I often poke fun at Hubby for his closely held — and I’ll admit, often well thought out — populist and sometimes leftist points of view. After looking at his driver’s license picture, I took to calling him Lenin’s love child. He used to call me his little Archie Bunker, for my slightly socially conservative (although non-judgmental, honest!) points of view. It’s a game. A courtship dance. We’re both Democrats. Anyway, after repeatedly witnessing the way that conservative Republicans indulge in low-down, dirty, despicable and racially pandering tactics to capture and consolidate power, after enduring a blundering, secretive, vindictive, and nearly totalitarian government for eight years and watching John McCain dismiss my man as ‘that one’, I could not imagine allowing an unswerving Republican to wed and bed me.
This brings me to a post on the political blog ‘Counterpunch’, by Chris Floyd. Normally I wouldn’t be caught dead lurking in a liberal hangout like this, but I must admit that this essay aptly exposes the hypocrisy and folly of free-market capitalism. I mean unrestrained, greed-driven, plunder the under classes and give to the elite type of capitalism. The class structure that keeps middle- and lower-class citizens in their place by doping us up with the fantasy that we all have the potential to be millionaires has always existed in our country. Why else would former presidents seek to counteract the march toward a rigid class structure and consolidation of wealth among the elite with social platforms like The New Deal and The Great Society?
Anyway, my favorite part of Mr. Floyd’s essay is his damning list of ways in which the governments of the world and the U.S., could have used their enormous monetary resources to make life optimally livable for all of us. It reads like an indictment of the failings of England’s King George III in the Declaration of Independence. (Minus the reference to ‘merciless Indian savages’, of course.)
Let’s say it again: The money was there all along.
Money to build and generously equip thousands and thousands of new schools, with well-paid, exquisitely trained teachers, small teacher-pupil ratios, a full range of enriching and inspiring programs.
Money to revitalize the nation’s crumbling inner cities, making them safe and vibrant places for businesses and families and communities to grow.
Money to provide decent, affordable and accessible health care to every citizen, to provide dignity and comfort to the elderly, and protection and humane treatment for the mentally ill.
Money to provide affordable higher education to everyone who wanted it and could qualify for it. Money to help establish and sustain local businesses and family farms, centered in and on the local community, driven by the needs and knowledge of the people in the area, and not by the dictates of distant corporations.
Money to strengthen crumbling infrastructure, to repair bridges, shore up levies, maintain roads and electric grids and sewage systems.
Money for affordable, workable public transport systems, for the pursuit of alternative sources of energy, for sustainable, sensible development, for environmental restoration.
Money to support free inquiry in science, technology, health and other areas — research unfettered from the war machine and the drive for corporate profit, and instead devoted to the betterment of human life.
Money to support culture, learning, continuing education, libraries, theater, music and the endless manifestations of the human quest to gain more meaning, more understanding, more enlightenment, a deeper, spiritually richer life.
The money for all of this — and much, much more — was there, all along. When they said we couldn’t have these things, they were lying — or else allowing themselves to be profitably duped by the high priests of the market cult. When they wanted a trillion dollars — or three trillion dollars — to wage a war of aggression in Iraq, they found it. Now, when they want trillions of dollars to save the speculators, fraudsters and profiteers of greed in the global market, they suddenly have it.
The part that burns me up the most is that the U.S. refuses to finance higher education for all who deserve it, yet it turns around and gives massive subsidies to corporations that ‘outsource’ blue- and white-collar jobs overseas — and they have the nerve to cite well-educated populations abroad as more incentive to entrust them with jobs that belong here. Oh yeah!? And where do you think half those foreigners were educated — in U.S. universities!!! Ugh. Let me leave the ranting and raving to people who do it with eloquence and composure. At present, I’m getting ready to spoil a little biracial baby rotten!
My point is that minor realizations like this are what happens when a white liberal who has lived in Wisconsin, Italy and New York and who fled the American South marries a black female urban creature who was influenced by a conservative and religious immigrant family. We influence each other in major and minor ways, hopefully promoting a society that tempers extremist passions and thinks rationally. And let me say that we should never underestimate the influence of conservative Republicans on immigrants, who often flee shaky and corrupt governments and come to the U.S. wary of heavy-handed government oversight of their pursuit of monetary happiness. Don’t let the heavy representation of immigrants in urban centers fool you: once those ‘huddled masses’ become affluent enough and move to gated communities or leafy suburbs, you’ll find that human nature takes over. Some sell out. They begin to vote Republican, even if it means voting against the best interests of the society that was liberal and generous enough to allow them to pursue their dreams.
Anyway, hats off to people to people who see the world like Hubby, and even Floyd. They’re not all a bunch of angst-addled commie reds, after all.