Better Than Nothing.
The quasi-optimistic platitude that brings us comfort when faced with economic and social injustice in action. It’s how we justify accepting crumbs from the elite’s tables even though our labor is providing the feast.
We share memes about appreciating what we have and remind ourselves how many others have it worse than we do. Grateful, Thankful, Blessed, and all that crap. As long as you don’t scratch the surface.
On some level, whether they are aware of it or not, most everyone knows the system is bullshit and that we’re getting screwed. Yet we tell ourselves we’re being pragmatic by not rocking the boat. Let’s just take what we can get.
After all, it’s Better Than Nothing.
It’s also why we can never climb out of our hole, never mind have Nice Things. At the rate we’re going, Nice Things aren’t happening in this lifetime. At least not for the Average American anyway.
We are complicit, consciously or unconsciously, in our own oppression. As long as we obedient little serfs accommodate the elite class by fattening their bank accounts, we will keep sinking deeper and deeper into fascism.
And the lower you sink, the harder it is to surface and survive.
This phenomenon is so massive, so all-pervasive, that it dwarfs puny partisan politics. These three little words, Better Than Nothing, have doomed the working class to perpetual struggle. A struggle that is at least partly self-inflicted because of apathy and ignorance.
Any of this sound familiar?
“Yeah, nobody can survive off $1200 a month, nevermind indefinitely, but I guess it’s Better Than Nothing.”
“My healthcare plan’s deductibles are so high I can't afford to use it, but hey, it’s Better Than Nothing.”
“My disability benefits just got cut again, and I can't even budget in toothpaste. But I suppose it’s Better Than Nothing.”
“Yeah, I know my corrupt-to-the-core political party sucks, but meh. Better Than Nothing.”
“My aged mother only gets $13 a month from SNAP, but something is Better Than Nothing.”
No. See, here’s the thing. It’s really not better than nothing. In some ways, it’s worse than nothing.
Why? The elite class has one goal: give the peasants the bare minimum to keep them from revolting. Just enough to keep the pitchforks and tumbrils at bay, but not enough to affect their standard of living in any way.
This is a deliberate hijacking of the economy, not the result of unforeseen circumstances. It’s their plan going off without a hitch. Ever wonder why there’s always enough funding for endless corporate bailouts but not crucial social programs?
Because that’s how a rigged system works.
And we make it so easy for them. Since Americans are conditioned to equate poverty with criminality and wealth with virtue, they feel they must be eternally grateful for whatever crumbs get shunted their way without demanding more.
After all, it’s Better Than Nothing, right?
But greed has made the elites impetuous and more than a little careless. The 1% are dancing with impunity on that very fine line between continued apathy or encroaching anarchy. They might want to watch a documentary on Revolutionary France to see a glimpse of their future.
Now personally, I have no problem with people pursuing wealth. If that’s what blows your skirt up, well, hooray for you. Chase that dollar all you want.
What I do have a problem with is obscene wealth accrued at the expense of others’ suffering. No-one should be hungry or homeless in a nation that spawns billionaires.
Income inequality to the level we’re experiencing is simply not sustainable.
Look. I don’t care if you collect yachts. But maybe you can get by with three or four instead of five. You know, so the workers amassing your fortune can earn a fair wage and live with some semblance of dignity.
Because, after all, three yachts is Better Than Nothing, right?