Gloomy Year To Come Despite Desire For A ‘Fairer Future’

January 2, 2022

Second day of 2022 and the feeling continues to reflect not-happy for Americans — new poll results (The Hill this morning):

Indeed, more than one-half (51-percent) of voters say that the U.S. democracy is at risk of extinction — including 49-percent of Democrats and Republicans, as well as 54-percent of Independents. Just one-quarter of voters believe that our democracy is secured for future generations (26-percent).

And T-Rump’s Big Lie and the Republican party as a unit supporting it carries consequences, according to the poll:

Just 54-percent of Americans believe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election — marking a 10-percent decrease from when we asked this same question in April 2021. Contrary to popular belief, distrust in the 2020 election results doesn’t merely exist on the far-right fringes: just 56-percent of Independent voters surveyed believe that Joe Biden legitimately won the election, while 31-percent do not.

Sadly, Molly Jong-Fast is probably correct:

And add pessimistic insult to injury, in an op/ed last Friday, Thomas Homer-Dixon, an executive director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, issued a nasty warning for not only his native Canada but everybody:

By 2025, American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence.
By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a right-wing dictatorship.

We mustn’t dismiss these possibilities just because they seem ludicrous or too horrible to imagine.
In 2014, the suggestion that Donald Trump would become president would also have struck nearly everyone as absurd. But today we live in a world where the absurd regularly becomes real and the horrible commonplace.

Odd, haywire-like era we inhabit nowadays. In a contextual slide sideways to embrace the politicized health-care nightmare we’re going through, one item most people apparently have acquired since this pandemic started was a hope for a better life, not just like it used to be.
While we get close to starting our third year under COVID rule, a new study from November at Nature, reveals people in the US and the UK mostly want a better, good life to come after the pandemic — ‘After Times,’ I guess you’d call it, vs the now generally-recognized moniker, ‘Before Times,’ meaning existence pre-COVID — and really want the future to be progressive, though, they believe life will in reality, and in actuality, return to the mundane ‘normal,’ if-and-when the virus is tamed, or placed in a lower public-health danger/emergency level. (If/whenever that comes).
Details published by the University of Bristol:

People strongly favour a fairer and more sustainable way of life in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite not thinking it will actually materialise or that others share the same progressive wishes, according to new research which sheds intriguing light on what people have missed most and want for the future.

The international study, led by the University of Bristol, reflects people’s preferences in the United Kingdom and United States in the early as well as later stages of the pandemic, and shows striking commonality in their perspectives.

A “fairer future with grassroots leadership” was around four times more popular, favoured by some 40% of participants, than a “return to normal”, which only garnered support from little more than 10%, in both the UK and US, when presented with various scenario options for the future.

However, the majority of respondents expected normality to resume regardless of their preferences, mistakenly believing their views were in the minority and that most wanted a return to the status quo.

Lead author Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol, said: “The findings revealed people’s appetite for positive change, but also a strong sense of scepticism about whether this would actually materialise or that their views were in fact widely shared.

“This is important for everyone, including leaders and policy makers, to know so we can recognise and raise awareness of the common consensus contrary to popular belief. When people start to feel in the majority with their hopes, this instils greater belief and action towards achieving and making them real.”

In addition to being asked about their future hopes, participants also shared what they missed most during the pandemic.
Meeting family and friends was by far the most commonly cited activity, mentioned by nearly half of UK and US respondents.
Going to bars and restaurants came second top in both countries, with the absence of leisure activities such as going to the cinema, festivals, and museums less keenly felt across the board.

Non-essential shopping was a notable exception, apparently missed nearly twice as much by Americans than their UK counterparts and even more so than the loss of touch and physical presence.
Curiously, more than twice as many Americans were also pleased to avoid physical intimacy, such as hugs.
Meanwhile UK residents missed freedom of movement to a much greater extent, although the survey coincided with news of travel restrictions which meant summer holidays abroad would be cancelled.

Although the preference for a more progressive future was apparent overall, this sentiment was strongest among respondents on the political left and centre-left wing and opposition to it was only apparent on the extreme right, while those of centre-right leaning were largely indifferent.

Professor Lewandowsky said: “The findings show an overwhelming level of endorsement to ‘build back better’ and indicate this would be broadly accepted across the political spectrum. This should give decision makers confidence when driving forward measures to help combat growing challenges which extend far beyond the pandemic, namely climate change and inequality.”

If that’s the case, 2022 will be a gut-punch of a downer for a shitload of people. There’s those Republicans, remember. And they don’t play fair, or right.
Anyway, none of this shit means what you think it does (right now, maybe it will later):

And once again, here we are…

(Image out front by illustrator and portrait painter, Tim O’Brien, and can be found here).

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