Politics are overrated? it depends

Bill Gates Paul put out this video: Politics are overrated.

Bill seems to have taken more black pills than usual. He’s not wrong about the lack of progress under Trump, or how things mostly feel the same–albeit with some incremental changes here and there– regardless of who is in power. But I think what he means is, politics is ineffective at correcting itself. Politics in America lacks an undo mechanism. It’s a one-way street. Policy, once enacted, cannot be rescinded. For things to change, such as undoing or reversing demographic change, would require undoing earlier policy on immigration, but that is a tall order.

Although most policy is gradual or imperceptible, national politics can have an affect on one’s day to day life. It’s why people are subjected to intrusive screenings at airports, as well as increased scrutiny of financial records and money transfers (thank George W. Bush, the Patriot Act, and the Dept. Of Homeland Security). Or why insurance premiums seem to have gotten more expensive lately (thank Obamacare). Or why cities and towns, especially in coastal areas, have undergone drastic demographic change over the past few generations and are unrecognizable (for example, thank Reagan’s 1986 immigration bill, which granted amnesty in exchange for border control; in retrospect, all we got was more amnesty). Or why businesses have to spend so much money on accommodations and retrofitting for the disabled, for fear of lawsuits (thank the 1990 Americans with disability Act, which is especially punitive for small businesses). Or it seems like LGBT issues are suddenly on the forefront of culture and society (that has more to do with corporations than politicians. Given how LGBT people are such a small minority, especially trans people, politicians have less to gain by pandering to them, but large corporations in particular, for some reason, devote an inordinate amount of attention to this tiny demographic.)

Interestingly, the irreversibility of policy leads to a country that is simultaneously going in opposite ideological directions. The end result is some bastardized amalgamation of
different ideologies. Some of the people reading this blog probably weren’t born the last time income taxes went up, in 1993. Since then, taxes have only gone down, which is a win for libertarian-types; same for free trade, immigration, and globalization, which are also unstoppable and keep growing. But in spite of America becoming much more socially liberal, the police/surveillance state has swelled at the same time, as has the military-industrial complex. Roe V. Wade–despite a conservative-leaning Supreme Court, five Republican administrations (Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1 & 2, and Trump), and the GOP having control of Congress on multiple occasions–has never come close being reversed.