Survivors of the Opioid Crisis

For the first time, since perhaps the War of 1812, the U.S. Capitol Building came under attack this week. But instead of it coming from an international enemy, the angry mob was comprised of Americans.

There are reports of shootings, deaths, stolen property, and explosives have been found.

Understand who are these people – and who they are not – in the context of American history.
Investigate and reflect on the contributing factors, and what led to this climactic point.

These angry people were largely lower wealth, working class white Americans.

America has always had low wealth working class white people, but never before were they so angry that they stormed the workplace of Federal lawmakers. Something is different now than before. Something changed.

They hail from different groups and go by different names, none of which are purely political activist groups. But they’re united by the concern of fraud in elections.
Note however: fraud in elections is nothing new.

People have been concerned about fraudulent elections since at least the mid 19th century.

They’re angry certainly, but their motive is unlikely to be concerns regarding fraudulent elections.

Why then are they being activated today????

Their fathers and grandfathers enjoyed an America that provided benefits to the higher caste, that were restricted from people in the lower caste. Their parents told them what to expect from America… but gradually, those expectations weren’t meeting the reality of what they saw.

Gradually, they have witnessed the increase of immigrants, mostly from Latin America and from Asia.
And then suddenly, the election of a family into the highest elected office in the country, led by a man who himself was the child of an African immigrant.
Together, this large group of working class white Americans have begun to question their place in the social hierarchy and caste structure.

Notably, he promised to prioritize their well-being.

A Hall Pass to Discriminate

Yet, even as the racial wealth gap widened significantly during the presidential terms when this ‘black’ family occupied the WH, that significant boost in relative wealth wasn’t enough for them.

The 2020 WH Elections Issue: Race

They’re about 160 years ahead, yet are still disgruntled.

Being 160 Years Behind, and Catching Up

In prior decades, America ensured that even the lowest class person in the dominant caste was above the highest class person in the subordinate caste. This provided a psychological reassurance that no matter what happened, America would affirm their place in the social hierarchy.

America could take their vote, their house, restrict their access to education, take their money, but America ‘promised’ not to take away their white skin and the inherent privileges of having these favorable inherited characteristics.

The psychological stress of losing social status gradually would begin to render these dominant caste families to be more susceptible and vulnerable to pains of their low wealth. The perceived shifts in the American caste structure became intolerable.

In search for some medically induced consolation, their families were at higher risk of requesting and being given opioids.

These racial disparities in addictions were only accelerated by bias among healthcare providers.

Too many healthcare providers have believed black people can and should tolerate more pain and are therefore prescribed less pain medication; meanwhile, white patients are given preferences and their requests for opioid prescriptions tend to be honored more.

With the shift in the social hierarchy accelerated by bias in healthcare systems, drug overdoses accelerated faster in working class whites than other groups – spiking in October 2017.

The spike in ‘deaths of despair’ among the working class white American demographic has been called out with numerous forewarnings as a ‘public health crisis’ that deserves attention.

When Having 68 Times More Wealth Becomes ‘Disadvantaged’

These are people who are at highest risk of having watched their family members succumb to an acute crisis of opioid addiction.

They were incited – and euphemistic fires were ignited – under the banner to ‘take back’ the country, and make the country ‘great again’, to enjoy the social status (amidst poverty) their fathers and grandfathers enjoyed.

The people who led this historic and deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol building are in effect the living survivors of the opioid crisis, disgruntled by their gradual lack of social status.

These psychological hardships of working class dominant caste Americans present real opportunities for service, talent, and innovation.

These issues highlight opportunities for economically disadvantaged people to constructively and creatively tackle these social problems from within various industries, using skills across numerous occupational groups in-demand today.

BLS Employment Projections – Breakdown

These survivors of the opioid crisis will likely continue to disrupt civil society perhaps for years to come as they make adjustments to their evolving role in the American caste system.

Chaoticians and Cliodynamics: Academic Disciplines to Assess Historical Inequity

Americans are awakenening again to these multi-century structural issues in its hierarchical caste system.

While it wasn’t our fault there’s structural weakness in this old house we’ve inherited, it will certainly be our fault if we don’t work to address the problems before passing it along to the next generation.

Author: pH14 Plan Staff

pH14 Plan is an economic development model for all U.S. households' participation. You can support this research by subscribing for more access, or contact us to make a gift.

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