The drum being beaten by the 206's right is that November 7 is all about the life or death of downtown Seattle. What this means is: If you vote for Bob Kettle, Joy Hollingsworth, and Tanya Woo, the stars of Seattle's common sense, you will play a direct role in rehabilitating the crown of the town. As the argument goes, our city's core has been sullied by low police morale (blame BLM for this) and the scourge of homeless camps (blame the progressive left for this, as they do not appreciate the effectiveness of tough love). Junkies and tweakers, who do their bad business brazenly, run wild. They were allowed to ruin downtown because of Kshama Sawant. So, good riddance to her and her socialism.
From KIRO's interview with Downtown Seattle Association's president and CEO Jon Scholes (their idea of a "man on the street"):
'I think there’s a lot at stake in this election, and it’s an election about whether we accelerate that progress or we turned backwards,' Scholes said on The Gee and Ursula Show this week. 'I think voters clearly want to see a downtown that’s healthy and revitalized. They get the connection between that and a healthy neighborhood they may live in and a healthy city overall. So, I encourage voters to carefully review and mark their ballots and vote.'
Let's unpack this.
Turning backward, for one, means turning back to progressive politics. This signals one thing: Turning against politics that recognizes the equality of the poor and extremely poor citizens as more than merely formal. Looking forward means throwing the directing light only on those who already have power, those who own downtown Seattle. But how is such a position even politically feasible? One must keep in mind that the super-rich are driving the whole world into the ground. The scale of their wealth is required to grow, but growth at such a scale, even at something as small as 2%, has huge consequences for the economic and physical environment. It places downward pressure on all markets, which are then forced to make investments in projects or ventures that can produce the highest and fastest returns. Affordable housing does not fit this bill at all, and nor does anything related to public transportation. But luxury apartments and gigantic pickup trucks do.
It's important to note that high rent is never addressed by Seattle's right. But it only takes a moment's thought to see the complete absurdity of this deliberate omission. For example, the space Cafe Racer (RIP) once occupied on Capitol Hill is now asking for, according to Craigslist, $14,000 a month.
That's astonishing. How does a small business make money or even pay adequate wages in such an environment? But nowhere is this kind of exploitation of small business owners mentioned in the present election. It's as if over-inflated rent can only be the natural price for doing business but not a consequence of maintaining, even at low percentages, the growth of excessively concentrated wealth. This growth puts downward pressure not only on the books of small businesses but also on their wages. The impact is citywide.
And there is more. The general public is required to identify with the prosperity of investments that, in the final analysis (sorry to use that worn Marxist expression) benefit only a few people. How is this possible? Because of what is not said about this forced identification. All who work do so to obtain not just the means of subsistence but also personal dignity, which is "socially necessary." This is called "socially necessary labor." What separates you from the claim of dignity, a very powerful (if not the ultimate human feeling), is a paycheck. Yes, without a wage (even a high one) you could go hungry or roofless right quick; but we are deeply social animals, and so the loss of dignity, a loss of recognition (being social visibility, rather than invisibility), is the real catastrophe.
When the rich want us to identify with them, it is always with (or the appearance of) this power in their hands—the power over our dignity. And know right from the get-go that if their money-dreaming scheme doesn't work, if we give them all they want (all the cops, all the sweeps and arrests, all the council members) and downtown doesn't revive (which is likely to happen, because the rich have very little imagination), it will still mean nothing to them. They get that dirt off their shoulders and move on. Your dignity never meant squat to them. Think about that when you vote on November 7.