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Besides Bernie, Do Our Leaders Deserve Your Respect? So Why Do We Keep Reelecting Them?

"The Honeymoon Is Over" by Nancy Ohanian

There was a moment of unexpected joy and hopefulness among Democratic Party partisans when, on January 5, two Trumpist Republican incumbents were ousted in runoffs, Raphael Warnock beating Kelly Loeffler 2,289,113 (51.0%) to 2,195,841 (49.0%) and Jon Ossoff beating David Perdue 2,269,923 (50.6%) to 2,214,979 (49.4%). It wasn't just 2 more Democrats in the Senate and 2 less Republicans; the shocking results flipped control of the Senate and gave Biden and the Democrats an opportunity to pass an agenda for ordinary Americans. The supposed significance, however, was immediately blotted out by Trump's attempted coup just hours after the announcement of the Georgia results.

After that, Biden's honeymoon-free administration started down the road-- one that could have been predicted by looking at his long record in the Senate-- to failure... at least for us. It's all falling apart and, as usual, nothing is getting done for the American people. Not even the one thing that looked good from the start-- a competent handling of the pandemic-- is working out well. As The Economist noted Monday, America's dysfunctional pandemic effort is failing compared to that of other developed countries. "In the European Union, nearly three-quarters of adults have been fully vaccinated. In Britain the figure exceeds 80%. And as vaccination rates have climbed, deaths have fallen. In the EU, daily deaths in excess of those in normal years have tumbled by more than 90% since their peak in November. In Britain, they are down by 95% since January, to just less than one per 1m people. There is, however, one big exception to this story. America is recording nearly 2,000 covid-19 deaths a day, according to a seven-day average compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That is only 40% below the country’s January peak. But the true death toll is even worse. Just 56% of Americans are fully vaccinated-- an entirely politicized outcome of a divided country seemingly on the verge of splitting apart at the seems. The 10 most vaccinated states are all blue states:

  • Vermont- 69% fully vaccinated (30.7% Trump)

  • Connecticut- 69% fully vaccinated (39.2% Trump)

  • Rhode Island- 68% fully vaccinated (38.6% Trump)

  • Massachusetts- 68% fully vaccinated (32.1% Trump)

  • Maine- 68% fully vaccinated (44.0% Trump)

  • Maryland- 64% fully vaccinated (32.1% Trump)

  • New Jersey- 64% fully vaccinated (41.4% Trump)

  • New York- 64% fully vaccinated (37.7% Trump)

  • New Mexico- 63% fully vaccinated (43.5% Trump)

  • Washington- 61% fully vaccinated (38.8% Trump)

And the 10 least vaccinated states are all red states:

  • West Virginia- 40% fully vaccinated (68.6% Trump)

  • Wyoming- 41% fully vaccinated (69.9% Trump)

  • Idaho- 41% fully vaccinated (63.8% Trump)

  • Alabama- 42% fully vaccinated (62.0% Trump)

  • Mississippi- 43% fully vaccinated (57.6% Trump)

  • North Dakota- 44% fully vaccinated (65.1% Trump)

  • Tennessee- 45% fully vaccinated (60.7% Trump)

  • Arkansas- 45% fully vaccinated (62.4% Trump)

  • Louisiana- 45% fully vaccinated (58.5% Trump)

  • Georgia- 45% fully vaccinated (49.2% Trump)

The correlations are even more pronounced on a more granular county level, where you find counties like Slope, North Dakota, with 89% of the votes having gone to Trump last year and just 9% of the morons are vaccinated today. Or King County, Texas, where Trump got 95% of the votes from these geniuses and just 15% of them currently vaccinated. On the other hand, these are the 3 most vaccinated counties in California. What a coincidence-- so few votes for the orange fascist slob:

  • Marin County- 77% fully vaccinated (15.8% Trump)

  • Santa Clara County- 74% fully vaccinated (25.2% Trump)

  • San Francisco County- 73% fully vaccinated (12.7% Trump)

And here's another way to look at it-- the most vaccinated counties in 10 Trump states are all counties that voted against Trump:

  • Blaine County, Idaho- 66% fully vaccinated (30.3% Trump)

  • Presidio County, Texas- 79% fully vaccinated (32.5% Trump)

  • Teton County, Wyoming- 79% fully vaccinated (% Trump)

  • Jefferson County, Mississippi- 58% fully vaccinated (13.6% Trump)

  • Douglas County, Nebraska- 56% fully vaccinated (43.1% Trump)

  • Charleston County, South Carolina- 55% fully vaccinated (42.6% Trump)

  • Summit County, Utah- 73% fully vaccinated (39.3% Trump)

  • Dewey County, South Dakota- 56% fully vaccinated (40.2% Trump)

  • Glacier County, Montana- 69% fully vaccinated (33.5% Trump)

  • Desha County, Arkansas- 50% fully vaccinated (46.1% Trump)

The Republican Party sucks in every way-- no redeeming value whatsoever. And the Democratic Party? Another mess-- maybe not as utterly, soul-destroyingly worthless but almost. Can't deliver/won't deliver for the people who gave them-- and it-- power.

You know what caught my attention this morning? An AP interview with the new Capitol Police chief, Tom Manger, who says that the risk of danger to members of Congress is higher than ever. Manger: "We have never had the level of threats against members of Congress that we’re seeing today. Clearly, we’ve got a bigger job in terms of the protection aspect of our responsibilities, we’ve got a bigger job than we used to." Why do people want to kill members of Congress? Could it be because they're fucking us over?

And it's not just Congress that people hate. Did you see this Wall Street Journal piece yesterday about crooked judges? You don't even have to read it; this graphic says it all:

Look, seriously, I'm not advocating that anybody kill anybody. Even massive villains like Trump and the 3 "M"s-- McCarthy, McConnell and Manchin-- deserve their day in court first. But something's gotta give-- maybe a separation between red (the new Confederacy) and blue states? I'm not certain, but someone turned me onto an Ian Welsh post from over a year ago that I missed: Do Not Ask Western Leadership To Fix Anything. "Inequality," he wrote, referencing economics, "has been increasing since the 1970s. It has become worse every decade, with only minor reversals. After the financial crisis, it became so bad that more than all the productivity gains in the environment went to the top three percent. This happened in large part due to various financial, economic, and legislative 'reforms.' It was deliberate, in other words. Inequality is a result of deliberate action by US leadership. Austerity is, likewise, the result of deliberate action by Western elites, generally. They decided to deliberately impoverish their citizens and have done so... The leadership classes are chosen for their ability and desire to become leaders. If that overlaps with an ability and desire to make their society good for the majority of the population, that’s great, but in most countries right now, that’s not how or why they are selected. These people are selected by oligarchs, for oligarchs, and their skillset is pleasing oligarchs. This is done through a system that selects candidates before they get to voters, even primary voters or the equivalent. In most cases, you do not get a choice of a leader who will put ordinary people’s interests first."

[D]on’t ask your leadership to “fix” anything. That’s not what they are there for. Whenever they want to do anything, your default position should be to oppose it–unless you are 100 percent certain it’s in your interest and have done the hard, cold research and thinking to support that conclusion. Sure, sometimes you’ll be wrong, but most of the time you’ll be right, because they are not in power to make your lives better, but to enrich a small class of people and impoverish the majority.
Any knock-on effects, like terrorism, are secondary to them, and even if they had the desire to fix such problems, they cannot-- they do not have the ability. They will simply make them worse, even if it was possible they were sincerely trying to do good.
If you live in the West, the great danger to your life, health, and prosperity is your leadership. It is how your society is run. This is cold, hard, and true.

Any moment now it's going to be too late but a majority of Americans are finally acknowledging that Climate Change is now hurting us. When it is officially too late to stop, will all the politicians who refused to do anything about it when they could-- basically the whole GOP and the whole Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- be quickly tried and shot? I doubt it. Too bad. On top of everything else, they're killing us as a species. What did Bernie say yesterday... their religion is greed. And, as long as we're on-- or headed towards-- the subject, more or less, did the Beatles get this wrong?

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