Voices from Russia

Friday, 12 January 2018

Why is America Grovelling for a New Billionaire Leader?


After her Golden Globes award speech, neoliberals are jumping for joy at the prospect of Oprah Winfrey potentially running for US President and challenging Donald Trump in 2020. Oprah’s speech acted like a religious cleansing, forgiving Hollywood for its sins, and propelling Winfrey into the role of neoliberal messiah and saviour, leading Michael Krieger to ask:

Is this the future the plutocrats have planned for the people? Are Americans now meant to grovel every four years for a new billionaire leader, to come and save them from the other billionaire leader in office?

In 2017, I wrote a lot about how dangerously centralised the US political system has become, and how we need to decentralise governance in order to restore power, liberty, and policy experimentation to the local level. The notion that a sprawling and culturally diverse nation of 325 million individuals should constantly battle to the death over the ring of political power in Washington DC to impose their view on the other half of the country, which completely disagrees, is patently ludicrous. States, and even metro areas themselves, should be making most of the important decisions that affect their citizens’ lives on a day to day basis. This isn’t complicated. People who live in Boulder CO (like me) have a very distinct worldview on most things, quite different from the average resident of (let’s say) Houston TX. This isn’t to say one is superior to the other; we’re just talking generally different mindsets and cultures. The residents of these distinct places should be able to express themselves via policy in a way that most fits the desires and values reflective of these particular regions. While this does happen to some degree, all US citizens are still beholden to the whims of centralised political power in Washington DC to a very unhealthy and dysfunctional degree.

One of the worst side effects of centralised power in Washington DC is that most Americans waste all their political energy speculating on, or rooting for, who will be the next supreme ruler (President) every four years. This is such a gigantic waste of time and energy, but one reason it happens is that the USA has an Imperial Presidency these days. The executive simply acts in a manner that the founders never intended, and the other branches of government (legislative and judiciary) permit it. Congress deserves a huge part of the blame, as its members intentionally refuse to exercise their Constitutional duty to handle war. Our so-called “representatives” consistently just allow the President to do whatever they want when it comes to the exercise of state violence abroad, whether that President is George W Bush, Barack Obama, or Donald Trump.

It’s pathetic that less than two weeks into the New Year, all I heard about yesterday was how Oprah might run for President two years from now. Think about how insane a society has to be (in light of all of our enormous current problems), to start already manically obsessing about who could be our saviour if we just vote properly in 2020. Didn’t Obama’s presidency, who said all the right things, but coddled the plutocracy for eight years straight, teach you anything? It’s not just Oprah though. Last summer we learned that the Hamptons oligarchs had already decided Kamala Harris (more than three years before the next Presidential election) would be their pick for the Democratic nominee in 2020. Primary voters need not apply. Naturally, Mark Cuban chatter never goes away either, as I pointed out the other day. Meanwhile, what do Oprah and Cuban have in common? Both are billionaires, just like Trump. Is that the future the plutocrats want for us? Grovelling for a new billionaire Dear Leader every four years? Sorry, but I have too much respect for myself to ever do that. I’m not playing this childish game.

The spark that inspired this post was actually a tweet I sent out this past weekend. Its reception was very encouraging and told me that many people around the world are coming to a very similar conclusion. This is important because we can’t change things until we realise how completely ridiculous our current paradigm is. Here’s the big secret. People create the world we live in. Neither nature nor the divine provides anything about our governments or economy. People that came before us created the insufferable centralised hierarchies we live under, and those currently in power aggressively multiply them. There’s absolutely no reason we need to accept these systems as permanent or perfect.

Looking for a saviour in a President is a slave mentality. We need to stop being slaves. Oprah, Trump, Mark Cuban… it doesn’t matter. Nobody’s coming to save you. It’s time to grow up. The real power resides in us. The world of the future will be the world we create. If we want that world to be vastly better, we need to stop looking outside of ourselves for the answer. We need to look inward, find our strength, and get to work. If you expect someone else to come in and fix things, you’ve already lost.

10 January 2018

Alex Christoforou

The Duran



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