a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Or Maybe They're Just Idiots.

Last night, I talked about the lunatic right wing fringe as held captive by the same plutocratic hegemony that has all of us in its grip.  Sure, they call Obama a Nazi instead of turning their rage on Goldman Sachs, but we are united in our fury toward the establishment.

I may be on the opposite side of the political spectrum from someone who says that government should keep its hands off Social Security, but I don't hate the vibe.

In fact, I feel about Joe Wilson the same way I feel about Mark Sanford.  Except for the part where these guys legislate one way and then live another, I couldn't possibly care less about who an elected official sleeps with.  I'd love to extend a metphorical hand across the aisle in a post-partisan way to say "okay, everyone sleeps with whomever they want - it's no longer a thing.  Break."  If Joe Wilson calling the President a liar during a speech to Congress means that now that type of thing is in play, I'm down.  I'd much, much, much prefer a political culture where the President (and all elected officials) were less untouchable glass figurines and more civil servants, just well compensated, highly publicized DMV clerks.  If we can give them the whatfor now - that's terrific - and I'll expect similar rabble rousing from a lefty Congressman the next time it's appropriate.  This is a good result. 

I'm still not down with taking the guns to speeches though. 

So, I'm feeling good about the crazies.  Maybe I'm adopting that 9-12 sensibility that Simple Jack talks about (which part of 9-12 was devoted to hating the victims' families - that's something Simple Jack has subsequently said he does). 

It's a brand new day!  I may go to a John Birch Society cross burning, er, meeting, later on.

But then I read this.

It's worse than that.

That's a New Jersey poll.  Those numbers are all voters.  So, a fifth of the voters in Jersey aren't sure if Obama's the Anti-Christ. 

When you ask Republicans, it's 1/3. 

And when you ask Hispanics, it's almost half.  Almost half of the Hispanics in New Jersey think the President of the United States may be the anti-Christ.

That means that almost half of the Hispanics in New Jersey actually believe the anti-Christ may exist, which is troubling enough. 

18,000 real Americans die every year because of a lack of health insurance.

That's a 9/11 every two months. 

But we're worried about ghost stories and fairy tales. 

The Devil's imaginary.  He won't get you any faster than the Easter Bunny will bring you a chocolate egg. 

What's gonna get you is not having health care.

(edit - on the other hand, which makes three hands, I believe, and creates an even more pressing need for health care, I thought Edgar Renteria was going to come through for me last night.  He did not.  They break my heart every year.  Where's the public option on my baseball team never having won a World Series?)

Stockholm Syndrome

One of the 18,000 Americans who will die this year because of a lack of health insurance, the only industrialized country in the world where this happens, is the real life Norma Rae.



There's reason to be angry about things that happen in the United States.  Reason to march on Washington, reason to call the President of the United States a liar; reason for rage.

Like the 19 million in fines the five largest California insurance companies have had to pay out in the past 18 months.

Or that domestic violence is a pre-existing condition.

And that executives of bailed out companies are taking home millions.:

"From 2006 through 2008, the top five executives at the 20 banks that have accepted the most federal bailout dollars since the meltdown averaged $32 million each in personal compensation" -Institute for Policy Studies

I don't care where the President was born.  I don't care what he thinks of Kanye or what Kanye thinks of Taylor Swift.  I do care that we're in another Gilded Age.  Economic inequality is greater in the United States than any other industrialized nation.  Americans are literally facing real life death panels today in the form of insurance claims departments.  We stand, almost all of us, at the mercy of the crappy corporations we work for; as long as our health care is completely tied to them we are beholden - unable to step out of line, to complain about workplace conditions, to attempt to unionize, as our workplaces slash our pay and vacations, increase our hours, bully, browbeat, threaten, and intimidate us at every turn.  How easy it is to snuff us out, foreclose our homes, split our families.  The dropout rate in poor school districts runs as high as 50% ensuring a permanent supply of troops to serve as chum satisfying our permanent demand of war. 

And yet people march on Washington to carry the water for power.  Any attempt to point out that we have become a plutocracy is met with fury.  Nazis.  Socialists.  Terrorists. 

That's all that's left.  Goldman Sachs takes home nearly 2 billion in profit in a quarter but somehow ordinary Americans actually believe Obama is tearing apart the fabric of capitalism. 

It's the ultimate case of Stockholm Syndrome.  Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Simple Jack worm the plutocrats propaganda right into the brains of the oppressed.  Instead of recognizing on whom the rage should be directed - it's funneled, as it's always been in American history, toward other marginalized groups.

Field slaves were taught to resent the house slaves.  Poor white colonists, barely ekeing out livings were taught to despite the Native Americans, fighting over the same scraps as were they.  "I ain't got no quarrel with the Viet Cong", Muhammad Ali insightfully said when refusing his induction into another American War against poor people of color in a far off place, "no Viet Cong ever called me nigger." 

Go kill middle eastern shepherds while Goldman Sachs makes 2 billion dollars.  Go kill Vietnamese.  Or Koreans.  They're the enemy.  Look over there.  Go kill Germans, they sunk the Lusitania.  Go kill the Spanish, they sunk the Maine.  Go kill Mexicans, they crossed the wrong parallel. 

Hate gays.  God says so.  Or Hispanics.  Learn the language or get out of the country.  Or blacks.  Simple Jack said Obama "hates white people."  Rush Limbaugh said today "In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering."

Go hate anyone you want.  Just let the money keep rolling in. 

While the body count keep rising.