I know there are plenty of things I could talk about right now in TEH NOOZ (including this latest reason to be Really Afraid!) but it's this thing I found on MSN this morning that really had me seeing red:
To drive across this great country, coast to coast, is to engage its beauty, its history and its spectacular depth. Making the trip today, however, forces a traveler to confront something else: the unmistakable frustration that grows with each passing month of anemic recovery from a bad recession. The unemployed are tired of looking for work; the underemployed are tired of being insulted by their bosses; home sellers are exhausted trying to find buyers. Even people who are doing OK feel stuck, wondering when their next city park might close, if their health care co-pay is going up or when might be a better time to open a small business.
We are tired, and we are angry.
But we are Americans, which means we don't give up.
I was privileged during this past three weeks to meet hundreds of msnbc.com and Red Tape readers who overwhelmed me with their stories about fighting cable TV and cell phone fees, fighting school taxes, fighting to keep small towns alive -- and, yes, fighting with burger customers at midnight so their children will have a chance. The common thread is obvious. Sometimes it can get ugly, and it's almost always uncomfortable, but America is a nation of fighters. That spirit is our greatest national resource. That is what will pull us through this dark time.
Oh, FUCKING THANK YOU, Mr. Sugary Platitude. Christ. I haven't seen empty dumbass rhetoric like this since the days of Ronald Reagan.
What this sounds to me is like some smug assclown leaning out over the edge of the ship, watching people flailing in the water below and musing on how noble their struggles are and how they show the eternal nature of humanity to survive and blah blah blah while people DIE. No, don't throw them a goddamn life preserver, you dumbass. That's just nanny state socialism, and if you waste life preservers the guys in First Class might have to *GOD FORBID* pay a few cents more for their return ticket. AND THEN WHERE WOULD WE BE? And meanwhile yahoos are dropping bricks and garbage on the swimmers and chortling with glee. Oh, those lazy drowning people! Why oh why can't they get off their lazy damn asses and take some personal responsibility and climb up out of the water themselves? Oh, hey, I think I can hit the pregnant woman there with this can of navy beans! And on top of everything, folks plot out ways to make money off of having people paddling for their lives, thus helping to ensure they keep paddling.
Goddamnit, yes, people are struggling, yours truly included. The economy is shit after 8 years of tax cuts for the rich, almost a half-dozen useless wars, and mindless obeisance to corporate interests, never mind the idiot race to the bottom we've pursued ever since blathering cretin Reagan and the collective stupidity of Orange County, CA convinced people that freedom isn't free, but bought and paid for by cutting taxes and cutting spending.
The richest, most powerful goddamn nation on the face of God's grey earth. The parks close for the 4th of July. The libraries cut back their hours. Bridges go unrepaired. Bus routes get cut. An already struggling educational system deteriorates further, and kids with college degrees end up delivering pizzas. The military moves into the local minority community as the employer of last resort, sending the kids who couldn't find anything else off on the latest "humanitarian intervention". The biggest local employer lays off 10,000 workers to ship their jobs to Indonesia, and the local legislature offers a tax cut to bring in 150 "replacement" jobs. The second-largest employer goes into bankruptcy, lays off 5,000, and their CEO toddles off with millions of dollars in compensation to become a high-paid Washington lobbyist while the company eludes its debts. Meanwhile you haven't had a raise in four years and bills are piling up and the Republicans made it harder for YOU to declare bankruptcy, in the name of "personal responsibility". Your health insurance deductible is going up again this year, and benefits have to be cut again. The doctor you go to writes you a prescription for a brand name drug because he has samples for it, and then you find out the insurance company that charges you premiums every month refuses to pay for it 'cause it's too expensive. Which is at least better than the guy behind you, who has no insurance and will either have to pay $250 for his meds or go without, period. Can't afford that dentist bill; keep going with that broken tooth, even if chewing is sheer agony. The front tires on your car are both bald and one has a slow leak; nothing to be done but keep pumping it up, as a new tire is too much money right now. A freak tornado tears through a town in a neighboring state and leaves something looking like an "after" picture of Hiroshima, while your power goes off in the middle of summer due to lightning for the third time this week. (But don't mention "global warming", whatever you do.) The water's contaminated with oil, the levees are failing, the downtown's street after street of empty storefronts, the couple next door get foreclosed on. Living paycheck to paycheck, constantly on the edge of disaster; one missed appointment, one medical crisis, one paycheck deposited a day late, one broken-down car,one decision by a bureaucrat at the home office looking to cut labor costs to preserve profits, and we're going headfirst into that water, too, when all we goddamn wanted was some small level of security, some vague assertion that a small mistake or random chance wouldn't leave us fighting for our lives.
Christ, I don't want to be rich. I never wanted to be. What I DON'T want is to have to lurch from crisis to crisis, the abyss waiting below. Is that just too goddamn much to ask?
Lenny Bruce once said that American society cripples you and then arrests you for limping. No, these days we get crippled and then when against all odds we manage to struggle to our feet and creep inch by slow painful inch across the room there's someone there to send an uplifting message about how inspiring our journey was.
Simply not crippling people in the first place? Never occurs to anyone.