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A musing word vomit of optimism.

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Think of the great times of sweeping social changes in this country. The Civil War/reconstruction. The late 1910's/early 20's (women got the right to vote, prohibition, etc). The New Deal. Civil rights movement, which started in the 50's but took a decade to get meaningful change. All of these things tend to have a common thread.


During the civil war, a lot of men had to fight and bleed for this country. And they got paid to do it. Afterward, saying "go back to normal now" was not an option for the government.


After WWI, during which a lot of men also had to fight and bleed for this country (the casualty rate of the US during WWI was actually higher than the civil war, it's easy to forget we only really played a major role in that war for like 6 months). They got paid to do it. And this time, the women and people of color started having to pick up the slack for the men who fought. Telling people to go back to normal was not an option, and this time women got the right to vote. They also forced prohibition, but that's a different topic.


Then you have the depression. This was a point where the government realized "shit, it turns out if people don't have money to spend, the battery will eventually die on the rich." So we got the New Deal. Then WW2 happened, and once again, men had to fight, bleed, and get paid to do it. This time with many more people of color involved, and many more women picking up slack in production. This, ultimately, led to the civil rights movement, though it would take a while. They couldn't tell people to go back to fucking sharecropping or whatever after all of that.


If you want to get shitty with conspiracy theories (which I don't believe in as far as "rich white men conspiring in a board room" sense), you could say that the Nixon/reagan movement was an effort to make sure that change DIDN'T happen after vietnam.


The point I'm making - the thing all of these things have in common - for the first times in these peoples lives, they felt valued. The soldiers got paid a living wage. The women and people of color at home got paid a living wage. For a brief moment, through all of the hardship and death, they also got a taste of what it was like to not have to worry about how they were going to put food on the table. Once people get that taste, they don't want to go back.


Don't think I'm comparing covid to WW2 (though are death toll is higher than at least WW1), but when the economy shut down and stimulus checks kicked in, many people were like "oh... This is what it's like to not have to worry."


Historically, THAT seems to be what causes lasting change.

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This was just a word vomit from my phone. In the wake of Biden protecting MBS and the Senate refusing to actually use the power we elected them for, I felt it important to remember that we might be facing actual change. When you give people a taste of a better life, they're generally reluctant to give it up. As weird as it sounds, during 2020 many people got that taste. Black, white, brown, and yellow. For a few months, it was like "it turns out you need us more than we need you, huh?"


That kind of philosophy is ultimately what causes all radical social change. When people actually realize the power they have collectively. The problem is it's not always positive. Prohibition is the result of one of these moments. The arab spring is another. That makes me wonder whether we're going to turn into a Qanon state or something. But I do know that people got a taste of power over the last year. And that means something.


Again, this is just word vomit from my phone. I don't know if I believe in my point, or if I even have one to begin with. I just know that social change happens when the powers that be are forced to value people because of crisis, and once that crisis is over people are generally like "I'm sorry, you want me to go back to being a serf? Go fuck yourself, see how you do without us. I guarantee I'll make it farther in a game of chicken. Turns out I'm pretty good at being hungry."

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