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The Decay of Faith in Humanity

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Musings on politics, government, and humanity.

 

I want to believe in humanity. I want to believe we really want what's best - that we want happiness and kindness and forgiveness and equality and a clean Earth and all those good things we learn about in kindergarten. But my five-year-old self was far less versed in the injustices of our world, the many ways in which we fail to live up to every one of the kindergarten classroom mandates.


It's hard not to lose faith in times like these, when people hoard toilet paper, disregard at-risk populations in an unprecedented pandemic and, miraculously, continue to vote for a "Democratic" candidate whose health insurance plan leaves almost 10 million unprotected.


While it seems almost impossible to focus on anything other than the coronavirus right now, it has done nothing for me other than expose the glaring problems with our healthcare system...and, frankly, all other government systems, thus validating all of my concerns about the incompetence of our next potential leader.


Let me start first by saying - this is by no means a non-partisan perspective on the situation. It's very much partisan, biased toward the Democratic progressive, and, as many would say, the borderline socialist. As far as I am concerned, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate for us. He is the only one who has always promised the progressive systemic overhaul we desperately need, and, by extension, the only candidate who can actually deliver on that promise.


Bernie promises us Medicare for all. He promises college for all. He promises dignity for all, justice for all. And yes, odds are he may not be able to fulfill all of those, but, if his 49-year political career and lifetime of political activism have shown us anything, he will fight for them until his dying breath. Literally. He's 78.


But it's not even the feasibility of his proposals that concern most people. Many people seem to literally object to the sentiments themselves. And this is where I begin to take issue. What could possibly be so objectionable about providing healthcare to people in need? What is so problematic about ensuring everyone in future generations gets access to college without thousands of dollars of debt awaiting their graduation? Are these not things we want for people, as humane, empathetic creatures? Why is this such a problem?


People don't want change. People want to protect their wealth, their power, their privilege, their comfort. And they don't seem to ever be willing to sacrifice it, or even consider amending it, for the betterment of the lives those who continuously face discrimination systemically and personally. And it's so disheartening.


A vote for anyone other than Bernie is a vote for the status quo, or worse. Biden embodies everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party - unfulfilled vows, progressive campaigning followed by conservative governing, and a number of vague policies indicative of a lack of planning, care, or passion for the policies he's championing. Not to mention that the debate Sunday night was the first time in weeks he's been able to string a coherent sentence together. And even he, with his uninspired satisfaction with the notion of returning to the ways of the greatly flawed Obama administration, would be lightyears better than four more years under the current administration. I can't bear to even entertain the thought of the terrors that may ensue, much less contemplate the growing likelihood that it's going to occur.


Biden's lead in the polls only grew after tonight. I expected such a fate, though it hurt no less. I thought if anything could remind people of the importance and promise of Bernie's platform, it'd be a global pandemic. With calls for emergency cash payments to American citizens and widespread access to testing kits for the virus, it seems as though everyone's starting to sound like Bernie.


No one wants to elect Bernie, though. That's the thing. Everyone is ready for a revolution until one is at their fingertips. And all they have to do is vote! But there's any excuse to avoid it. He's too old, as though Biden isn't his contemporary. He's crazy and unpredictable, as though he hasn't preached the same principles his entire life. He's an old white man, as if we as a voting pool didn't rule out Elizabeth Warren far earlier, a female progressive with a similar agenda (though, I must say, I'll never forgive her failure to endorse Bernie. For someone whose platform aligned so closely, it's disgraceful that she'd refuse to back him. The moderates understood solidarity in a way that I suppose she never will, for pride's sake. A pity.) Excuses, excuses, excuses. Excuses that fail every minority community in our country and fail to upset the fundamentally racist and classist political structures we have in place. Excuses that Bernie has never made. But I don't think we'll ever get to see Bernie as president, especially with voter suppression in young and minority voting communities and the convenient endorsement from every single ex-Democratic presidential candidate for Biden.


I'll be voting for Bernie in the primaries, assuming he's still an option when it's my turn (bring in ranked voting!). And if (she says carefully) he is not the candidate in the general election, I will choke down my fear and my anger and begrudgingly vote for Biden, the candidate no one is excited for, even those who are voting for him now. Whether it's misplaced nostalgia for the Obama administration or simply the transference of support from one old Democratic candidate to the newly endorsed Biden, his fan base is anything but inspired. You'd think we'd have learned our lesson from 2016, yet here we stand. And we're about to let Bernie slip through our fingers - again.


With the COVID-19 threat growing worse by the day, even Trump is starting to sound like Bernie. But as soon as the pandemic gets under control (assuming it will), everyone expects things to return to normal. Forget the poor. Forget the homeless. Forget anyone who's not a white, heterosexual, cisgendered man.


That's what the next president will do anyway.


It's hard to have hope in humanity. We seem to drop the ball every time.

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2 Comments


jennifleur
jennifleur
Mar 18, 2020

I feel like this read is what I needed to organize my own thoughts, actually, so thanks.

Each paragraph is structured to your coherent opinion, and I mostly agree.

As a nation, we have a lot of work to do. It is very American to value yourself and have minimal consideration towards others, which is normal. The essence of America is independence, right to pursue a dream that you want, right to have an entitled opinion (hence this blog post); and it is a wonderful thing - to an extent.

Bernie is unconventional because he advocates change, like you said, which scares people. It seems logical to me that with this pandemic, the ideas of socialism would unintentionally flutter in…

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nicolexgrennan
nicolexgrennan
Mar 18, 2020

I love how timely this piece is! I'm curious about this line: "Everyone is ready for a revolution until one is at their fingertips." Mostly because -- I feel like they're really not. You were spot on, I think, when you said that people don't want change. A revolution would require us all to be fiscally vulnerable and since capitalism as an institution necessitates and promotes competition, it makes people really uncomfortable to consider sacrificing wealth -- which essentially constitutes power -- for something many people don't see as directly impacting them. It's a really complex question, I think, how we can reframe people's perspectives to see society at large as a priority. Hopefully people will have their eyes wide…

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