I use the term “usefulness”, rather than dignity. If we seek out the usefulness in everyone, including the usefulness of diversity (in thought and constitution), then we are also forced to ask “What is the value of a human being?” I have to admit that growing up in capitalist America, it is difficult for me to understand what America thinks is the value of a human being. The minimum wage is less than what it takes to live in most cities, and the perception of welfare is that people using it are somehow inhuman.

We also need to acknowledge that most human behaviors and choices are not real, consciously intentional choices. The ignorance of any particular person is a reflection of the ignorance and apathy of the whole society. People do stuff. They have reasons for doing stuff: in that order. A few of the systems we build as members of a civilization or group actually reflect conscious intentions, and the business of building those systems is carried on separately from our daily lives in Consumerland. When we consider the collective picture of our society in the U.S., it’s really just whatever is on TV at any moment in time. Trump sells cars by being a blustering blowhard on the news, so the news plays to that game. We are what we watch and what we buy. Intentional choice is rarely applied. For people to expect usefulness (or dignity), they would have to be exposed to usefulness and dignity on a regular basis. We are not. We are regularly exposed to racism, competitive sports fandom, idiocracy and obstructionist government, as well as violence against all people who are not those dealing out the violence (bullies). America is sick, and this election battle of unwitting participants is just a symptom of epic ignorance and advantage for those with a hand in the resource jar (mostly white folks).

Peers do not correct the attitude of their blustering peers. Only confrontation with better people will do that. American people have believed for far too long that their status depends on taking away the dignity and usefulness of others along with taking their resources, rather than developing dignity and usefulness in themselves by developing it in others, or even just allowing others to be of their own usefulness. Competition only leads to fewer and fewer winners and more and more losers. Republicans and Democrats alike take advantage of this as long as the masses believe in the God-given aristocracy of the authority of the moment, and the myth of the self-made individual.

Reader. Fixer. Maker.

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