It's hard to know where to start. It seems like every day, there's somehow a new horror that causes us to clutch our pearls and have the scales lifted from our eyes. From the start of Donald Trump's election, to the endless parade of horrible decisions made by gargantuan corporations, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight as to how bad things can get or how to stop them.
Fear not, for the first step in solving our collective mess lies in identifying who our culprits are. Fortunately, at this point, we can boil that down to three intertwining factors: capitalism, our political system, and our own complacency.
Capitalism being bad is absolutely nothing new. That wretched ad by Pepsi with Kendall Jenner and the doctor being beaten to a pulp and dragged off of a United Airlines plane are just the latest examples of capitalism run amok. There have been numerous examples of corporate decisions that flopped massively; did anyone say New Coke? But capitalism is pretty much responsible for everything from The Great Recession to modern-day income inequality to whatever else you can think of. And to top it off, none of this is necessary. Boycott Pepsi and United if it helps, but we also need to change our behavior. Don't keep your money in a Wall Street bank; join a credit union! If you're living in Dubuque in particular, with a number of credit unions to choose from, you have no excuse. Don't drink Pepsi; drink water, or Coke products if you must. Millennials just aren't that into capitalism . There are other options out there.
However, that brings me to the second core problem: our political system. It's not just that Donald Trump is even where he is today because of capitalism, or that Nancy Pelosi firmly states that the Democrats are capitalists and provides a cringe-worthy explanation for it. Our political system is rotting away, to the point where we've been downgraded to a "flawed democracy" as opposed to a "full democracy". It's not just Donald Trump that fully caused this downgrade, but it's not just Trump who's eating away at our political entity like termites. It's conceivable that if they weren't as incompetent or scandal-plagued, the Republicans would still try and take away people's healthcare, bomb foreign countries, and the other horrible things they could think of. As for the Democrats, they would most likely make or offer small fixes to our enormous problems, while expecting us to apologize for the bad things they do and rally around them (without much in return) for when the Republicans scorch the earth at everything they do. That's pretty much been their playbook since the early 90s.
What makes Donald Trump all the more notable is that he's straight-up cartoonish. Think about it. The comments on Mexicans. The infamous video. His executive orders. Sean Spicer's comments on chemical weapons (the gas chambers the Nazis used killed unspeakably large numbers of people, as if that needed to even be said). And now, the bomb that was dropped in Afghanistan and the escalating tensions involving North Korea. Trump's utter cartoonishness (there's no other way to put it) is unique, but why did it have to take Trump for us to pay close attention to these things? And that leads to our third core problem: complacency.
People have brought up the issue of complacency with the Democrats for a while (all of which looks amazingly prophetic now), but the problem seeps even deeper than that. We've almost resolutely gotten to the point where certain actions can be forgiven based on who says/makes them. In fact, Hillary Clinton said that Syria should be bombed because of the chemical weapon attack, lack of conclusive and overwhelming evidence that Assad launched those weapons be damned, HOURS before Trump bombed Syria! Despite the editorial gushing towards Trump for that attack, fortunately the American people weren't quite as impressed. With Clinton, given her history of a hawkish foreign policy, and saying how she made a mistake with her Iraq War vote and talking about learning from that (which isn't a full apology and doesn't excuse how she either helped ruin or was responsible for the ruin of other countries as Secretary of State, by the way), her launch of Syria might've spawned the same gushing from pundits, but when push comes to shove, if she were to expand that effort into a full-blown offensive (or even the no-fly zone she touted), how many apologists would be lining up to shove down dissenters? And how many would be tearing Trump apart for doing the same thing?
Here's the kicker, however. None of this is destined. In fact, allow me to make a highly controversial statement: Donald Trump winning over Hillary Clinton has actually provided us with a service. It may seem like the complete opposite, but think about it. Donald Trump's victory isn't the triumph of capitalism; quite frankly, it's exposing how horrific and disgusting capitalism is, and the more that people see that, the more likely that capitalism will fail and better solutions will arise. Trump didn't sound the death knell of American government; while his picks for key cabinet positions and his vision of how the government should be is horrifying, this should be the fire necessary to take matters into our own hands.
Finally, Trump is (or should be) forcing us to assert that core things that are happening to our world, country, etc., are moral values and not partisan battles. The fracas with Russia interfering with our election should be a watershed moment in how we conduct our foreign policy, but it's quickly becoming a witch hunt. Why doesn't anyone these days seem willing to talk about our interfering with the elections of other countries? Maybe we just live in a giant glass house. Foreign policy is more bipartisan, but in all the worst ways as the attack on Syria has shown (and as the story that Obama dropped over 26,000 bombs last year shows). The list goes on, but you get the idea.
I can't get over the fact that The Huffington Post allowed someone to say that thanks to the Republicans invoking the "nuclear option" over Supreme Court nominees, that Congress essentially became a parliament, and that's a bad thing. Maybe looking through the lens of our nation's historical background, there's weight to that argument. However, given our partisanship throughout the Obama years, a parliamentary system would've solved so many things (too many to include here, but you can guess any of them). This is just one example of the bubble bursting. There was a landmark study released a while back that showed that between presidential and parliamentary systems, parliamentary systems were more stable. The United States has been the exception to that rule, but we're heading in that direction too if nothing changes.
It's not enough anymore to gasp in horror and faint over what's been happening to us. Capitalism is a disgusting practice that needs to end right now. Our political system is a disgrace, and if the parties aren't willing to change, they should be tossed aside. Action is required for our future to be saved. Because we can't merely feign horror on social media. We have to do something if we want the world and everything else to be the way we want it to be. We put a man on the moon. We're capable of doing this.