Owning up to Trumpism, Getting Out of the Quagmire

Even though you didn’t vote Trump, and denounce his pro-business, anti-people (unless rich), and anti-earth policies, you still must take responsibility for his ascendance and election.

Why? Because collectively we allowed Trumpism to triumph, and flourish, in our country. We allowed inequality to skyrocket over the past four decades, even as we bemoaned it. We allowed towns across the heartland to become decimated as globalization flooded our homes with cheap goods. We used cheap fossil fuels to drive our cars and heat our homes, as our carbon emissions overheated the planet. We consume four times what our planet can sustainably provide, while billions around the world live in shanty towns without sufficient food, education, or health care.

Even as we protest Trump’s policies that stamp on human rights, transfer money from the poor to the rich, and kill the earth with carbon emissions, we have allowed these policies to unfold until they took over our country.

What could we have done differently? Everything. Here are the simple economic facts of life:  Countries choose their level of inequality. Countries choose their carbon emissions. Rich countries collectively choose global suffering. Economists and scientists have demonstrated the policies that structure markets to reduce inequality, carbon emissions, and global poverty. Yet we continue to push for free market policies that work against these social goals and produce the world we have today of enormous inequality, rising carbon emissions, and global suffering. We over-consume, over-work, and over-complain, as if there is nothing we can do create an economy that supports meaningful, worthy lives in a sustainable world with shared prosperity. Our scapegoats are right-wing politicians supported by big business. Yes the Koch brothers and their ilk have spent billions to push us to binge on the free market as we kill the earth. Our passive indulgence in the “good life” has allowed this to unfold while we were busy building our careers and big houses.

Trump is a master at keeping us confused by daily malicious tweets and disastrous policies, so we cannot focus on how to move forward to create an economy and society that we want. Ask yourself, “What is important to me?” Once we focus on what makes life meaningful, then we can demand the policies that provides social programs with child care, health care, education and a safety net; that allows us to spend time enjoying life with our families and friends; that moves us past fossil fuel to clean energy; that focuses on quality of life rather than consumption.

We know how to create a high quality of life, if we say “STOP  the Free Market and Trumpism”, if we stop over-consuming and begin living mindfully and caring about others.  We can become happier and healthier, and care for the planet. Then our children and grandchildren will have a chance.