November 10, 2019 by epoetus
Rebecca Solnit, famous for her feminist article and book “Men Explain Things To Me,” just published a brilliant piece on Billionaires that resonates with much of what the San Juan County democrats and the Islanders’ Voice have been covering this year. This is a good excuse for a brief retrospective. What we are writing and talking about is relevant and synergizes with much of what the greater activist movement is grappling with right now.
A quick plug for Islanders’ Voice: If you like what you see on the Islanders’ Voice site then please share our stories with your friends and ask them to join the mailing list: Subscribe to Islanders’ Voice Free Weekly Mailing List, and like the Islanders’ Voice Facebook page as well: Islanders’ Voice Facebook page.
A short list of some relevant Islanders’ Voice articles:
• We have a rich white male problem – https://islandersvoice.com/2019/08/13/we-have-a-rich-white-male-problem/
• A WA first SJC Democrats just put an income and wealth tax on the democratic party agenda https://islandersvoice.com/2019/09/22/a-wa-first-sjc-democrats-just-put-an-income-and-wealth-tax-onto-the-democratic-party-agenda/
• Wisdom from our ancestors: do not make this – Trump and his racist, fascist messages – the new normal https://islandersvoice.com/2019/04/27/wisdom-from-our-ancestors-do-not-make-this-trump-and-his-racist-fascist-messages-the-new-normal/
• What are “We The People” to do about issues that matter – issues like abortion and climate change? https://islandersvoice.com/2019/05/27/what-are-we-the-people-to-do-about-the-issues-that-matter-issues-like-abortion-and-climate-change/
• To Impeach Or Not Impeach – Or is that the wrong question? https://islandersvoice.com/2019/07/28/to-impeach-or-not-impeach-or-is-that-the-wrong-question/
• The Danger of doing nothing: the ostrich’s head in the sand https://islandersvoice.com/2019/10/26/the-danger-of-doing-nothing-the-ostrichs-head-in-the-sand/
• We must become more than anti-racists https://islandersvoice.com/2019/09/16/we-must-become-more-than-antiracists/
• And others
The themes from these articles frequently touch on the need to reconstruct the public narrative and the importance of influencing, developing, collaborating, owning and driving it. In Rebecca’s article (excerpted and linked below,) she focuses on the outsize influence of Billionaires, she mocks them and the mainstream media that perpetuates their narrative. That narrative is really *our* narrative, and it is ours to drive – let’s all get on the democracy bus! Rebecca is in the vanguard of those who are blazing trails and showing us the way, as are people like George Lakoff. May the narrative become ours – the narrative *IS* the revolution. The narrative will win the hearts and minds of America and bring democracy back to us, so that we can hug it and tell it we never want it to go away again.
Here it is … an excerpt from Rebecca’s article
“OK Billionaire: Rebecca Solnit on the Self-Pity of the Very Rich” By Rebecca Solnit 11/6/2019
It must be springtime—or summer, autumn, or winter—because the voice of the billionaire has been heard in the land, and the voice of the billionaire is weepy with self-pity that if the nice lady with plans wins, he might be a slightly smaller billionaire and that some in the world’s wealthiest nation think a little redistribution would mean that, say, thirteen million children don’t have to go hungry anymore. Just for the record the number of billionaires in the USA is about 600; they are a very, very tiny special interest group.
Links in paragraph:
Think of being a billionaire as a rare disease, though far less rare than it was a few decades ago—except that it’s a disease that’s self-inflicted, deserves no sympathy, and is easily cured by dispersal of the huge bolus of money choking their empathic awareness. Unlike people with medical conditions, too, their illness is ours, because it warps the very fiber of our republic with its outsize impact on politics—see, for example, Charles and David Koch, Peter Thiel—and newspapers right now are giving them a forum they don’t need or deserve, and by so doing making their wishes and whims seem like important and relevant things.
Often they are framed as the constituency to be listened to when contemplating the economic future of this country, even though they are guaranteed to be fine no matter what, while perhaps a hundred million of their fellow citizens live lives of quiet financial desperation. That’s thanks in no small part to the rarely acknowledged rearrangement of the US economy over the past 40 years to create massive debt and poverty for the many and extreme wealth for the few.
One hundred million is larger than six hundred, but you wouldn’t know it by who we hear from. About 25 times as many people live on the Standing Rock Reservation than are billionaires in the USA, and yet our mainstream publications have not felt compelled to run every possible candidate and consequence by the 15,000-plus members of this native community for approval. (It would be so much more interesting if they did.) Meanwhile, “Fully 60 percent of millionaires support Warren’s plan for taxing the wealth of those who have more than $50 million in assets, according to the CNBC Millionaire survey,” but mainstream media outlets have chosen to amplify the voices of those who don’t.
Link in paragraph:
According to the CNBC Millionaire survey
The voice of the billionaire and the white male pundit have been heard, and of an entire army of conservatives who urgently believe that Democrats need to heed their voice (there is not really an equivalent of liberals or leftists who think Republicans need to follow their electoral strategy, because this demographic is apparently not high on its own fumes). It often seems as though the Democratic and Republican parties are unconsciously perceived as the wife and husband in a very, very traditional marriage, since the former is supposed to defer to and please the latter, and the latter is free to run roughshod over the former. To love, cherish, and above all obey. This might be why for the first two years of Trump, the New York Times, like a helicopter parent, was forever running over to see how Trump voters were feeling since last time they checked, without comparable coverage of how other constituencies were feeling. This asymmetry is amplified by their columnists.
New York Times professional hand-wringers David Brooks and Ross Douthat are among the conservative white men who would like to be Democratic election strategists, and also there is a fox that would like to lovingly tend every bird in your henhouse, and a box of mud with some cleaning tips for you. These conservatives giving free advice to their enemies are generally saying that Democrats should run someone Republicans like, even though Republicans are probably going to [plot disclosure] vote for Republicans. The position is ridiculous, but these men believe devoutly in their own gravitas, as does the Times’s Bret Stephens, who publicly fretted that, “Those with plans for everything prove only that they can’t be trusted to plan for anything,” and went on about how untrustworthy Elizabeth Warren is for telling us what she’ll do.
The rest of the article can be found here:
“OK Billionaire: Rebecca Solnit on the Self-Pity of the Very Rich”
Other recent articles on billionaires:
Bill Gates Whining about the unfairness of the anti-trust case against Microsoft that they lost in the 1990s
Bill Gates and Bernie Sanders spar over the need to tax the rich for democracy
Another billionaire, this one Bloomberg, thinks that they are the ones to save democracy – NOT!
Even arrogant Billionaires like Bezos are falling out of favor and their money in politics is not going as far as it used to – Kshama Sawant wins again
Billionaire’s hit the panic button
and so on.