The more things change

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on

–Marvin Gaye

These are interesting times, don’t you think? I was a child in the late ’60’s, but I suspect it might have felt like it does right now. Clashes over civil rights, voter suppression, women’s liberation, gay rights, wars, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, and a war which was controversial to say the least. Woodstock, hippies, riots and protests. Kent State. The fear that our country’s police might not be equally willing to protect and serve all of us.

When I grew up, it  seemed like  there had been a lot of  progress here in the realm of civil rights and human rights,  but as time goes by it seems like the changes everyone has struggled to achieve were superficial at best, and all too reversible. Marriage equality seems very much at risk. Voter suppression is becoming more and more open.

Instead of the catch-phrase “America, love it or leave it” we have “MAGA” but it’s all the same old story,

After years of slow increases in the amount of diversity, the judiciary is being stacked with white men who are willing to do all they can to make sure that only people who think like they do can vote easily. Computers are being used to rebuild districts so it is easier and easier for Republicans to hold them. People are increasingly being elected who have no interest in ensuring that all of us are equal under the law.

In fact, more and more often we are seeing white supremacists on the rise. The KKK wears polo shirts now, but it’s the same old story. Fear being used to manipulate us into surrendering without a fight.

The clashes are only going to get worse. People are tired of the financial and judicial inequity. The sexual harassment. The bigotry. The fear of everything and everyone who is different. A relatively small group of citizens is voting based on fear and religion and politicians are using that base to turn the US economy into a machine that feeds only the wealthy.

Most of us want some moderation. There’s a big segment of our society that wants a slightly financially conservative government that is slightly socially liberal. Another segment wants a slightly financially liberal government that is socially liberal. The differences between the moderates in social issues and taxation are not huge, but the one issue and fear voters (no gays! no abortion! no transgender rights! no immigration!) are tipping things ever rightward. Unscrupulous, opportunistic politicians see that as fear that can be leveraged in their favor.

My fear is that the tipping point has passed. That it may be too late to regain control of our own government and get it working for us again.

Or maybe it’s just a pendulum over-correcting and it will eventually settle back in the middle.

The more wealth accumulated in fewer hands, the more purchasing power those few have against the many. As part of the many, I don’t want to see that happen. Since one of the tools being used against us is the detestation of our public schools, it’s one of my biggest fears that our young people will be educated in ways that will lead them away from independent thought and the ability to analyze facts.

We need to be asking more questions. Challenging the answers. Keeping money and power distributed to a larger , more moderate base. It won’t happen until we stop electing the same old people who have been in office forever.

Change is coming. We need to make sure it’s the kind we want.