Divided, Distracted, Downtrodden: The Social and Political Reality in America Today

As America confronts the coronavirus, we are hamstrung because of previous efforts to keep us divided, distracted, and downtrodden. Politics in America is poison. Our president is much more comfortable leading divisive rallies than he is comforting the American people. People are further distracted by a president seeking to blame the virus on China rather than recognizing it as a threat we all share in common as human beings. Even the idea of helping people by sending them checks may be “means-tested,” with poorer people receiving less or even no money.

We need new leadership (Trump and Biden aren’t the answer, even as figureheads). We need a new national ethos — call it common wealth for common health. We need a system that places people first, not corporations. We need a government that isn’t bought and paid for and that is responsive to our needs.

It’s time for fundamental change, because COVID-19 won’t be the last big challenge we face. There are more to come.

Bracing Views


W.J. Astore

The American people are being kept divided, distracted, and downtrodden.  Divisions are usually based on race and class. Racial tensions and discrimination exist, of course, but they are also exploited to divide people.  Just look at the current debate on the Confederate flag flying in Charleston, South Carolina, with Republican presidential candidates refusing to take a stand against it as a way of appeasing their (White) radical activist base.  Class divisions are constantly exploited to turn the middle class, or those who fancy themselves to be in the middle class, against the working poor.  The intent is to blame the “greedy” poor (especially those on welfare or food stamps), rather than the greedy rich, for America’s problems.  That American CEOs of top companies earn 300 times more than ordinary workers scarcely draws comment, since the rich supposedly “deserve” their money.  Indeed, in the prosperity Gospel favored by…

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5 thoughts on “Divided, Distracted, Downtrodden: The Social and Political Reality in America Today

  1. It’s a challenging pleasure to keep up with you William. It took me a while to figure out this posting today (but it was worth the effort).

    Who drew the “RAT RACE,” when? Too bad the Comments in that original post had to be closed… (There are a lot of great comments in there) I hope everybody who’s gotten this far today clicks on your invitation to “View original post” (only 432 more words) because it’s worth it and so very, very cool…! All the things so many said.

    I totally agree with you that “It’s time for fundamental change, because COVID-19 won’t be the last big challenge we face.” (In fact, compared to what’s coming, COVID-19 might be recognized as a pieces of cake compared to what’s coming.)

    So, what does your imagination tell you about how we might get started to accomplish this, “Fundamental Change?” (We’re almost out of time for anymore “incremental” stuff.)

    Is Bernie too committed to keeping his word as a loyal Democrat to be the leader and figurehead in this (perhaps worldwide) and very fundamental change (of so many things)?

    Have you been able to think of a way to break the stranglehold of our 2-party system as the only way to go? In my opinion, the minimum should be 3. (The number 3 is much more magical than the number 2 especially when 1 + 1 = 3.)

    Please keep going… and working your magic…Thank You.


    1. Thank you. I just hope things won’t have to get worse, even much worse, before they get better.

      Our government is captured by special interests. Our president is a self-centered narcissist and liar.

      Yet there are so many people performing heroically — doctors, nurses, first responders, those who are working away in grocery and drug stores, those who are volunteering to help others. But they are doing it almost in spite of the system, rather than being helped by it.

      The change will come from them — the selfless ones. Those who set the example. Those willing to fight.


  2. Since at least WW2 and during the Cold War and after, the threat of a chemical, biological attack on the USA was a real possibility, with updates.

    Well you know somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon is a report and/or analysis of a potential epidemic or pandemic that could arise, either created by humans or naturally occurring.

    There is the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. USAMRIID’s current mission statement is:

    To protect the Warfighter from biological threats and to be prepared to investigate disease outbreaks or threats to public health.

    (OHH, AHH, there is that word “Warfighter”)

    I would suspect there are detailed steps to take once a biological threat is discovered. CDC would have something similar.

    So the idea a Coronavirus event could not be foreseen is not believable. What is believable though is lack of command , coordination and control over our fragmented Health Care System: Such as Corporate Health Insurance, Hospitals, Big Pharma, cities, counties, states, etc.

    The Paradigm Shift is going to be immense. Toilet paper will return to the shelves probably in vast quantities at some point. Then since people hoarded, you will have warehouses full of toilet paper.

    If you work for Mega-Corporations or small business the chances for lay-offs, reduced hours, etc., will be there. I suspect many small businesses, the locally owned restaurant, will go bankrupt. As I learned many years ago in Finance classes, certain fixed charges have to be paid by a business whether you have one customer or one hundred, such as insurance, mortgages, utilities, taxes, etc.

    The Mega-Corporations will survive. They will probably receive generous bail-outs.
    I suspect you will see a surge of bankruptcies in the personal and business sectors. If you cannot work, you cannot pay your bills.

    Here in America there is a “Safety Net”. It only catches big fish, if you are a minnow, you will be on your own in a sea of predators.


    1. So well put about that safety net, ML. It’s designed by the Big Fish to help themselves.

      We’re beginning to learn, yet again, that you can’t leave vital decisions to the marketplace. The market pursues profit, not wellness. Profitable drugs treat diabetes, heart disease, cancer, even erectile dysfunction. Meanwhile, anti-virals and antibiotics languish — until a crisis, that is. But you can’t develop effective drugs in days or weeks. It takes months or years. But the market likes big profits quickly …


  3. First, addressing “Monotonous Languor”: It’s been reported (an event that escaped me in MSM at the time, assuming it’s true) that early in his reign Trump ordered the dismantling of a governmental entity that had been set up precisely to address an event such as a virus pandemic. Great planning, there! Also, we must not forget that the US Military expressed great interest in Ebola. They wanted to add it–perhaps have already–to their own arsenal of very nasty little biological weapons. I always got a kick out of the nickname for the sordid research facility the Army maintains (or did for many decades, at least) at Fort Detrick, Maryland: “the Health Farm”!!…Now, general commentary: I stumbled by accident upon a chunk of Trump’s media briefing today (Saturday, 21 March) when I turned on an NPR station in my kitchen. I will never express admiration for this worst excuse for a POTUS ever, but I am committed to being as fairminded as possible in my analysis of events and personalities. And by golly, the Prez came close (while I was listening, at least; I can only stomach him just so long!) to calling on us all to join hands (it would have to be a “virtual” hand-joining at this time!) and sing “Kumbaya” together!! He used the words “solidarity” and “unity” and even included…brace for it…”Liberals” as part of our American human family! I reckon those “very fine people” among his Neo-Nazi fans are included. It may have been his most presidential moment to date. Have I lost my freaking mind in writing these things? Well, hold it right there, buster! I cannot but help suspect there’s an underlying, ulterior motive in all this: a presidential election scheduled (subject to postponement if the virus lingers long enough?) for a bit more than seven months down the road. I think an “adult in the room” must have finally surfaced in the Trump Inner Circle (maybe even an immediate family member) to shake him by the shoulders and remind him that the bumbling initial response to the crisis, downplaying its potential severity if not its reality, would hurt him come November. The US economy, indeed the world economy, is in a not-so-slo-mo collapse. If American citizens do, indeed, “vote their pocketbooks,” then Trump has finally recognized the jeopardy he is in. So though his motivation is of strictly self-interest, at least some relief programs are being launched. And how comforting to “know” that “deficits don’t matter,” eh? A longstanding GOP mantra!


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