MAKING A DIFFERENCE--Yes, there is something that each of us can do ... to change LA and America. In fact, nothing will improve unless each of us does actually start doing some things.
(1) We Need to End the National Ethos That Killing People Is a Good Solution to Problems.
As long as the majority of Americans support the death penalty, they support the idea that killing of people is an acceptable solution to some problems. If each of us rejects the death penalty, we can start to reorient our national consciousness. Even most mentally ill people are constrained by their country’s cultural norms.
(2) We Need to Drop the Idea Some People Are Above The Law.
The Obama Doctrine of “Too Important to Prosecute” will soon become the Trump Doctrine or the Hillary Doctrine. The pernicious idea that important people are above the law creates deep resentment within society. The avoidable crash in 2008 made millions of people homeless which has devastated families, traumatized many of the dispossessed children for life, and resulted in divorces, bankruptcies and suicides. Meanwhile the Federal government gave trillions of dollars to the crooks who had crashed the economy. (By making some people above the law, I do not mean the absurd idea that Hillary did some terrible crime with her emails. This leads to my next point.)
(3) We Must Stop Supporting Our Own Party When it Spews Nonsense.
Obama made some serious mistakes, but the nation never could have a rational discussion about Obama’s economic policies because the GOP has continued with it relentless racist attacks. The people who had the power to stop this extremely harmful activity were the GOP electorate.
On the Dem side, the entire party was silent as Obama followed the regressive and asinine economic nonsense of Geithner. By remaining silent, these economic policies paved the way for the Tea Baggers in November 2010 and set the stage of the current politics of revenge. Obama did nothing to revive the economy. What we see now is the normal upswing of the business cycle. We need to develop the ability to admit our own mistakes and shortcomings rather than to habitually blame “the other.” Both the GOP and Dems persist in the blame game, while accepting zero responsibility for anything.
We also have to be smart enough to realize that both parties raise millions of dollars from highlighting the zanies on the other side. So we give credence to the more extreme because it raises money for our party. That is a vice which both parties must forgo.
(4) We Must Cease to Hold Predators in High Esteem.
As a nation, we laud predators. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Trump knows that he is a predator who intentionally abused the bankruptcy laws to ruin other people while making himself vastly wealthy. Despite this widespread knowledge, millions of Americans herald him as a savior. No one can support Trump without endorsing a predatory culture where the strong feed upon the weak. (Why do the disenfranchised support the person who is the number one example of the culture that has cheated them for the past 30 years? The answer is probably found in Anna Freud’s Identification with the Aggressor. I guess it is akin to the Stockholm Syndrome.)
Trump is not America’s first predator. For decades we tolerated Antonin Scalia as if he were some sage, when in reality he was a predatory egomaniac suffering from the delusion that he alone could divine the Original Intent of the framers of the US Constitution. That gave us the absurd idea that the right to own a gun was an individual right. Under this theory, individual Americans need to arm themselves so that they can kill government employees who would threaten their life, liberty or property. We saw how that philosophy works out in Dallas on July 7. (Oh, that’s right, Scalia didn’t mean that the right to own a gun applied to Blacks.)
(5) We Need to Stop with the Jingoistic Charade that America is the Greatest Nation.
Not only is this claim poppycock, but it also dangerously blinds us to our faults. No nation is the greatest. Each nation has its strengths and its weaknesses. America is far more racist than many other nations. We have an unacceptably high infant mortality rate and an inexcusably low educational achievement level. Too many children live in poverty and lack adequate food. It is extremely obnoxious to scream that we’re the greatest when we tear down the homes of the poor and shove them out onto the streets so that we can have photo-ops to justify giving billions of dollars to developers. See my recent article in CityWatch about “The Great LA Housing Scam.”
The greatest nation would not have the worse Gini wealth index. The lower the number, the more equitable the distribution of income. The higher the number, the more wealth is concentrated in the elite.
“It found that the U.S. had the most wealth inequality, with a score of 80.56, showing the most concentration of overall wealth in the hands of the proportionately fewest people.” (Fortune Magazine, 9-30-2015, “America is The Richest, and Most Unequal, Country,” by Erik Sherman) Notice that the sources is not some far leftist propagandist, but Fortune Magazine.
Since the Crash of 2008, most of the gain in new wealth due to increased productivity has not gone to the workers who created the wealth but to the top 1% who are responsible for causing the Crash. Those statistics alone explain the “politics of revenge” which Trump exemplifies.
We are never going to put our country on the right track by brainlessly screaming “We’re #1" or “We’re the greatest.” Rather we need a new culture which admits that we are far from perfect, but that each day we will strive to improve.
If not now, when?
These are things which all of us can do right now today in our own lives. We can ferret out these self-defeating traits in ourselves and in our national discourse. We can recognize that it is not only the GOP who made people poor and it is not only the Dems who love Wall Street predators. We all participate in the culture of death and self-centered jingoism. Some of us actively support these ideas, while many of us are silent. We let the Los Angeles City Council be run as a criminal enterprise and we pretend we do not know that our state’s legal system is corrupt to the core. Even the federal courts said that the California system has an epidemic of misconduct because the judges condone such behavior.
The habitual murders reflect who we are as a people. These things do not regularly happen in other nations whose cultures do not enshrine killing as a civic good and do not promote predators to be their national leaders.
The only way to change our national consciousness and hence our destiny is for each of us to change our individual consciousness.
(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.