This entry was drafted July 4th weekend, 2015. The timing seemed appropriate for a “sense check” about the focus of the blog. Does the prospect of a Revenge Revolution still made sense? Since I have made no attempt to monetize the blog and made no attempt to build a readership base, there is little downside concluding the idea of a Revenge Revolution no longer makes sense.
So, let’s look at some recent events and make an assessment. First, I think it’s fair to say most revolutions, whatever sort, are not the result of a single event. Rather the revolutions are preceded by a series of often smaller events that culminate in a level of frustration that becomes intolerable. Reading the US Declaration of Independence, one is struck by the list of actions by King George that aggravated the colonists. (Words to Declaration)
Another issue, whether in 1776 or 2015, is most of us do not separate national events from local events. Tip O’Neil, the former Speaker of the House, often emphasized that “all politics is local.” Further, most of us do not react to government or company policies unless we are affected directly. An example – in 2015 people living in the upper Midwest, which has received an excessive amount of rain, have a difficult time relating to water conditions in California, which is in the fourth year of a drought. And vice versa.
Given that introduction, the question is whether recent events have increased, decreased or not changed the likelihood of the Revenge Revolution. At best, I would say the likelihood is about the same…or higher.
Some examples. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) affirmed the basic provisions of the Affordable Care Act and affirmed that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. While the two decisions address basic inequities in society, the decisions do not address what I believe will be the primary cause of the Revenge Revolution – economic inequality.
As I hope is evident throughout the blog, economic inequity should not be interpreted as merely income inequity. Economic inequality is a result of a lack of fairness. Economic inequality should not be construed as socialism.
Economic inequality means that government and corporate policies should treat people fairly – back to the standard of ‘treating thy neighbor as thyself.’ The SCOTUS decisions focused on treating people fairly, but the decisions were only part of economic fairness.
Economic inequality is affected by a wide range of issues. For example, displaying the Confederate Battle Flag. If displaying the flag had been positioned as a reminder of how to treat people fairly, then there likely would have been little, if any, resistance to displaying the flag. However, the flag was positioned as a reminder of just the opposite – why some people should be treated unfairly.
Some supporters claim the Confederate Battle Flag represents states’ rights and should be displayed to honor those who died for the right of states to self-determination. If one steps back and assesses the actions of states that seceded, then two conclusions emerge about those who participated in the Confederacy: 1) participants committed treason by attacking the Federal government; 2) participants supported the right of one person to own another.
Do the same people who want to fly the Confederate Battle Flag support the idea of flying the battle flags of Germany and Japan used in WWII? What about the flags of groups that attacked the World Trade Center 09/11 or what about ISIS? And, no these examples are not different. Each one represents a group that attacked the US, just as did the Confederacy. Since its July 4, how do you think the British view the Revolutionary War? The name of the war says it all.
Unfortunately, this line of reasoning is lost or disregarded by many who continue to support the Confederacy. Even the resistance to the flag is what one might consider weak. After nine blacks were killed in Charleston, SC by a person with the Battle Flag, the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, held a press conference to announce that she was asking the legislators to consider…yes, asking the legislator to consider…changing the law that requires the Confederate Battle Flag be flown at the SC State House. (The same law prohibits the flag from being flown at half-staff, even when the US flag and state flag are flown at half-staff.)
Excuse me Governor Haley, but why not just order the flag taken down, or even better, go take the flag down yourself. It’s not that difficult. After the flag is down, then let the legislature fight you in court about the right of the governor to take down the flag. That would have been an example of how to ‘treat thy neighbor as thyself.’ Asking the legislators to consider, knowing full well they might not consider changing the law is not idea of being gutsy or being principled. You are no Patrick Henry.
At least the governor of the State of Alabama, not known for being overly liberal, had all Confederate Battle Flags removed from state property other than display at museums.
I realize morality and ethics cannot be legislated. However, individuals and organizations can promote acting responsibly and boycotting those who do not act responsibly.
As far as economic inequality, all the current heightened discussions about race and racism might make those involved feel good but, unfortunately, nothing is likely to change. Why should people change when they are not affected directly?
No surprise that change starts by looking in the mirror. As far as economic inequality affecting the black community, it will happen only when blacks begin initiating the change. Focusing on quotas, talking about race relations and similar topics will not improve economic inequality. Neither will taking down the Confederate Battle Flag.
Every ethnic group in the US has faced discrimination, some severe discrimination. Many ethnic groups still face some form of discrimination. And, yes blacks might face more discrimination just because of color. Now what? Every other ethnic group got off the bottom rung by focusing on education. Simple and powerful lesson…but a multi-generation solution.
At the beginning of this segment I asked whether the Revenge Revolution was more likely, less likely or about the same. As noted earlier, I think it is about the same if not more likely. Economic inequality has worsened, not improved. Congress is so dysfunctional that the Supreme Court is making policy decisions for the country. Middle and lower-income groups feel frustrated economically. And for blacks especially, no leader has emerged to lead the effort to start getting more blacks off the bottom rung.
One final thought. The projection was a Revenge Revolution around 2020. Give me some leeway on the year. My history of these type forecasts is being ahead of the actual event. For the sake of everyone, I hope the forecast is wrong and we…collective we…resolve enough issues to avoid the Revenge Revolution. But, nothing has happened since starting this blog that has caused me to change my mind. By the way, not all revolutions are bad. We wouldn’t celebrate July 4th if there had not been a revolution.