I find it interesting that no one has compared the current catastrophe known as our every day since the ascension of our glorious Verlierer (German for “loser”, which is a much better way of describing trump that trumps Führer) to that of the Gilded Age.
The first Gilded Age has its start somewhere around the end of the Reconstruction Era and in the middle of the Victorian Era. The G.A. saw a period of rapid economic gains for the wealthy and there was substantial growth in wages across the demographics, but especially in the industrial worker. Life had the appearance of overall growth in almost all areas, but the truth was less ideal. The G.A. hid serious social problems from several economic depressions (1873 and 1893), increased economic stratification, growth in political corruption, technological advances that parred the work force (machines are more efficient and cheaper). Railroads were very similar to the internet today: moving finance, moving people (albeit not the physical aspect of humanity for the internet), and changing the way that American governed and made money.
It was the age of laissez-faire capitalism, the great industrialists (Mellon, Carnegie, Morgan, and Vanderbilt –just to name but a few): An age that demanded ruthless competition and social stratification.
The rich and powerful codified and hardened their rule and the rest of America suffered from their greed.
Do you not see similarities?
Our profanely inspired (yes, profane) confuser-in-chief seems to be in pursuit of a new Gilded Age. An age of decadence, the Ursprung of Gekkoism, and an age that saw the excesses of wealth, gilding over the true social and economic issues of that time. Why not? How better to deal with the serious issues of our time than with hyperbole, ambiguity, antimeria, and aposiopesis?
Like the Gilded Age of the early 20th Century, we are witnessing now a sharp spiral into sharp partisanship, racial tension, the return of big(ly) business –albeit they never really left, but governed from the shadows, the rapid growth in technology and its pervasive nature into all aspects of our society, the mischaracterization and defamation of immigrants, and not the least of all, the miasma of greed and guile in our political system.
We will bear witness in the next several years, something we are only beginning to see now, the rape of American middle class wealth and power, as politicians and businesses raid everything we own for their own profiteering. The poor will truly become the people of Oliver Twist –orphanages and debtor prisons are likely not far behind.
This is all more than just a probable; this is more than just possible –If we let them.
Looking to politicians to solve our problems is really anathema to the good order of things in our lives. You don’t ever entrust the fox with guardianship of the hen house.
As politicians and the wealthy put the gild on our prisons (with or without windows), are we going to meekly enter into those cages? Those cells? Those boxcars?
To quote and to proffer for renewed consideration, these hallowed words from the American patriot, Thomas Paine:
These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Do we stand or shrink?