The icky nature of the current moment comes from it falling under the disgracefully false pretense of democracy. Hysteria for more justice conveniently ignores what powers an oligarchy has amassed against any kind of accountability. As our ancestors paid off the Church to repent for their sins, we elect flagrant sinners who strike geopolitical deals with foes, the dollars acting as moral reparations for the bombing of civilians who live too close to an oil supply. Charisma, like Obama had, allows them to publicly get away with it. The famines rage on, the pseudo-wars continue, and yet still the people of the world give up their hard-earned money to an entrenched and entitled elite that role-plays as smiling philanthropists.
Most voters state that we still live in a democracy, either naively unaware of the shift of power to unelected bureaucrats serving the oligarchy, or deliberately profiting from an oligarchic rule that they believe continues to serve them. This ruling class knows just how to play us, constantly adjusting the frequency of the media’s siren songs so that we never have the bandwidth to think for ourselves. We can’t relinquish the belief that we are all collectively in control, even though reflecting momentarily on that concept should show us how ridiculous it is. Did we see the pandemic coming? Why are the markets booming? Do we have any idea what this year will bring? In those moments, when our lack of agency is flaunted, we do anything to collectively believe it not to be true. We join in the constant applause and laughter, never quite sure who or what it’s directed at.
Those who benefit from being ruling class adjacent choose not to see it. The millions of people who have been indoctrinated to conflate success with ruling-class acceptance, the Ivy League schools, the mainstream press, the awards and the ceremonies, they can’t see it. It’s hard to give up an entrenched reward system with no obvious alternative. Their attention is firmly and deliberately fixed on identity politics, the flames of which are fanned by those who gain from diverting attention away from their own actions. There’s a reason the ruling class screams ‘unity!’ but keeps dividing us over and over: It detracts from their own misgivings and from the many crises they mismanage. There’s a reason those in power rage against real meritocracy: It threatens the money and power that they once acquired and no longer necessarily deserve.
2017: Madison West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’sRemarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results