The Marketing Of America: Pt IV, Competition

As Americans, we are constantly sold and most believe in the concept of competition. “We’re Number One!”

We’re not number one in much. Besides, who is “we”? Does that mean we all benefit or profit from being number one? Rarely if ever.

We are sold sports to distract us. Because that’s all sports are for, aside from gambling. If you gamble, I can understand you having an emotional stake in one team/horse/whatever being first. Otherwise, what difference does it make in your life?

I can understand the camaraderie of cheering for your favorite team together. However, people can cheer and gain cohesion through far more constructive, community-beneficial ways than sports.

However, it’s not only sports on which we are sold competition. We are sold a mindset of competition about basically everything. Being the best salesperson. Being the most productive at our jobs to make profits for corporate masters. Being the tallest, most muscular, strongest, most attractive, having the most offers for dates, having the most money/possessions, most expensive vehicle, largest (most gas guzzling) vehicle, who can drink the most alcohol, drive the fastest, take the biggest risks and survive..

Some competition is good, I agree. When it actually offers benefit to yourself and your family/community/country. That’s not how competition is presented, though. It is presented as the greatest hording of resources by the fewest individuals, superficial non-achievements, often damaging to oneself or others. As a society, we place little value on academics, knowledge, humanism, compassion, sharing, peace, honesty.

I’m not necessarily against sports per se. I have no interest in them, personally. I find them frivolous, artificial and wasteful. I detest the many billions spent on sports annually in this country while schools, teachers, students struggle for resources. While children go hungry. While the sick lack medical care. While people die of exposure from homelessness.

Keep cheering for “your” team.

Then we have competition in politics. People pay no attention to policies. They vote against one name and for another name. Mention a third party like the Green Party having much better policies and an ethical, effective, well-constructed platform and you hear words like, “Well, I won’t vote for them because they can’t win.”

Keep cheering for “your” team.

What, exactly do you think you’re “winning”? Trump promised lots of “winning” and his supporters still think they are “winning” as the rich get richer, farmers go broke, international tensions rise to fever pitch and workers get laid off. No, he is not the sole cause of this by a long shot but he’s not making anything better. To think he is the only cause of it is a sign you have bought the competition between two parties.

Yay, winning.

We’re not voting for anything any more. Even if we do, we are willing to make sacrifices which are nothing short of dangerous. War with Russia, invasion of Venezuela, escalating corporate power, censorship of the media, arrest of whistle blowers and journalists.

Keep cheering for “your” team.

Have you ever considered that sexism is competition? So is racism, religious prejudice, homophobia, all of capitalism.

Keep cheering for “your” team.

We’re told we need the largest military on earth. No, we don’t. We comprise 5% of the earth’s population, yet spend more on “defense” than every other country on earth combined. We cheer for our massive military force while they invade and bomb countries that are no threat to us. Meanwhile veterans die in waiting rooms, come home addicted to drugs and commit suicide from PTSD. These are our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters we inflict this upon. We pay for all of it with money ripped from our social support systems and debt that accounts for over 1/3 of all global debt.

Keep cheering for “your” team.

We pay more in cost of medical care, debt per capita and the highest consumer debt the world has ever seen and have over 1300 Superfund sites we cannot afford to clean up. We have more gun deaths per capita than any developed country, more guns (civilian, police and military) than any country in history. More violent crime than any developed country, use 80% of the global production of opiates and more people on antidepressants than the rest of the planet. We have the largest prison population making profits for corporations running them at our expense.

We’re number one.

We’re told we need “unity” yet are sold anything, everything but unity. We are sold divisiveness on a daily basis. Our country is “better” but falls behind on every measure of quality of life, falling behind further by the hour. We’re told that one party or another is “evil” while they vote in the most damaging policies with bipartisan majorities. We go through cycles of one or another of two parties dragging us deeper into debt, destroying our rights as human beings, back and forth between parties every few years, never learning. We point fingers but don’t look for actual solutions. We reject actual solutions because even the ideas “can’t win”. Pay no attention to what you, yourself are losing.

Go ahead. Distract yourself with pay-per-view, Sunday/Monday Night Football, go into debt to go to the Super Bowl, the World Series or what have you. Keep up with the sports scores but ignore your children’s grades/fears/depression/drug use. Walk past the homeless mother on the corner.

Just keep cheering for “your team”. That will make it all go away.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

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BLM Versus Identity Politics

I have received several responses across platforms now using Black Lives Matter (BLM) as a negative response to my article about identity politics, here: https://medium.com/@russellmeyers_35963/happy-2019-not-2020-d5f354b2cd8d

Seriously? When you use BLM as an argument to support the status quo, you are literally using identity politics to support identity politics.

Here’s what’s worse. Multiple people have used the exact same argument, almost or entirely word for word. Hmm. Does that mean I have gained enough attention that people are using copy and paste arguments against me? That means I’m hitting a nerve. It also means that CTR is back in full swing. No question about that since David Brock is back in public view. Paid trolls.

We can expect a lot more of this for the next two years. Trolls and DNC sycophants trying to shove empty, useless platitudes down our throats in an attempt at division and invalidation of the Progressive agenda. Taking anything and everything they can out of context. Not one word about policy. “You didn’t focus on just one cohort of society or use the magic words to gain our approval!!” Yet even if you use the “magic words” you will be met with contempt if you are not bowing down and falling in line like a good slave to the system.

I have been an activist for equality my whole life. One can look down my list of articles, posts, social media activity and anything else. What you will see is a consistent stance addressing the inequities in our social and economic system. Across all genders, races, religions, sexual orientations and anything else you can name. Do I really have to focus on one movement? No, I do not. There are times when that may be appropriate but it tends to be rare.

Income inequality is not a racial issue, much as some would love to claim it is. Do rich people of minorities act differently than rich white people? Typically, if they do it is more marketing than reality. Would they support increased taxation of the rich if it helps the poor of their race? That tells you everything there. Yes, there are exceptions but there are exceptions of all races.

The rich are rich, they are in their own little world which does not include or concern itself with you. Warmongers are warmongers and do not care about any lives but their own. There are racists of all colors and you can stop pretending being a minority makes you immune from being racist.

Right now and through the history of this country, white men have been the richest and most powerful. It is not their race that is the issue. They often use it as a tool in many ways but color is not the concern. Take a look at corporations with minority executives. On average, do they treat their employees better, pay more, offer better benefits? No. Look at other countries where people of color are the majority and hold the highest positions of power. Does their color lead them to treat citizens with more justice? No, it does not. Does bigotry exist in such countries? Do I have to answer that?

Actionable policies. Yes, I support BLM, among many other movements for equality. However, I am not going to kiss anyone’s ass. Which is what politicians and so-called activists do when they spew empty rhetoric. When you truly support equality it means actionable policies which lead to that equality.

Here are just a few of those actionable policies I strongly support:

Civilian oversight of police and court sentencing.

Grand jury indictment power for police oversight committees with mandatory public hearing of evidence.

Police body cams that cannot be turned off. Video available to the press on formal request without delay of any kind for any reason except victim privacy. In which case steps should be taken to preserve anonymity of the victims if requested.

Increasing wages.

Higher taxes on the rich and corporations.

Treating addiction as an illness rather than a crime. Elimination of minor non-violent drug possession charges. Erasing records for these crimes.

Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Ending gerrymandering. Universal voting registration for all citizens.

Universal healthcare.

Universal adult education.

Permanent changes. Notice anything in common with the above policies? Every single one of them entails a permanent change to our social and economic system. None are short term band-aids for gaping wounds. None are empty platitudes that lead nowhere. Are they all-encompassing for all our social problems? Absolutely not.

Am I finished writing for the rest of my life by stating them? You have to ask? I’ve delved into many of these issues in depth, sometimes repeatedly. Right now I have partial articles I have not finished and mental notes for future writing. Often so many ideas that I forget some if I do not write them down. I wake up in the middle of my sleep with fully formed ideas.

I’m not stopping any time soon.

If you want to stick to one issue exclusively, I suggest you start writing your own articles. Don’t try and subvert my writing for your purpose. Stop trying to attack me or other actual Progressives fighting for real change. Start thinking about where you want to go and how you expect to get there. Because that is my entire focus. I am fine with constructive criticism and opposing views if they are rational and well defined. If they suggest actual ideas. I love debate. I block trolls without exception and without shame.

If you are not part of the solution, you are the problem.