Posted 156 days ago
The fact that some consider America to be a failed state is absolutely absurd. That's why I appreciated Aschoff's view of this: it may do us more harm than good to talk of America as a failing nation unable to pull itself out of destruction. Lots of Americans see it very differently, and no political movement would be successful with this rhetoric.
Sure, alarmist rhetoric can motivate people. It can rev up the base, but I don't think it plays well for the mass amount of working-class and middle-class Americans who, quite frankly, live exceptional lives compared to people across the globe. The rhetoric should not be that everything is crumbling beneath them, but to ensure their safety nets are there and to convince them that everybody deserves good healthcare and wages to all get the chance of living a decent, fulfilling life.
I read The Unwinding by George Packer and I thought it was an absolutely brilliant book. I also appreciate Aschoff's take:
Or, like Packer, we might emphasize the need to take citizenship seriously and value solidarity.
I spent most of my life growing up in the south in a working-class family, surrounded by staunch conservatives, who for some reason, oppose any legislation that would help them because they don't want government intervention. They live far apart from each other in big houses and think the only community is the local baseball field, and maybe, the schools.
I then moved to Catalonia and spent a long time in a small town. Towns there are very Left, filled with people who care deeply about the community and labor rights and healthcare and feel part of a society. I couldn't believe that it was possible.
What I think makes that happen is engagement in society and "taking citizenship seriously." I'm certainly not advocating for Capitalism, but the American view of society is very different from the places socialism was founded and built upon, and reframing the democratic socialist argument away from alarmism and towards reconstruction and civic-mindedness is a crucial one.