Friday, March 3, 2017

Mr. Trump Sees Enemies Everywhere—So We Do As Well

The recipe for the toxic soup our current president is ladling out is three parts fear to one part frustration—and America has much about which to be frustrated.

While no one was looking, we decided to give up being an industrial society and try on the flashy wardrobe of consumerism. Of course that means we don’t make all that much of what we consume and so factory jobs at good wages have now become mostly service jobs with no contract, health care, retirement or vacation benefits. The enemy here is hard to name, but it’s likely listed on the stock exchange.

And then there’s the fact that the national credit card is way over-limit and whoever ran up all those charges wants the least able of our citizens to pay the bill. There are lots of names for this—austerity, quantitative easing, welfare restructuring—but they all have one thing in common, those who have grown fat want those who are the most lean to pick up the tab. It’s a swamp all right, but there doesn’t seem to be much drainage.

Of course there are things that need doing out there in America the Beautiful and Mr. Trump was going to do them, sure as hell, but it seems Congress is unwilling to extend to us the kind of debt they smilingly incurred for wars and threats of wars and the military buildup we needed in case more wars or increased threats of wars might occur that we hadn’t yet considered. That was what I call a ‘breath and a half’ sentence, but the truth is the most powerful military in the world (by a factor of six) hasn’t won a war since WWII. The enemy in this case isn’t so much terrorists as it is Eisenhower’s warning of a ‘military-industrial complex.’ Yeah well, it’s complex all right.

Isn’t it strange how we gave up our industrial production of useful goods like toasters and bridges, televisions, computers and schools without a whimper, only to promote weaponry? Somehow, products that made people happy and prosperous became less fashionable than products that made them homeless and dead. Washington insists there’s no money to take care of an America that’s falling apart because we need that money to destroy foreign lands and foreign lives.

And we’re okay with that.

At least it seems we are, while the corporations that run the country and the elected officials (who do whatever those corporations tell them) have us at each other’s throats. When you steal an entire country out from under its citizens’ feet, you need a distraction, something to keep them busy while the cards are being dealt elsewhere. Yelling at each other is distracting.

The problem is that liberals and conservatives want the same things for America and as long as they can keep us angry and apart, we won’t notice that. Decent pay for work—we both want that. Enough economic sense not to throw away 52% of our entire annual budget on expensive military shit that hasn’t won us a war in decades, while our bridges fall down and sewers back up here at home. Agreed—we can agree on that.

Lying. That’s a buzz-word these days and after all the insane arguments over what is news and what is false news, the far-right and far-left can agree that we’ve both been led along by the noses for decades. You see, it’s all mostly theater and theater depends upon making what you watch actually seem like it’s real, even though you paid for a seat and know this fiction you’re watching is not truth. Doesn’t matter—we all laugh when we’re supposed to and wipe our eyes at the appropriate moment, then toddle off home content for the moment.

So I like Bernie and you like Donald—or vice versa—but we both like a nation with an open heart, a sense of dignity and a time when we were not set against each other like roosters in a cock-fight, while the fucking corporations and politicians run off with our futures. You see they don’t care which party we belong to—they own us both.

Let me ask you this. Have you personally done better in your life under either a Democrat or Republican administration? Have you not taken an equal screwing under both parties? Unless you are among the hallowed one-percent, has your family and work life not gotten demonstrably worse every decade since Reagan? Yet decade after decade we put up with this shit and blame someone else. We know who the enemy is.

We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.

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