Saturday, September 17, 2005

Prophecies and Profit 

I just came across this little tidbit over at the Crack Den, via the Most Eloquent One:

"The desire to bring conservative, free-market ideas to the Gulf Coast is white hot," says Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican who leads the Republican Study Group, an influential caucus of conservative House members. "We want to turn the Gulf Coast into a magnet for free enterprise. The last thing we want is a federal city where New Orleans once was."

Translation: The desire to get in on the federal mother of all pork troughs is filling every Ranger and Pioneer pantsuit with a gigantic hard-on. We’re so happy all the niggers got washed out and won’t be able to protest as we take over their land and homes for pennies on the dollar, and turn around and rent it back to them in the finest tradition of corporate towns and migrant worker shanties everywhere. The last thing we want is a city where constitutional protections, environmental regulations and racial and socioeconomic integration exist. Yeee-haaaaw!

I humbly submit this prediction: NOLA will be rebuilt as a pitiful, soulless reincarnation of it’s former self, replete with shantytown ghettos for the working poor, who will only be allowed to resettle in numbers sufficient to service the influx of second-home owners and corporate developers who will take over the choice real estate at the expense of the taxpayer. In time, another major city will emerge as the center of Southern Black culture, and no one but unlettered suburbanites and old school segregationists will want to visit the ersatz Creole “culture” that will stand on the grave of old New Orleans.

But what I really wanted to talk about is beyond NOLA. People started watching this disaster long before Boosh did, and there were many predictions after the extent of the damage became clear that this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and people would wake up to the nightmare that is the Assministration. But as the announcements come in relating to the rebuilding, it’s clear that no matter how people feel, the media and our masters don’t really care- the disaster is about financial opportunity for the already rich.

I was dorking around and watching Moscow on the Hudson recently, and while I’m not arguing it’s a totally serious important major film, I was struck by the innocence and happiness the characters, immigrants for the most part, showed for life in this country, even life as a minimum wage worker. I suppose it’s still true today, if you come from a war zone or place of permanent poverty and political oppression, America probably feels really good. But what about those of us raised here? How well will we take the reduction of our constitutional protections and standards of living in the name of making another millionaire a billionaire? Watching the response to the Federal ‘response’ to the NOLA crisis, I admit I’m pretty depressed.

I suppose that people have come to accept that they have to work 10-12hr days, conform politically at work, avoid critical thinking and generally ignore the actual workings of their government to stay happy suburbanites (or whatever). I suppose the material rewards are satisfying to many people who make those choices, or that they’re too tired/glazed over by TV/substance abusing to care. Despite what a lot of good people have done, and a general solid attitude of genuine caring around the blogosphere, as an African-American I have to say I’m underwhelmed by the response to the NOLA victims. I’m certainly pissed off by the coverage, as much as I’ve been able to force myself to sit through, which smacks of racism on the best days and something even worse other times. But the disconnect is what really gets me. A crisis can strike anywhere, and despite the love Boosh has for his donors, I guarantee he cares nothing for even the upper-middle class. Even when they fellate him at Republican rallies or Potemkin photo ops, the contempt he has for the ‘little’ people is glaring and obvious for anyone to behold.

Someone gave me a book called Rich Dad’s Prophecy by one of these get rich retire early advisor/authors. Not really my cup of tea, but he does point out a lot of things that those of us who live in the lefty blogosphere have been talking about for the last five years. While I personally think he’s essentially cashing in on the culture of fear that’s developed over the last five years in this country, I’m somewhat heartened to see that its jacket indicates it’s a bestseller. The rhetoric in it is strong, the writing punchy and dire, and while its historical perspective is laughable and its confidence in “American ingenuity” equally a farce, if nothing else it puts some ideas into the mainstream consciousness that really, really need to be there.

My bottom line is a gloomy one. I don’t believe America will be able to take back the government from the hands of the cronies and anti constitutionalists currently running the show. I think a combination of factors, not limited to but including apathy, ignorance, federal and consumer debt, Peak Oil, environmental change and crisis, declining international support, and religious fanaticism have doomed this nation for at least the next 20 years. And frankly, I think white Boomers will go down selfishly, protecting their own interests while taking away the last regular political options for change from the rest of us as they age and demand more and more from a decreasingly productive national economy. My only question relates to the form this Grand Decline will take: fast or slow, with more or less violence, punctuated by uprisings or accepted with resignation.

If there are any newcomers or moderate readers of this blog, let this post be my warning to you, and for everyone else let it be an electronic kick in the ass that spurs you out of your ‘box’ thinking. Traditional political solutions just won’t cut it anymore. We’ve passed that point, perhaps even well before I started paying attention, and the time for discussion and passive action has passed. Progressives need to rethink the question “what can be done,” just as moderates need to rethink the priorities and positions they’ve held for so long. I’m not saying this because I want everyone to become a radical like me, I’m saying it because I honestly believe what’s coming will force us all to make some hard choices. Quoting from that book I mentioned:

But in just a few years, this very rich country became a poor, debt-ridden bankrupt nation with a weak currency. Money has left and so have the rich. Taxes are high and the currency has collapsed. Corruption is everywhere. If the problems are not solved, real anarchy could erupt.

(p. 113)

He’s speaking about Argentina, but it is possible the same words could be written about the US in a short time. And when the rich are gone, so too goes the capital in ‘capitalism’ that makes traditional political solutions viable.

This is a new millennium, and for the first time, a truly global society. Thanks to Boosh, the rest of the world is currently laughing at us with derision, pointing to us with hatred and/or rubbing their hands with glee at the future lack of dominance we’ll have over emerging markets. There will be no Marshall Plan for us when we fall. There is no Sky Father coming to save us, and the traditional ideas of opposition parties in government have been forgotten by our not-opposing “opposition” leadership.

I’ll post later on my own radical ideas for change, and admit they are unfinished and flawed. But I want people to think about the poor fleeing NOLA, and the lack of aid they have and will continue to (not) receive. Just as Ford once told New York city to “fuck off” in a time of crisis, so too will Bush and whomever comes after him tell states and municipalities as the problems outlined above form a perfect storm of their own. Even if you’re employed, financially solvent, in good standing in your community and materially comfortable, that can change- and quickly. It doesn’t take Mother Nature for this to happen, just the awesome force of your own belief in comforting ideology and false stability. Think about the thin veneer of civilization for a moment, and ask yourself how you would respond to chaos.

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
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