neoliberalism. The gilet jaunes are setting Paris on fire every weekend precisely because Macron is something like France’s first American President. But if that’s true, then Warren and AOC are something like America’s first European style social democrats, too.
Do you see how ironic all this is? Europe, Canada, Britain, Australia — they’re all getting Americanized — which is to say they’re making exactly the same mistakes America did. That’s because they’ve become obsessed with becoming American — and that’s because in each of those places, the same thing that happened in America is happening. A coterie of billionaires, crackpot pseudo-intellectuals, thinktanks, lazy journalists, and other assorted scoundrels became obsessed with the very American ideas America’s now rejecting — predatory capitalism, neoliberalism, austerity, social Darwinism, greed, spite, ever person for themselves, money as the pont of human life, building little empires — and sold them to frustrated, embittered, declining middle classes. Only in America, it happened enough that it finally seems to be unhappening. America’s heroes today aren’t Bill Gates and Paul Ryan anymore — they’re AOC and Elizabeth Warren.
Meanwhile, America’s beginning to mature into social democracy — to the point it’s applying the best social democratic ideas that ever were, like the Green New Deal — at the precise moment the countries that had those ideas are so busy hurtling backwards they forgot they ever had them to begin with. What the?
Remember that old SAT question? There’s a train heading west from Chicago, and a train heading east from San Francisco — where do they meet? And after mentally screaming, “what on earth could this possibly have to do with anything useful or intelligent or thoughtful?”, you think to yourself, finally, in resigned despair — “Jesus, I don’t know. Tuscaloosa? Omaha?” The world today is a little bit like that.
America’s beginning to surge forward, while Europe, Canada, Britain, and Australia are all racing backward — forgetting about their own very best ideas.
Now, just like the trains, America and everyone else start in very different places. America has a lot — a lot — of catching up to do before it has the things other societies take for granted, like decent healthcare, retirement, education, and so on. But those societies are undoing all these things fast, too — so the gap is shrinking by the day. Should this movement continue, the two trains will finally meet. No one can really say where — and the truth is it doesn’t matter. What does is if this great new trend continues, then soon enough, America will be the world’s most progressive and forward-looking nation.
Does that sound unlikely to you? Does it make you laugh a little bit? Think again, my friend. Remember how Britain invented the Green New Deal — but then went into a euphoric, idiotic mania over a ruinous, catastrophic Brexit? Do you see how Europe isn’t the one proposing that governments manufacture drugs people need? There are many, many examples. The point is that if we look closely at the world, things are changing at a blinding speed. So fast that the trajectory of nations is beginning to alter.
America, long the rich world’s most stuck, stagnant, declining society, is suddenly becoming it’s most forward thinking, most rapidly forward moving one, the society hungering for, demanding, enacting positive, transformative, truly radical change. And Europe, Canada, Britain — long the rich world’s most dynamic, democratic, and egalitarian societies, are in the grip of a strange fever of Americanization, fetishizing and clamoring, like zombies, for the very American ideas — only the strong should survive! let the weak perish! no one should take care of anyone else!! — that America is now rejecting.
That, my friends, is a sea change in global fortune. It’s a strange thing. But it’s also a good thing — at least for America. For the rest, suddenly wanting to become the America that America doesn’t want to be anymore is as funny as it is foolish. But such are the tides of history — as turbulent as they are improbable.
Umair
December 2018

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