As has been widely observed, natural disasters have diverted our attention, and another hurricane may be on the way. But while our attention is focused elsewhere, it might be a good time to ask why we have been fighting over this at all. Is it because people feel strongly about the issue? Or might there be another reason?
It is obvious that while we are fighting over Confederate monuments (relating to events almost two centuries ago), we are not focusing on:
- The worsening plight of the poor;
- The destruction of the middle class (many middle class people can no longer afford even a new car);
- The crony capitalists who make their money from government handouts or connections, and who are getting richer and richer;
- Government employees who may have signed on for the most sincere reasons, but whose numbers have swelled, who are now making much more than they would in the private sector, who cannot be fired, and whose earnings are often diverted into campaign contributions favoring one party;
- A government that is unsustainably financing itself through debt and money printing.
These issues are not as riveting as street fights or, conversely, struggling to help flood victims. But is it just a coincidence that while we are engaging in irreconcilable conflicts over Confederate monuments, we are not focusing on any of these issues? Or is that someone’s political strategy? Perhaps the strategy of both Democrats and many Republicans, aided and abetted by their press allies.
It was once thought that the Democratic Party had nailed down issues relating to class, race, and gender. Paul Cantor noted, after the last presidential election, that Democrats had perhaps unwittingly allowed Trump to claim “class” for himself.
Perhaps as a result, Trump and his voters have been slammed with charges of racism, white supremacy, anti-semitism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, fascism. Some of this seems completely detached from reality. Can a president whose daughter converted to orthodox Judaism when she married her husband and who has relied so heavily on that husband, who has brought in so many Jews into his administration in powerful positions, and who has moreover repaired relations with Israel, really be anti-semitic? Is the candidate who reached out to gays in his nomination acceptance speech, a daring act for a Republican, really homophobic? Is it any more likely that he is a white supremacist or racist? One can think of many unflattering adjectives that might accurately apply to Trump, but are these the right ones?
And does all of this, like the Confederate monuments, just distract us from the likely ruin of the poor and middle class if we continue to allow progressive elites to run our economy along the usual, Keynesian lines?
The floods will eventually recede and people will rebuild their lives. But in the long run, it will be a lot better for everyone if we stay as focused as possible on reforming our economy and political system and purging them of the current crony capitalism plague.