What has become of this country when the best that we have to put forth is a George Bush or the likes of a John Kerry? What have we become when we rate our leaders by who can make the most incredible, unsubstantiated claims against their opponents faster than they can be authenticated?
Will history, in a hundred years, be as kind as we have been with our leaders of a hundred years past or will the ball unravel and reveal the contemptible truth. The conspiracy theorists of our time have warned us, but we would believe as we would rather live our lives like a blind man eating an apple ravaged by worms, satisfied with the taste, not seeing the substance?
Could we have admired any man so much, could he have made such a first-look impression that no matter what rides in his wake, we keep our eye on the man? Never mind the trail of rotted garbage left behind, fodder for his followers, so appreciative for the meal. Has no one ever stepped in front of him, face to face, and challenged his motives, questioned his sincerity? We all know that he must be a good man. How else could he have gained such stature; how could his God love him so much?
I suppose, judged on a political curve, he is average, at best, but how can he maintain even that stature without being aware of his subjects' dilemma? Is it because he’s so wealthy, he could never conceive of the lives he lives above? Is this the reason that we’ve gradually come to expect so little from so many? Could all who reach those plateaus have forgotten the life, or never experienced the lives of those not at their heights? Do they not care to look back and remember or do they refuse to learn and relate for fear of being burdened with the responsibility to become just and remedy society's ills?
Maybe this is how we’ve evolved to a world where politicians and CEO's live their lives in un-deniably excessive luxury, while assuming that we all enjoy such trappings — just on a lower scale. What is it called when one CEO's bonus is over fifteen hundred times an average employees yearly income? Would anything change if each of them had to experience a year as an average American, making weekly earnings stretch to pay rent, throwing away such a valuable commodity as equity as they can afford no other choice? Or using a high-interest credit card to make car payments on their precious third owner, barely affordable automobile while praying that those tires hold out for two more paychecks, and that’s only if the check written for groceries yesterday clears the bank, because one more NSF charge will pull them under? Would anything be different?
That is not the exception, that is the rule. Can this be fixed? I believe it can. As quickly as the government loves to give tax cuts to big business and as they say ”small business is the backbone of America, would it not be appropriate to “put their money where their mouth is" and assist so-called lower middle class workers with additional funds or benefits? Big business has had all of the breaks they need, they’ve proven only that they have the happiest and most well-fed CEO’s around. Maybe it's time to force their hand, not with pathetic band-aids such as token minimum wages. This is not an answer, it's an insult.
A rock band once wrote a song called “Eat the Rich." I would prefer it doesn’t come to that, as the fat bastards would probably taste rather gamey, or maybe I’m being too harsh. They might be as succulent as veal if prepared properly. But surely this is the final resort. When the greedy have much more than can be used for anything more than their own personal consumption, it’s time to gut the pig. Capitalism is a wonderful concept as long as it retains its humanity. Without heart it is no more than a board game where one person wins all, and everyone else is left homeless. I would hope that our society is above all of that. Government by the wealthy, for the wealthy, without regard, without compassion, no matter what form of government one calls itself, can only be called a plutocracy. It's time to flush the toilet.
How can a country concerned so much with people being treated unjustly on the other side of the world be so oblivious to her own? How can a government of well-to-do people be so cold as to draw up charts and balances to show how a family of four can live comfortably on twenty thousand dollars a year? I would think that they would be shamed by the insult to their own integrity, hiding behind their little charts and figures of life in the real world where there are dire financial emergencies, automobile breakdowns, illness, no vacations, their only luxury being to break down and buy much needed new clothes, barely living a modest life with the never ending threat of financial disaster. Not the kind of disaster such as a failing stock but the terrifying threat of homelessness. Why would one rather live a life of excessive opulence than to know that, because of their humanity, there are people who have been lifted up to a standard they‘ve never known, people who have worked hard, most likely at least as hard as they themselves, and are finally getting a small taste of what America has promised.
I can’t imagine that anything said here is new to anyone. To the same “old money” pencil pushers who had to walk twenty miles a day, uphill both ways, barefoot, through the freezing snow to get to school, I say an emphatic “Fuck You”! I didn’t buy the story about the fish and the bread or the water to wine, and I’m surely not going to even consider listening to your unmitigated bullshit. And to anyone earning two hundred thousand dollars a year in that “small” business and not paying your lowest paid employee at least a healthy livable wage with benefits, shame!
Lately I’ve even heard many of the Hollywood crowd, some of the more politically active, admit that, as rich people, they think it’s deplorable how they are privy to special tax cuts and benefits. I believe that, as public figures who are aware of these problems, it should fall on their shoulders to make themselves more aware of just how deeply, beyond just tax issues, the problems of finances affect so many of the population. There is no one else who has the publics ear who can rally support to cure this disease of society. This is a cause for a major movement.
There were elections this week and there was a major upset in congress, many Democrats replaced Republicans in the house and the senate. Iraq is the major platform for most of the candidates. Herein lies the problem. There are dozens of issues, not a single candidate has offered any sort of example of their solution for the underpaid middle class. Will bringing the troops home fix our unemployment problem? Oh yeah, we don't have an unemployment problem, unemployment is down. Until you take into consideration those who’ve been on the unemployment roster until it ran out for them, or count all of the troops called to duty leaving a vacancy to fill. Count them and watch the numbers rise. Bring them home and unemployment skyrockets. Or until you count employees who lost a twenty thousand a year job, which is almost as lousy as a salary can get, only to settle for a twelve thousand dollar a year job for lack of anything better. Maybe for that person unemployment is down, but so are his wages. Another problem fixed with a pencil on paper. You can take a pencil to paper and draw me as Elvis but when we meet, the reality would be a disappointment, as is our economy for the real so-called middle class. This is the biggest issue facing our country and is the least addressed.
This country can be what it was always supposed to be with very little effort. If government and big business worked together realizing that their greatest commodity is the American worker and offered tax breaks, rewards, and raises to help them have an opportunity at a decent life. I believe that this country would come alive, as a living, breathing entity. No one could touch us. We could once again be the nation we used to be, united and proud, and our citizens would jump at the chance to serve in the military to combat unjust dictatorships and murderous regimes wherever they may arise.
What I wouldn’t give to see it happen in my lifetime.