What’s So Gilded About the US democracy?

Why not? What’s so gilded about US democracy?

The epithet is resounding; it happened in America. Well, as though the US was fire-walled from such happening. The effigy of what happened on Jan 6, 2021, was written on the walls. It was brewing, and the tinder just required a fire. Trump represented a perfect example of that fire exploiting the raw sentiments.

I wrote this earlier, and I will rephrase it again. What happened on 1/6/21 is an expression of severe discontent, propelled the capitalist leaning philosophy. Readers may be wondering why a capitalist philosophy is responsible for the mayhem. Well, let delve deeper –

Let us look closely at the pictures of the mayhem at the Capitol and then reflect on the ultra-right roaring sensationalism; the root cause of all these lies in the loss of opportunities. This loss of opportunities created a huge swath of “Have Not’s” that ultimately led to the fusion of an ocean comprising of the rust belt, farmers, small businesses, farmers, and several legacy businesses that relied on an older model of businesses that made America Great! Those models were dismantled, not deliberately but with an imperative, to accommodate change, and change is imperative.

Inadequate Retooling
In their haste to remodel, the capitalist chose an easy path, a grotesquely unjust path of not retooling the skills. I will cite a few examples of those. When NAFTA was formed, the US and Canada wanted access to Mexico’s wider customer base for their industrial products. As collateral, the agricultural sector was compromised. The produce and crop that was hugely productive in the US moved beyond the borders and deprived the ordinary farmers of their livelihood – thus creating a bubble of discontent. Ideally, these farmers should have been retrained to do value-added agribusiness or alternative profession.

Another wave followed – to counter Russia’s threat, the US and the West propped up China. China, a ragged country with a dismal per capita income, became a cheap fuel source for manufacturing industrial and commercial products. Again, another bubble of discontent created what we call the rust belt. The discontent kept growing and simmering, ignored by the elite and the by-lanes of power.

Another bolt came from the emergence of Automation of Information Technology and Knowledge Workers. Educated and trained white-collar landed is swaths from India, South East Asia, and other countries. That workforce bolstered not just the IT and Knowledge Industry; it also propelled the GDP of the nation.

Not that the US had a dearth of Knowledge and Technologist, however the white-collar, who flew in droves, disrupted the entire work-life balance and created an alluring competition amongst the workforce, enticing the capitalist for cheaper and sometimes optimal labor. It was easy to invite immigrants to work here. After all, it takes years of investment to make a knowledge worker, rather than invite one to work. The capitalist chose a shortcut by again not retraining their folks and falling to the allure of draining the white collar from the poor, ramshackle economies.

Such bubbles kept growing, simmering, and sizzling. Discontent kept coalescing, widening the chasm between the vast ocean of “Have-Not’s” versus the “Have’s.” If I may venture, the republicans kept stoking that fire and exploiting it further.

Emergence of Trumpism
Trump is an expression of this discontent. As a smart businessman, he perfectly exploited the opportunity and got ensconced as the fountainhead and a leader of these marginalized blue-white-agri collar workers. The problem of making “America Great Again” lies in addressing these root causes. It will take years to heal the infractions and propel the nation forward on the path towards progress.

This challenge needs to be addressed by Joe Biden if he has to represent and stitch the nation as a whole.

Shashank Heda,
Dallas, Texas

I’m reading It Happened in America via the ForeignAffairs app

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: