International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Reality Check
Pitch Forks & Torches, La Spring Chic
Anger is not an argument. -Daniel Webster
is cheap currency these days. Cheaper still then in late 2004 when
it appeared as if all critical decisions at the State Department
were being made by lab chimps and the Pentagon was leaking lysergamides.
Now it's a full-out poll-to-poll pogrom on both the rich and powerful
and the poor and disenfranchised. Bankers to welfare moms, stockbrokers
to inside traders are all on the block.
the last president, this congress and the last one, the Treasury secretary
to the chairman of the Federal Reserve are all suspects. We're pissed;
pissed at ourselves, at capitalism and socialism, at do-nothing politicians
and do-to-much politicians. We want stuff fixed but we don't want to
pay for it, all the while demanding a strange mutation of regulatory
freedom. But most of all we don't know whom to skewer first and why.
This is the American trip. We've been here before in too
many incidents with too many origins to mention. I would say it's
less an American thing than a human trip -- to want everything and for
someone else to make it happen -- but since I'm an American, I will
be glad to represent.
I hear outrages every day from every corner of colleague
to friend to passerby. I hear it on the radio and on TV and read it
in the newspapers and online. Some of it is well founded and should
be expressed, as it was in the 2008 elections. Almost anyone paying
attention understood that the overwhelming reason for Barack Obama's
victory as well as the Republican trouncing on Capitol Hill, although
not the only one, was the tanking economy. Elected officials were hardly
the only guilty parties. Huge lending institutions, Wall St., greedy
insurance firms, disingenuous mortgage companies, pie-eyed consumers
and insatiable borrowers are all to blame for what can now be pretty
accurately described as the deepest economic downturn most of us have
But outrage is a fickle bitch goddess. It's like the morning
dew. It settles on roses as it settles on dog shit. As is our wont here
at the Reality Check News & Information Desk, we concentrate on
the dog shit.
Let's begin with almost all of the punditry outrage, which
is an interesting hodgepodge of the uninformed, the half-baked and the
plain idiotic, ie; former Clinton advisor and present mudslinger, Dick
Morris asserting there is a conspiracy within the present administration
to nationalize the banks by having the toxic-asset plan fail so the
need for the teat of government kindness will be in vogue. Then there
is The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel calling for the disgraced criminal
ex-governor, Eliot Spitzer to take over the Treasury Department. Fuck
it. If we're going in the Ann Coulter bin for crazy grandstanding, why
not pardon Bernie Madoff, yank him out of maximum security and have
him run the U.S. Treasury. In these troubled times, who's made more
money than Madoff?
And really, that's what most of this outrage is about.
Money. And why not? What's more important than currency, property and
assets? Nothing -- not religion, family, love, sex, drugs, mom, apple
pie or goddamned baseball. This is why for six long years I argued against
every goody-two-shoes on both sides of the ideological aisle that wiping
out half the Middle East and sending people to die for oil was far more
a salient purpose than spreading democracy. Democracy? What a sham that
is. You know what fuels democracy? Money. Know why we even live in a
so-called democracy? Money. You know why we won the Cold War over a
decaying concept of 19th century communism? Not moral fortitude or guts
or American know-how, and certainly not any doddering fossil like Ronald
Reagan. It was money. We had it, the Soviet Union didn't. Game. Set.
I get correspondence to this space daily on the usual
falderal that angers people, not the least of which is all the psychopathic
abandon this country has enacted all over the globe for a century. And
not one of these atrocities, mistakes or even triumphs happen without
money -- solvent, liquid, hard capital.
This is why your federal government is taking your tax
dollars, which is the bedrock of this fancy democracy, and throwing
it around like a soused sailor on leave. Without all of this money,
there is no government representing the people, who are then out on
their asses, left to pitch dime store Christianity and social injustice
overboard for a burka and a Qur'an.
Why do you think the president has gone on what can only
be described by the sane among us as a Brangelina-level media junket.
The Tonight Show, 60 Minutes, ESPN, town hall tours, special hit-and-run
prime-time press conferences, a friggin' op-ed in 30 major newspapers
across the globe, Joe Cool has gotten in front of this thing, putting
a likable face to a mass fiduciary tourniquet, something the congress
not only lacks but willfully destroys.
What has Nancy Pelosi done that has not circumvented the
White House at every turn? Churning populace fodder out of daily angst,
like dragging the CEO of A.I.G. into the chamber for a Roger Clemens
time-wasting lynching or heading this unconstitutional wrist-slapping
90% taxation on further corporate bonuses, which literally had the president,
a constitutional lawyer, laughing like a school girl on national television
more than once. Not to mention the shameless fan dance House members
-- led by poster boy for bad loan central, Barney Frank -- unfurled
in the face of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben
Bernanke, the former of whom makes less sense than a shock-treatment
outpatient and the latter of whom continues to illustrate his spectacular
lack of reasoning by telling the American public he wished to sue A.I.G.
for disgraceful bonuses when the company had every right to proffer
Lord knows I do not begrudge outrage. I'd skip like a
giddy schoolgirl if some proactive miscreant were to extricate the CEO
of Cablevision from his post with a butterfly net and a polo mallet,
but where would that get us? It's just not constructive.
Our best bet right now is to bury our remaining funds
in the backyard, barricade the environs, and wait for the carnivorous
fiends who put us here to clear out the mire. They always do, and we
always pay, and there's always another buck down the line.
© James Campion March 29th 2009
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