Turning to History for Answers / Hate him or not, this mess we’re in did not begin with Trump

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW

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“Appearance tyrannizes over truth.” ~ Plato, The Republic

Facts. Real hard historical truths, not fictitious narratives of an idyllic world of yesteryear, is what is critical to grasping where we find ourselves today. The inequalities and injustices of the world’s richest country are being brutally exposed. The mask has fallen. This did not happen over night.

How did we become an oligarchy and a nation mired in moral relativism? We need to turn to history, not social media or advertising campaigns, to comprehend and analyze the present.

Let’s go back in time to 1789 and the onset of the French revolution. For the first time in history a new class emerged which had great wealth but no political power. This new class wanted wealth and power, but the monarch class (royalty) refused to share power because of the historic notion that it was their inherent Divine right to rule. This dilemma ignited the French revolution. The monarchy was brought down and a new ruling class known as the Bourgeoisie was established. Fast forward to 1917, during the first World War when the Russian Monarch was also brought down by the elite class known as the Bolsheviks.

The common theme between the French and Russian revolution is the power transfer from one elite class to another.

Elites, are those who possess comparatively greater power and influence within institutions, organizations, and movements. This allows them to engineer decisive political outcomes. It is a repetitive historical reality that all forms of government irrespective of ideology, are ultimately reducible to the rule of a few global elitists. They determine foreign policy, run the government, industry, and the worlds of finance and media. How they mobilize their influence has tremendous bearing not just on the collective mindset, but also on morality. In our current world these architects of group indoctrination are members of a powerful superclass.

The “father of public relations” Edward Bernays explains in his book Propaganda how en masse control by elitists is achieved. He wrote,

“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.”

In the United States from 1913–1921 Woodrow Wilson was President. During his tenure two legislative pieces were passed into law which created independent financial institutions. In essence this meant they were not regulated by a politically elected government. The two pieces of legislation created were the federal income tax which was enforced by the IRS (an unconstitutional agency) and the federal reserve system.

The forefathers of American democracy were against these measures because it took power away from elected officials to control money. Because this legislation was passed World War I was the first war fought on credit. This created the absurd debt load put on Germany, which in turn gave rise to the Nazis and brought about World War II.

Due to the Federal Reserve Act the modern day problems with monetary policy have come to full fruition. The Fed controls not only banks, but money movement and credit availability which used to be dictated by free market policy. The Fed has created a two tier wealth class in this country with the biggest gap humanity has ever seen.

Hence, due to the pandemic and the economic policies of the Fed we are seeing recorded all time highs in the stock market coinciding with all time highs of unemployment. This tells us that American labor is no longer a prevalent component of economics. The average American worker is now a cost not an asset.

This elitist designed political machine is maintained and supported by this economic system.

After World War II the United States was the biggest economic power in the world due to manufacturing and labor. That raised the middle class and led to more financial independence for the middle class.

When Nixon signed the OPEC deal in the 70’s it established the petrodollaras the world currency. This started the process of moving the U.S. economy from manufacturing and labor to financial services (banking). Jimmy Carter continued to weaken the middle class (labor) as did Reagan. The height of the full conversion of the economy from manufacturing to banking services was accomplished by the NAFTA Act during the Clinton administration. Everything after the Clinton administration was a continuation of the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top wealthiest in the country.

Clinton’s repealing of the Glass-Steagall Act removed essential banking regulations, contributing to economic collapse in 2008. Clinton also signed a commodity futures modernization act that led to the trading of financial derivatives without government oversight. Obama continued this legacy, even though his campaign promises included reining in Wall Street. The $306 billion bailout of taxpayer-funded cash and guarantees that Citigroup received, was the first major act of his presidency.

Essentially it was the massive unequal distribution of wealth, class injustice and socio-economic inequality that contributed to right-wing populism.

We could surmise that Trump’s victory in 2016 was due to the egregious impact of long standing neo-liberal economic policies on the American working class and lower-middle class.

The doctrine of neoliberalism, also known as supply side economics is against free market economics. Individual rights are dictated by corporatized shareholder owned free markets. Individual rights are superfluous and the merits of the market reign supreme. We see further evidence of this in the American healthcare system.

Democrats and Republicans are beholden to the pharmaceutical and private insurance industries. Although Obama ran his first 2008 presidential campaign on a single-payer platform, not disappointing corporate donors took precedence. Insurance and medical industries created Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). Hence, it’s not all that surprising that in the United States healthcare costs are responsible for 66.5% of bankruptcy claims (American Public Health Association). Indeed, with the inception of the ACA, health insurance has become less affordable since 2015.

Naturally under Trump we have been subject to a continuation of his predecessors’ neoliberal programs. His promises to champion the working class were not fulfilled. Big surprise.

The freedom to vote carries little weight without the freedom to work, have food, shelter, education, medical care and a decent retirement. Unfortunately this is not the trajectory we are on. We can pretty much conclude that the political elite will ‘win’ the upcoming election irrespective of party. The criminality will prevail along with the same neo-liberal economic and imperialist policies regardless of who is in office. Fracking, drilling, up keeping the nuclear arsenal, persecuting whistleblowers while the mass surveillance of citizens occurs, will continue under the watch of Dems and Republicans alike. The bottom line is we are a corporatized nation. Congress is enslaved to wealthy benefactors.

Plato referred to the Philosopher Kings in his essay The Republic as those who know how to govern. They are the wise, just elders who through debating and resolving with dialogue and intellect, contribute to mankind’s evolution. This idyllic governance suggests that mediocrity is our hubris and our demise. It is what brings down all systems.

The blight of mediocrity is where we find ourselves. The conquer and divide media circus is bad theatre that distracts us from this horrifying reality. There is no benign side to count on. All this so called wokeness, finger pointing and demonizing has been done to death. It keeps us dumbed down and distracts us from the real issues.

Maybe when we face what we don’t want to know can Americans take a unified principled front. Maybe then we can transcend mediocrity. Until then it seems we’ll remain fragmented and misled by all the smoke and mirrors.

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As a survivor (and thriver) of complex trauma and a seasoned therapist specializing in treating complex trauma, narcissistic abuse syndrome and addictions, I am intent on creating content that affords informative insight, hope and healing from psychological disorders. I aim for my creative content to assist readers with tapping into the resiliency of the human condition while recognizing the countless challenges of being human.

New York City, NY
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