Editorials | Opinions
|The Angry Left Needs Hugs and Kisses|
Jules Siegel - t r u t h o u t
go to original
July 30, 2010
The angry left is angry with Barack Obama. It's lying on the floor kicking and screaming and holding its breath. Goodness is not being accomplished. Injustice continues sort of unabated. Bad people are doing bad things. This is obviously all the president's fault. I wish. The angry left presumes that the president is in full control of the government, when he's obviously not. Even George W. Bush learned that and he was a Republican.
|(Lance Page/t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Tony Eccles, david_cory)|
Obama won the election. Lincoln won the Civil War. But the South won the peace because the North was unable to consolidate its victory. Reconstruction was a failure. Yes, slavery was gone, but the rest of the Jim Crow way of life remained, and in some ways got worse. The red states are an almost perfect match for the slave states and territories. The government and media are infested with unreconstructed rebels who faithfully represent the interests of their corporate masters. The rats haven't abandoned ship. To the contrary they are mutating so desperately they will soon have fangs like tigers.
All government serves the interests of the owning class to the detriment of the people. Revolutions occasionally occur and just plain folks soon become the new weaponized ruling class. All governments use repression, torture, injustice as a means of maintaining power. A reporter asked former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari why he made a certain annoying policy decision. "Because you govern by governing," he answered.
The United States has gone off the deep end and created a state of permanent war in order to increase the wealth of the ruling class. It isn't something that can be corrected easily.
Imagine that you are a businessman instead of a social activist. You discover that key employees have abused your trust and run the ship on the rocks behind your back, ruined your credit, stolen your trade secrets, changed the locks and passwords. They are so deeply embedded in your infrastructure that some of your own board is in on the scam, and others are so deluded that they think you're a bit daft. The stockholders are being enriched through some kind of Ponzi scheme, so they don't want to know what's going on as long as those dividends keep on trucking.
Now, let us suppose that your employees are armed and dangerous and have a lot more firepower than you do. Do your criminal employees simply hand over the new passwords on being notified that the jig's up? What if the only way you can get them out is with flamethrowers, thereby destroying whatever's left?
The United States is a plutocracy. This is frankly acknowledged by the business sector, as in the Citibank report on plutonomy.
In "The Rich and the Super-Rich," (New York: Lyle Stuart, 1968), Ferdinand Lundberg argued very convincingly that that one-half of one percent of the United States population then owned or controlled 95 percent of its assets. Since then, things have gotten much worse. The more charitable - but grotesquely skewed - benchmarks conceal the real ratio by omitting control of capital and only considering income (totally fake figures from known tax evaders) and directly owned assets. The United States government is their administrative agency. The president is CEO. Although he has a big role in shaping the agenda, he ultimately carries out the orders of this inner ring of power. How could it be any other way?
Now this plutocracy selects a new business manager to replace a total frat boy goon ball with the reverse Midas touch. The new business manager attempts to steer the brand away from a generalized economic and social Kristallnacht. He does not immediately reform the security sector because they have guns (read that in the broadest sense of weapons while repeating after me "JFK, RFK, MLK") and they do not especially want to be reformed by outsiders, thank you. Despite this, he does make significant progress in other areas.
"This is harder than it looks," Van Jones (who resigned from the White House after being linked with 9/11 doubts) told Netroots Nation.
"President Obama volunteered to be the captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg," Jones reminded his progressive audience. He might have also pointed out that the Titanic sank because the owners changed the safety specifications of the steel and rivets in order to make the ship go faster. That's exactly what's going on now.
Whether you are passenger or crew, you better hope it gets fixed, because they also reduced the recommended number of lifeboats (chilling fact, but true in both the Titanic and the ship of state). Democrats want to lay on more lifeboats by stripping some of the materials from the lounges. Republicans are blocking that because they think that the worse it gets, the better for them. What?
I'm not disappointed in President Obama in terms of what he's accomplished, but in his utter lack of political good sense in allowing Rahm Emanuel to purge Howard Dean and then to insult the liberals who worked so hard and contributed so much money to assure the 2008 victory.
Although I'm known as a writer, most of my income comes from graphic design, giving me the freedom to write whatever I please instead of whatever some publisher pleases. I once had a client in a corner. I set a price that made the color drain from his face. I was the only one who could deliver the job. He said, "Jeez, if you're going to fuck me, could you at least give me a kiss first." I said, "The kiss is that I am not going to double it because you are being insolent. Just make out the check." And I laughed. And he laughed, too. He also increased his fortune considerably as a result of my work, so I'm sure he laughed all the way to the bank, too.
President Obama needs to hand out some real kisses between now and November. Addressing the Netroots Nation is not enough. He won't get rid of Emanuel (who is surely too useful in crucial ways), but he can rehabilitate Dean and use his executive powers to make highly visible moves that will re-energize the liberals. I do not recommend total fasting while praying for that. Let's just hope he orders Timothy Geithner to endorse Consumer Protection Agency nominee Elizabeth Warren enthusiastically with a big smile and a hug so hearty it will make his special other jealous. The president can then do whatever is necessary to make sure she's immediately dispatching highly visible orders smiting those who would do evil to consumers. If a recess appointment enrages the angry right, so much the better. They aren't going to vote for Democrats, are they?
I'm not angry, so I won't need any kisses from the president, which will surely be in very short supply. But I've always been a sucker for blonds, so if Warren is going to be handing out any kisses, you can be sure that I will be first in line.
Jules Siegel is a writer and graphic designer whose work has appeared over the years in Playboy, Best American Short Stories, Library of America's "Writing Los Angeles," and many other publications. He administers newsroom-l, an email discussion list for journalists. You can learn more about him at http://www.cafecancun.com/bookarts/jsiegel.shtml