Thursday, May 14, 2015

Many Americas

Where to start, where to start?

During the Baltimore riots. In the aftermath of the Baltimore police murder. Following the confrontation in urban Maryland. In the turmoil surrounding the clash in Baltimore. The events in Ferguson, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Baltimore, Detroit, Lexington etc. prompted -

A 2013 Guardian article by David Simon of "The Wire" fame resurfaced. Mr. Simon is from Baltimore. The meme from the article: "There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show."

The idea, of course, is black and white America or perhaps rich versus poor America or both. Then, while Baltimore burned, Mr. Simon blogged what was meant to be an impassioned plea for rioters to "Go Home." Unfortunately, like Wolf Blitzer, it appears Mr Simon doesn't get it; middle-aged white guys seldom do.

A few days later, also in The Guardian, a response appeared: Go Home David Simon, Without Justice in Baltimore, There Can Be No Peace. I recommend all three articles as fine exemplars of what I can only describe as dualistic thinking about race, justice and ecumenic inequality in America.

Barack Obama is famously misquoted as saying: "There aren't red States and blue States but the United States." Again, playing on the subconscious duality metaphor that permeates the human psyche.

'Two Americas' is way too simplistic. There are multiple economic classes in this country. All but one or two getting historically screwed by the present system of injustice for all.

First Class: Number one with a bullet are the Uber-Rich, the Oligarchs, the 1%. To be fair the lower end of the 1%, those who might actually have jobs, well it doesn't matter, they're all dead meat when the revolution comes. Eat the Rich!

Second Class: Doing fine with jobs paying stupid amounts of money for 'skills' that mostly are involved with creating wealth. About an equal split here between productive capitalists and Wall Street leeches. 

Third Class: Still holding on to their middle-class homes, lives, schools and families. But looking down to see where others have gone and running a bit scared that there for the grace of tax loopholes, so go they.

Fourth Class: Formerly members of the middle-class. Got their butts handed to them in the '08 economic debacle, did not get bailed out. Sinking fast but still not ready to overthrow their tormentors.

Fifth Class: Never made it to the top or the middle but definitely taking a major hit despite not having much to take away. Surviving on all those "socialist" programs the republicans keep cutting.

Sixth Class: The new poor. Never got foreclosed out of their homes, because they were always renters. Did lose jobs, never got them back, since those jobs were moved to India, Mexico and Thailand.

The Poor: always been, always will be and slipping further down the survival ladder every day.

The Really Poor: These are the citizens Simon was talking about, those living in such entrenched poverty there really is no way out. No bootstraps down here, hell no boots either.

America today is a society based on class, not opportunity, not democracy or even meritocracy. Class in America is about money. How much you got. How much you can keep. How little of it you pay in taxes. And how much of it you need to spend to keep your privleged position safe by paying protection money to the politicians.

Dear Liberal Friends: Save your ragged words about cynicism and hope for the future. You can't cash those in and that's what counts in Amerika today.

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