Look back in anger
By Raymond Freeman 05/15/2014
British theater is important. John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger is important politically. In 1956, the British wondered why they weren’t better-off despite winning the war. Disillusion set in. Osborne’s play introduced “kitchen sink” reality. It started a trend towards gritty, down-to-earth dramas, movies and sitcoms. British politics followed suit.
American politics are delusional, despite Tennessee Williams, the ’60s, riots, Watergate, etc. People still believe in the American Dream. But that’s changing. Time magazine asked, skeptically, on its front cover, “Can You Still Move Up in America?” (Nov. 14, 2011, during Occupy Wall Street). How often was this asked in the last election? Mr. Dream-Killer Himself, Mitt Romney, was met by cheering crowds. These delusional fools thought they’d get richer by voting Republican.
How delusional? An infographic on YouTube has gone viral. It’s entitled “Wealth Inequality In America.” Republicans hate facts. They don’t want you to see it. Go ahead! Sneak a peek! Be bad! It’s at youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM.
It shows a Harvard professor’s findings. You’ll see how the distribution of wealth in America is stupendously tilted toward the ultrarich. It far outstrips anything you’d remotely imagine. There’s been a huge increase in productivity since 1975, but very little of the wealth created has accrued to the average American. Almost all has flowed to the top 1 percent to 2 percent. If you voted Republican, you voted for this rip-off.
The reality is that Republican policies have ripped off Americans since 1975 (Sharper Focus, “Short of Money?”). This accelerated under Ronald Reagan. He assured everyone that his “trickle-down economics” would produce economic growth for everyone. America’s deluded peasants believed that if they gave their brass candlesticks to the aristocracy, they’d get golden ones back.
Small problem. Hasn’t happened. Pigs will fly first.
As a result, inequality has become so extreme it threatens America’s future, per top economist Joseph Stiglitz. Economist Joseph Piketty says inequality will only get worse. Pope Francis absolutely condemns rampant inequality, as per Jesus Christ, no less (e.g., Mark 10: 21-22).
More recent delusions led to war. Conservatives hatched a scheme to grab Middle Eastern oil, namely, the Project for the New American Century. This was the reason for the invasion of Iraq: “We didn’t go there for the figs” (former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel for Nebraska, now secretary of defense). But their plans for Iraq’s oil to flow nicely to American companies didn’t work out. What’s the long-term cost of this madness? Iraq and Afghanistan will add a stunning $6 TRILLION on to national debt (Stiglitz). But wait: Aren’t Republicans supposed to be the ones fighting against national debt going up? Is this delusional, or what?
Another delusion nearly crashed the entire economy. This was the Republican-driven deregulation of Wall Street (Sharper Focus, “Pilgrim’s Way”). Republican Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas said the magic of modern finance would benefit everyone. He was a director of UBS, a major Swiss bank. He loaded the thing up with the very Wall Street “derivatives” he’d himself unleashed. After the Great Crash of Sept. 15, 2008, UBS itself crashed. (Stop laughing!)
Gramm and George Bush Junior didn’t help Romney’s campaign by promoting successful Republican policies. They’ve been conspicuously quiet. Guess why.
Cliven Bundy isn’t conspicuously quiet. This freeloader grazes his cattle on federally owned land in Nevada. Uncle Sam wants only a piffling little rent, one-tenth of the commercial rate, yet he’s not paid for years. He owes a million dollars. No private landlord would tolerate this nonsense.
His wacko “law-abiding citizens” threatened federal agents with loaded guns. That’s a crime. But wait; he wears a cowboy hat and waves the flag. Guess what? He’s a hero! But didn’t the Founding Fathers, no less, put down the Whiskey Rebellion of similar scofflaws? Aren’t Republicans supposed to be tough on “welfare queens” and “tough on crime?” Oops, there I go again.
Delusional Todd Akin said that “victims of legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. In fact, there are 30,000 cases each year. Akin said they should be denied abortions because “the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” Translation: pregnant rape victims are sluts.
Suppose you’re a young woman, stuck in a job with lousy pay, with student loans, and stuck in a Republican state with stupid old men making your personal decisions. What’s a girl to do? Fight back! Watch The Rachel Maddow Show. Get active politically. Join your local Democratic club. And, as the British might say, get off your bum and bloody well vote. Political scientists say that single women now decide elections, if they vote. As Akin found out, you have power, if you look back in anger.
But don’t restart Occupy Wall Street, not even if you’re brave, not even in the land of the free. You’ll get arrested and beaten. Then you’d really look back in anger.