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Politics During COVID-19

I'm not sure what you would call me politically nowadays. I have been a Communist sympathiser since about 2008, but have since taken a step back from it after recognising just how much went wrong in the Communist Bloc and the amount of suffering and loss of life it caused. These days, I could pass for a very moderate conservative if I stayed away from certain subjects. If you'll forgive the expression, Utopia simply isn't what it used to be.

I live in the U.K. but have long taken an interest in American politics. I'm not sure whether it was studying U.S. politics during sixth form, or getting addicted to the West Wing, but Americans certainly do things "bigger" than us Brits. You're elections are a study in spectacle and it is almost unavoidable that you will be drawn in to debating candidates, parties and platforms on online discussion boards such as DP, as I found on another site during the 2016 election. Needless, to say, I've been hooked ever since, often to the point of ignoring my own country (and trying to escape the UK's decision to leave the European Union and it's consequences).

My interest in American politics may have started from engaging with other people online, but I understood the implications of Trump getting elected in 2016 for the U.K. and the rest of the world given Trump's threat to pull out the Paris Climate Agreement. As someone who is just entering his thirties, I can expect to see the consequences of the global inaction on climate change and it has rightfully dominated my political thinking. That being said, being aware of climate change and coping with the emotional upheaval of a world unravelling are not the same.

Whilst my priority for 2020 has obviously been making sure myself and my family survive the year, ideally unaffected by Covid-19, it remains stressful to try to comprehend the daily news output. I have reduced the time I now spend online to perhaps a few hours each evening, so I can do more enjoyable and productive things during the day. But It has been of particular incomprehension to realise that people are effectively being killed by ignoring scientific and medical experts in order to prematurely re-open the economy. It rings so many alarm bells given that it is reminiscent of many of the communist crimes and the moral calculations of how many people are expendable to achieve a given objective. Needless to say, when I have thought about it I have swung between alarm and a need for reflection.

When the lock-down first came in to effect, there was a strange sense of relief. Finally, we had a crisis that the government was going to have to respond it. The future wasn't as important anymore as we had to deal with the here and now. It wasn't unreasonable to think that a life-and-death struggle during a pandemic would also bring some of the worst polarisation to a halt.

Yet, that politicisation has come back to deny facts and evidence and costs lives. Watching American politics has been quite a lesson in seeing how people protested the lock-down, refused to wear face masks, or practice social distancing. I grasp that there is a great deal of economic pain from the lock-down, but it still takes my breath away that people are putting their money ahead of their lives. It seems like such a perverse set of values. It get's even more perverse when it's dressed up as a question of freedom versus government regulation, given that the clear limit to freedom has always been the capacity to harm others. But now, a section of the American public has all but argued for the right to harm themselves and others by spreading the virus and refusing to compromise their way of life even at the risk of their own lives, the lives of their friends and families.

For a while, I was briefly interested in horror fiction. This was mainly to distract myself from the events unfolding on the news, but also try to process the incredibly disturbing and strange place we now find ourselves in. Recent days have been the first time I've started to think about what life might be like beyond 2020. What worries me about Coronavirus is that the failure to prevent the loss of life in the U.S. is not the exception but is in fact the rule. If you consider the fact that the U.S. has failed to deal with gun violence, provide healthcare for it's own population or act decisively to prevent catastrophic climate change and the loss of life that would result, there is an alarming pattern. The belief that "there is no alternative" to capitalism has reached such a point of dogmatism that our governments would rather kill their own citizens than actually respond to pressing social, economic and environmental issues.

As an Individual, I am mainly trying to stay safe, preserve my mental health and keep myself is good cheer. But in those moments when I allow myself to think about what is going on, I have the horrible sense that my past affinity for Communism was not entirely an error of judgement. It would have been nice to have set it all aside, to get on with life and to make the best of what I can do with my life. But we seem to have a ruling class committed to making the conditions ordinary people face worse whatever the cost may be. It's food for thought to be sure.
 

Metanoia

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I am drawn to anything that questions the established order. The established order as we are experiencing it does not exhibit much order. The ineptitude of the Trump administration to address the recent crises of the pandemic, the protests over police violence, the plight of the disenfranchised, the pollution(made apparent by satellite images that revealed cities now visible because of the lack of pollution caused by cars), the lack of universal healthcare(which would have made more immediate healthcare available during the pandemic) and a failure in the educational system(witness our reliance on immigrants to fill skilled jobs), and the need for a living wage.

I am much too indoctrinated and prejuidiced to admit to any fascination whatsoever for communism but more and more I can visualize some movement to the attractions of socialism. We already have Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and those are socialist in nature. Oddly enough the failures of the Trump administration could provide the impetus to usher in some movement to socialist precepts. I forgot to mention the proliferation of guns that are used for mass murders. And Americans obsession with making a statement of their rights by not wearing masks that have resulted in a right to kill others. These are not marks of a civilized people and, in all likelihood, they will provoke and produce a change in the way we proceed in the future. It would be more than weird if I would be obliged to thank Trump at some time for the changes that he aided in bringing about....:)
 

Kyle Phoenix

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If Trump were to win a Second Term, I think it would make a really serious structural change within the United States almost inevitable. This is particularly because it would lock in the chances of catastrophic climate change later in the century and beyond, with all the disruption it would cause. Technically, that could still happen if Biden won, but it's a less certain path.

As far as Communism is concerned, it would require building up a communist party basically from scratch and taking over the government. You'd have to have a Bernie Sanders sized movement for a third party to actually reform or overthrow the U.S. government for a socialist or communist system to be fully implimented. my guess is it would take about 20 to 30 years if everything went smoothly and it certainly wouldn't occur over night. That would be probably the rest of my life time. So if you knew what to look for, you'd probably see it coming. But it is pretty obvious there is something wrong and Corona-virus has only sharpened and deepened that perception in many people.

Maybe we'll get it right this time and make it easier. But it is very alarming the course we seem to be on right now even when you are open to more extreme and radical points of view.
 
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