The winners, the losers, and the rest of us

As I write this, most world leaders, the media, state election officials across the country, and the majority of American voters now agree that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election by a clear margin. Joe is now acting more presidential almost two months from his inauguration than the orange menace has in four years

 But beyond the obvious, who else has come out of this strange election in a better or worse place? In other words, who really won? In a word, the oligarchs, 1-percenters, or billionaires, choose your label. Just look at how much money they’ve raked in during our mismanaged pandemic ($10.2 trillion worldwide).

Many people saw this election and the Trump presidency as the main problem and the only solution to what ailed America. Wrong. Trump is just a very orange, very visible symbol but by no means the cause.

Systemic racism has always been here; he just made the racists comfortable enough to come out in the open. Income inequality is now at world-beating levels. But that’s just an acceleration of what Reagan started.

The true winners right now are the super wealthy. The eight individuals (and others we never hear about) who now hold more wealth than the next billion folks on the planet. That group. The shadowy folks who fund the right-wing think tanks, Fox News, Breitbart, the Federalist Society, One America News, and so on.

This crew, folks like the Kochs, the Walton family, Betsy Devos and her brother Eric Prince of Darkness have been funneling money and buying influence for decades all in hopes of ultimately taking over everything. In their world, our only purpose is as replaceable wage slaves whose lives are devoted to making them ever wealthier.

The level of division in our country now and in many other countries, is a direct result of their influence played out over mainstream media, social media, and general propaganda channels. The more divided the populace is and the more divided government is, the less likely it is that the oligarchs will be encumbered by irritants like higher taxes, environmental regulations, strong unions, and strong governments. Make no mistake, we are at war with the 1-percent and they are winning in many places.

One of the big things to come out of the disaster that is/was the Trump presidency is the widespread recognition of the incredible racism that rules our country. And why did it finally come to such a head? Was it just Trump and his dog whistles and overtures to the Ku Klux Klan? Was it police violence against people of color?

Trump and his father before him were avowed racists. To have a racist in the Oval Office was a David Duke wet dream.

Now we see much more clearly just what our Black and brown neighbors have been dealing with for a couple of centuries and just how far we are from true equality. Folks, there’s a ton of work still left to do.

But keep in mind that the oligarchs are behind a lot of the racism in terms of funding and messaging. Again, it keeps us divided.

And let’s not forget the constant attacks on women and their rights by the Rapist in Chief and the right wing of our society led by rabid evangelicals and demagogues of all sorts. But the right-to-life folks (forced-birth people) have always been in it to control women, not save lives.

If they truly cared about lives, they’d do away with the death penalty, fund social programs, and come out strongly for gun control. Never happen. These are gun-toting, bloodthirsty misogynist bigots hiding behind the Bible and the flag.

And again, these folks are funded in large part by dark money funneled through fronts and fake charities directly from the coffers of the oligarchs. It’s just another way to keep the culture wars going and keep us divided.

Look at every divisive issue in our society and you will find wealthy people funding the divide to keep us from paying attention as they rape and pillage the planet. Bernie Sanders has been saying all this for the past 30-plus years and only recently have people picked up on it.

But for now, there is some light. Joe and Kamala are two real people with our interests first and foremost, and that gives me hope. But don’t kid yourselves, they are imperfect and their efforts will be compromised by our broken government. Moscow Mitch McConnell has already gone public saying he would not allow Joe to appoint just anyone to his cabinet and approve them if they’re too radically left for his tastes. Of course, Mitch may be on shaky ground if he loses the two contested Senate seats in Georgia.

It’s nice to look forward to four years during which it is unlikely our leaders will be a daily embarrassment on the world stage and a living menace to our rights and our democracy. I think Joe and Kamala will govern much like Obama did, with class, humility, professionalism, and a commitment to doing the right thing whenever possible.

Their opposition is secretive, well-funded, dug-in, and willing to break any laws or norms to stay on top. That is our fight now.

Never forget that the wealthy are typically apolitical, amoral, areligious, and sociopathic. They worship the twin gods of money and power and that’s it. But it also makes them vulnerable and obvious after a fashion and we’ve seen the naked depravity, greed, and violence they wielded in the past four years.

Let’s keep that in mind, folks. Your enemy isn’t the guy in the MAGA hat or the person with the Biden sign on the lawn. Your enemy is the guy who pays Moscow Mitch to load the courts with unqualified political hacks who will reliably rule against unions, women’s rights, the environment, clean air, clean water, equality and public education. The people who would clear-cut the Amazon rainforest for profit while we all choke on dirty air and the seas rise.

That’s public enemy number one and with Joe and Kamala on top, maybe, just maybe, we can get these folks where they live: tax them hard and regulate their criminal behavior. If they win, we all lose because our country and our planet are doomed.

Michael Seinberg is a columnist, social critic, and professional cynic. But he says he’s sharpening his word processor and making new protest signs as the fight is just getting interesting.