The following is an editorial. I fully accept that anything can happen and none of my concerns may come to pass or the entire enchilada will go up in flames. Who knows? Just making notes; not an argument.
Anyone who has played the telephone game knows that the more a message is passed around from its original source, the higher the chance for distortion. There are rumors that rioting is going on at the weekly protests across the country. Two instances have been documented. One, on the day of the inauguration, which was attributed to anarchists. Two, very suspicious interloping at a speaking engagement at Berkeley, California, where a white supremacist was speaking, when suddenly a group infiltrated the otherwise peaceful gathering. Logic says due to the specific nature of this, it was likely planted people from the far-right. No one protesting has anything to gain from this becoming violent. We are often protesting with our kids. Why would we get violent? And, with so many protests going on without any violence, it seems unlikely we’d choose Berkeley to single out. In any case, I have been going to the protests in Philadelphia and I can tell you from personal, first-hand experience, that there is no rioting going on. Every day I ask the police officers if anything is getting violent. And every, single time they say no.
The protests are irritating the administration who wants to believe everyone is on board for the sweeping changes they’re ordering. Changes that are being done through executive order without proper vetting, circumventing any democratic process. Protesting is our constitutional right as dictated in the first amendment. We may be annoying but we’re allowed to protest. We may be forced to accept the changes coming forth from the administration but we don’t have to like it, or be quiet about it. Whatever travesties come down the pipe, those who have perpetuated this should know we see what they do. They cannot pretend they haven’t done what they’ve done. They will not be able to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences. Anyway, regardless of what the rumors are, there is no rioting at the protests. It’s important to bear witness truthfully. They don’t like the protests but we’re allowed to do it and the protests are peaceful.
It’s fairly obvious at this point, that there are two things happening. One, the shift in power is going to go to the states. The benefit of this is that if you have a wealthy state, like New York, that wealth can stay in New York instead of going to the poorer states. New York is best equipped to deal with New York, and so on. The downside of this, is that if you are in a poorer state, you are going to lose resources. And, in the case of a natural disaster, the weakened Federal government isn’t going to be able to provide as much help as they could have previously. In general, the pool of resources that all the states used to rely on will shrink, in terms of social security, healthcare, and environmental and consumer protection. If you live in a wealthy state like California, you’re going to do just fine, maybe even better since the poorer states won’t be taking away resources, theoretically. If you live in a poorer state, you stand to lose a lot. It is, of course, much more complicated, but that’s the rough of it. Ideally, Federal taxes will go away and we can all focus on a local level. After all, what are we paying for if we aren’t getting any services from the Feds?
There are some actions to take now. One, get involved with local politics. Get to know your state legislators. Many regulations are going to get tossed to the state level. We may see things like abortion become a state by state issue, or education. Make sure your local government is on the up-and-up because we’re already seeing resistance on a state level from states like California. The states will become more powerful and can use that power for good. Two, consider moving to a state where the legislation is aligned with your own standards. If you are pro-choice, live in a place that respects that right. Or, if you believe in strong public education, don’t move to a place overrun with vouchers and pseudo-choice. Incidentally, places where things tend to be more progressive also tend to have higher state wealth and more opportunity and therefore resources, such as New York. If you want a more conservative approach, you may choose a state that’s more aligned with that.
Another concept coming to light is the old adage, ‘Buyer Beware.’ The deregulation of consumer protection means that there will be rampant abuses of the people by unethical corporate activities. The land will be polluted. Lending will be exploitative. Management of retirement assets will be fraudulent. Food will be poisoned. Medicine will be unproven. Professionals will no longer have to act in the best interest of their clients. Labor will no longer have to be fairly compensated. The worker will not be protected from abuses. Just about every day, the protections put into place by the previous administrations are being removed. Some say that these regulations were overreaching. But, considering people will sue a company because furniture fell on their kid because it wasn’t anchored properly while their kid was unsupervised, it seems that the people want/need protective regulations. Regulations either prevent bad things from happening to everyday people, or they allow the people to be fairly compensated when things do go wrong. It’s also important to note that most of these regulations came about because people were hurt physically or financially, the Dodd-Frank coming to mind in particular.
So, without the government to watch out for us, we will need to step up and mind our own, which many agree is the way it should be anyway. It will be increasingly important to get to know the companies you patronize to make sure they align with your standards of ethics, quality, and safety. Shift to supporting local business so you can be more connected to the business. Be suspicious of anything that sounds too good to be true. Don’t assume anything. Due diligence is the order of the day.