Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.”
Some important developments this past couple of weeks that likely will influence the intensity of the Revenge Revolution. (I skipped an entry last week for several reasons, but primarily because of lack of time.)
During the Trump administration, and especially since George Floyd‘s death roughly one year ago, social justice has been a major news topic. In addition to public demonstrations about social justice, there have been many efforts by organizations to address social justice.
Efforts have ranged from support for more affordable housing units to improving access to medical care to ensuring more equitable enforcement of laws by police to eliminating Jim-Crow-like restrictions on voting rights. At the Congressional level, some members of the House have proposed that reparations should be paid to blacks.
Interestingly, at least from my perspective, is the conversation about social justice has not included mention of improving educational opportunities for blacks and browns. Why no discussion about education, I don’t know.
While increased equitable enforcement of laws and more affordable housing units are important, none of the top-line issues being discussed under the banner of “social justice” has a significant impact on long-term economic sustainability for families. The issue not being discussed – education – has proved over time to be a viable way for ethnic/minority groups to assimilate and to improve economic wellbeing. Over the last 125-150 years, every ethnic group that committed to education as a way to help children and grandchildren has improved their economic well-being.
In the coming years, education will become even more important as artificial intelligence and automation replace low-skilled in semi-skilled jobs. Without higher education or expertise in a much-needed skilled trade, an individual’s earning potential will remain very limited. If black lives really matter, then educational opportunities and commitment to education by black families should really matter as well.
While we won’t know for a while, but publicity about and focus on social justice issues may have reached a peak with the verdict in the George Floyd trial. Whereas the verdict seemed more than justified and provided much relief to the black community, the conversation about the longer-term consequences of the trail were overshadowed later the same week by other events.
A series of technology-related events and announcement may replace social justice as the main topic of conversation in Congress and with the public. For blacks in particular, these events likely mean that the conversation about Floyd fades and the conversation about geeks gallops to the forefront.
What technology-related events occurred? #1, and the least impact on public discourse was NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft taking flight on another planet. The flight was the first ever and will be followed by many more. In technology terms, the helicopter flight on Mars was on par with the Wright Brothers first flight. I guess license plates on Mars will read “First in Solar Flight,” trying to parallel North Carolina’s claim of “First in Flight.”
2, and far more important for society at large was more detail about the Biden administration’s proposal of a roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan. The proposal defined infrastructure more broadly than roads, bridges and some communications. The plan has significant long-term implications for the US economy and daily life for virtually every citizen.
3, and the big Kahuna, was the commitment by the Biden administration that by 2030 the US will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 50% of the 2005 level. Like the infrastructure bill, the commitment on reducing GHG has major implications for the economy and daily lives of most citizens.
Both proposals have the potential to create significant jobs. Although there are many differences between Republicans and Democrats on parts of both proposals, the infrastructure proposal already has broad public support, including a large percentage of Republican voters.
The proposal to reduce GHG emissions likely will gain broad support among many younger voters. These voters could be a major influence on parents and grandparents to support the proposal.
What does conversation about infrastructure and climate change mean for the conversation about social justice? Social justice will remain an issue, especially with certain groups, but the conversation about social justice no longer will be front and center. Less conversation doesn’t diminish the importance of social justice. However, most people, including those in Congress, can focus only on a few issues at a time.
Further, the Biden proposals are forward looking and with a vision for America that is different than espoused by Trump. What does this mean for Trump supporters? Much less airtime other than a couple of marginal media outlets. Fox News no longer needs Trump and given that corporations supporting voting rights for minorities could pull advertising, Fox will focus on aspects of the infrastructure and GHG proposals. If you’re the Murdoch’s, why risk losing advertising revenue on the golden goose?
In the next few entries I’ll address how reactions to the infrastructure and GHG proposals and the diminished conversation about social justice could affect the timing and intensity of the Revenge Revolution. The entries will also include some discussion about reaction to seemingly ever increasing gun violence could affect the Revenge Revolution. Stay tuned.
Booklets you might find interesting.