Letters

Fake progress as political distraction

Dear Editor,

Less than a generation ago, a (male) candidate for the U.S. presidency who proudly referenced his husband at every opportunity would have been seen as a radical departure from the mainstream, to say the very least.

On the other hand, a generation ago, the idea of universal healthcare in the sense that today prevails across the developed world was, in U.S. politics, so mainstream and non-radical a notion that its adherents included Richard Nixon.

How things have changed. Or have they?

Today, Pete Buttigieg, who needlessly publicizes his private life by kissing his husband on stage, yet who opposes universal healthcare, is constantly and mind-numbingly referred to as “moderate” by the corporate-owned media, while Bernie Sanders (of whom I know and care not the identity, much less the gender of his spouse) is deemed “radical” for suggesting a health system that covers all taxpayers without additional expense.

Few words are value neutral, as the manufacturers of U.S. public opinion are fully aware.

When Americans are told constantly that someone or something is “moderate”, it increases its palatability. The opposite is true for something branded as “radical”, even where it clearly is in the interests of the majority.

In deft fashion, using the media, the corporate masters of the U.S. political system have completed their takeover of both parties and claimed the ‘center ground’ of politics, in part, by shifting radically on red flag yet relatively superficial social and cultural issues, while normalizing the flawed fundamentals of an economic system that has benefited the few at the expense of the many.

The key has been to separate superficially ‘progressive’ issues from fundamental ones and use highly visible progress on the former to distract from actual regression on the latter.

The result has been a political slideshow marked by high profile ‘accomplishments’ (a black president, a gay candidate, almost a woman president). But, behind the mask of progress is a society marked by increasingly unsustainable wealth gaps, virtually non-existent social mobility and a lack of basic protections, such as universal healthcare.

Sadly, here in The Bahamas, a similar game is at play — a government that has doubled down on a tax system that transfers wealth from the poor to the rich, drastically increased the cost of living for the middle and lower classes and at the same time resisted a rise in the minimum wage (on the basis of thoroughly debunked nonsense) now chooses to prioritize the legalization of marijuana as a focal issue. Wow!

Maybe the FNM is hoping we will all be so high on the next election day that we won’t recall the disastrously misguided policies they have imposed on this country.

  Andrew Allen 

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