The Veil of Scarcity

Looking at social legislation through the eyes of Republicans.

(Photo courtesy of The Christian Science Monitor)

Looking for bipartisan agreement? Look no further. It’s right in front of us.

The American voter:

Confused.

Exasperated.

Standing in line.

Without a plastic water bottle.

Is this any way to run a democracy?

One cringes at how our present shenanigans will look to future generations. “Legacy” has become the newest epithet in the political vernacular.

On this we can agree: feeling alienated and drifting from civic engagement, the American Voter is confused and exasperated.

And, by the way: That’s us.

Let’s peer closer at this feeling of ‘disengagement.’ It’s not only deja vu, the ‘haven’t we’ve been here before’ variety, but also ‘I need some space.’

Not a whine, a demand.

Some of us are demanding not to have to wear a mask. Some of us are demanding not to get a vaccination, for the purpose of sacrificing our freedom — exactly to do what, ‘I am not sure…just…my…freedom.’

And in a way, the confusion about which. protest, which fight to pick (there are many), is an exasperation of sorts. Why me? Again? Tired, alone, barely getting by, you want me ‘to engage?’ To engage with what I am not sure… my agency?

The veil of scarcity is what I propose to name this predicament. Our freedom, our sense of meaningful, mutual participation in a collective future, our narcissism (if you are feeling cynical) is not about me (or you), but about limits: that somehow, there is, (or better), is not going to be ‘enough’ to go around and I will find myself standing in line without my water bottle.

The veil of scarcity shades our reasoning and stability. We feel cursed.

‘On this we can agree…’

The space, the agency, we demand is what we have forsworn: we are scared as hell that it’s already lost, taken away, debased, diminished.

We are scared as hell at the ambiguity that it “might have been,” or “will be…”

Well, it has.

It’s been objectified. And there is a price.

Understanding the motives behind knee capping social legislation is a murky affair. Like moves on an imaginary game board, one traverses the ‘slough of neglect,’ past the yawing ravine of ‘entitlement society,’ to encounter a wall of fog, labeled ‘tax and spend.’ Who dares to scale this wall risks losing their compass. For in this fog, there are but the dim outlines of nascent social programs wearing like Hester Prinn, the letter “S” (for “Socialism”) stitched to their garments.

1.Break the veil of scarcity.

Rather than marginalize the wealthy, redistribute “wealth.” Rather than marginalize the educated, redistribute “education.” Rather than marginalize…, redistribute…

Try this thought experiment:

The next time you hear “tax and spend,” substitute the phrase “cheat and reward.”

2.Restore what has been taken or lost

“Both realities (inequality and climate destruction) demand restoration-bringing back what was lost-which is revealed by the nervousness about individual rights being reckoned or tampered with.”

3.Objectification is the enemy of inclusion.

We know and feel this. But how does objectification manifest?

Obsession with the transactional.

Witness refusing to reckon a ‘higher’ purpose.

One suspends trust of the mission inherent in norms, institutions, disdaining their existence, resulting in scarring: the institutions become ‘politicized.’ One sees this phenomenon happening to scientific research, education, the courts, the legislative branches, the Oval Office. It’s prevalent and transcendent.

We have inherited as legacy the reign and trappings of 45, a brander — not an architect, nor a builder — a parasite who claims value by lodging himself like a sucker to the soul sap of a nation.

Emblematic of his 4 year reign were his two notorious ‘achievements,’ his ‘promises delivered:’ a border wall and tax relief for his friends.

Both transactional.

Easy to recognize.

October 11

Writer, essayist, dreamer.