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This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow: January 16, 2005 - January 22, 2005 Archives
The link is to a screencap of CNN. The headline there reads: Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider.
Funny? Yeah. But it also gives me a chance to talk about a subject that been bouncing around in my head for a while.
Why is Bush such a divisive figure? I goes beyond the war in Iraq and the misguided GWOT (Global War on Terrorism as its being called). It even goes beyond Bush himself. I see Bush as a useful stooge more than anything. I hardly see him as a ringleader of any sort of movement. He was selected because of his name recognition and his willingness to play along with powerful people.
Bush is a symptom of something much larger. Many of us that were hoping for a Kerry victory were not so much rooting for Kerry himself (a passable politician in a real historical tradition) but hoping that enough people had caught on to the ploy being perpetrated against us to turn that tide.
Ploy you ask?
Well yeah.. in a smug way that's how I would put it. I suppose I could be more diplomatic and say it is a political "tactic" but I'm not a big believer in using words that mean one thing when I intend to say something else. I'm not "polite" as they might say...
There is a social crisis in America. We are going through another major transition in our way of life. We cannot deny that we now live in a global world that is becoming more and more interconnected. Our biggest corporations here in the States have decided that they no longer feel any local obligations. They see greener grass in other countries where they can get cheaper labor or lower tax rates. As such, the nature of the America Dream has changed yet again.
Sadly, those still coping with our transition from rural/ agrarian to urban/industrialized are falling even further out of step. And I'm not making a judgement there either, I'm not saying one is better than the other but I am saying that many traditional ways of living are going away.
Looking at some trends, you see things like; the consolidation of farming into more large scale corporate (factory) farming; a continuing migration of people into more urban areas and the decline of small rural towns that are based on agricultural lifestyles; the further ascendancy of corporations as the dominant influence on cultural life; increasing contact and immigration from other countries; and a major change to the nature of employment from lifelong jobs with retirement and benefits to more transitory and insecure.
These questions and more are the real debate that we should be having. How are we going to go forward into a new world that is coming no matter what, and how can we make sure that the transition doesn't cause so much pain that it might cause a collapse of civilization?
How can pockets of prosperity survive in a world where geography is becoming less and less important?
Oddly enough, these issues didn't disappear on September 11th.
I'm upset because instead of addressing these issues and trying to find ways of dealing with what is coming in the future, some people see this as an opportunity to exploit the real concerns and pain that people are feeling for their own short term political gain.
Its cynical, its deliberate and its very effective. Instead of talking about real economic concerns we'll get people all fired up about religion, gays, abortion, guns and immigrants. While I respect people's strong opinions on these subjects and I love to debate them as much as the next guy, at the end of the day these are not the real agenda items that will get play.
Don't you ever stop to wonder where these talking heads get their money to operate? Who is funding all these think tanks? Who is pouring tons of money into political campaigns? Who is spending all this lobbying money?
I can assure you that they are not doing it to stop gays or to put God back into the schools. They do it for one reason, economic self interest. They want their policies enacted that will further enrich themselves. But to do so they need popular support to back their candidates, so its worth investing in a little cultural warfare for the sake of long term financial rewards.
I suppose I get tired of being scapegoated for all the world's problems when I'm struggling too.
Some of you miss the irony of my blog's title. I am not waging some class war, I am pointing out that we are already losing the class war, it is being waged against us every day. When I turn on right wing talk like Rush or Hannity or O'Reilly all I hear is smoke that tries to gloss over the obvious fact that we are getting fucked as the working class. Bush is the ultimate class warrior. He pays lip service to the social wedge issues but when you look at the policies that get first priority they ARE ALL geared towards promoting the interests of the moneyed class in America.
When you went to the polls to vote your disgust at gay people and tree hugging liberals were you thinking "Yeah, but first we need to secure our oil interests, loosen regulations for polluting industries and siphon off huge sums of money from Social Security into the stock market."
Umm... I'm going to guess "no".
I'm constantly amazed at how successful the right has been in weaving the language of class warfare into the language of religion, but in a totally unexpected way.
I've lived with the Bible most of my life, I've read through the New Testament more times that I care to admit and I NEVER remember Jesus talking about helping the rich consolidate their power over the poor. Quite the contrary really.
My Bible must have been old, they must have updated it since then.
I don't hate Bush the person. Sure he's a smirking little man that's clueless when it comes to the working class and what it means to work for a living, but he's just a tool. The agenda is being set by those who paid his way to the top of the political mountain.
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