Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lurching Toward Anarchy

Lurching Toward Anarchy

We are the net beneficiaries of use-um or lose-um dining points accrued by a friend, resident in a senior assisted living facility. Sunday’s brunch guests included our hostess, her daughter and son-in-law, another widow, and a widower. This group has dined before and  the only difference this time was that the widower could get more specific ( he has the failed ACA rollout to carp about) in his disdain for all things; liberal, so called progressive, and very specifically President Obama. He uses that wonderful smartest guy in the room tone when after asserting a string of Fox newsisms, he couches his remarks in the umbrella phrase, “but maybe I heard wrong.” People who only have experience with the now Will cannot conceive of the diplomatic Will, who could be and was strategic in his rhetoric, polite in his decorum, and tolerant of divergence in debate. ( I was a member of the Nixon transition team) No more. The evolved Will has no tolerance for racism or classism, or the shredding of the social contract that has the privileged waging war against the poor. The push back started slowly when hearing how most of the new beneficiaries of affordable health care were going to get it for nothing, and those who wanted to keep their existing policies couldn’t and we were going to have to pay for them.  I am not going to argue for this act, I support single payer expansion of Medicare for all, but the insidious classism expressed by the widower crossed the line. No one is going to change any minds in these rooms. That is not the point. The point for me is to stand up to the self interested for whom government is no more than an instrument to secure and further their net worth.  “ What is your alternative? Would you have them die on the street?”  He joins the debate. And now the interesting part, there is the signal from observers to shush. “We have agreed not to talk politics or religion here.” or the attempt to change the subject. 

The widower is smart. He can now chide the son-in-law, accusing him of being a socialist. He gets away with it. There is no self defense. In fact the conversation takes that turn I find so common amongst liberals, academics, and apologists. Where is civility?, they ask. “I can’t speak from the extreme another is heard to say.” They defer to the aged as if they don’t know what they are saying or are entitled to some grace, given they are members of “The Greatest Generation.” The widower actually says that his generation is the one that made America great and the benefits the poor receive are the consequence of his hard work. “What made the country, says I, was earned on the back of slaves, who worked for free.”
That tears it. I look straight at the son-in-law and put it that we have an obligation to stop these race baiters, or red baiters. He can’t, he admits. 

Who gets the bye?  We now have embedded premises that embolden the big lie. “Equal time, fair and balanced, they are entitled to their opinion” and it can become part of the curriculum.  So we give equal weight to flat earthers, climate change deniers, homophobes, misogynists, anti-semites, and racists. I speak directly to the concept of civility and suggest that it is highly abused idea: I have seen blacks exploited and abused by persons who insist, in the most civil terms, to be treated with respect, and the abused should hold their collective tongues. The young are universally repressed from speaking and acting out, all in the name of civility. The authority can utilize the most un-civil means necessary to suppress the populace and the so called informed sit silent, unable to speak to abuses.  The Greatest generation gave us the world wars, and their last vestiges continue to give us perpetual war. The rich get richer and accuse anyone who questions the ways and means of their enrichment of perpetuating class war. All of the above have been adequately spoken to. You have heard all of this before. The issue is the inability of any but the most disenfranchised to yell out.  

“We must find the middle ground. We have lost our ability to compromise”. Nah, you can have that load. It’s about time that the ugliest specters of the human beast are being given voice and the collective inability to do anything about it becomes evident. So the bullies are now filmed in the process. They are called out and nothing changes. The protectors of inequality and exploitation are now running rabid on the land and we can’t chain the beast. Every pro business supreme court decision is greeted with a kind of shock by the offended liberals and yet they genuflect before the token liberals on the court that perpetuate the myth of compromise. Every offensive police brutality that is today’s news becomes tomorrow’s relief that it wasn’t me or mine that was victimized. Or, as the widower so eloquently put it when asked to justify the wage disparity in corporate America, accurately stated the obvious that “as long as the stock price advance no one cares”. 

To this I say, God bless the person in the street. I don’t care if they are a gun toting Tea Party looney, a Muslin Brother, a Pink Lady, a transvestite, A Viet Vet on a bike, or a WTO street punk wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. It really is time to disturb the perpetrators of the status-quo and the uglier and meaner that activity gets the better. I’m dusting off the shit kickers and expect to be in the street somewhere, sometime soon. Enough of listening to the apologists. 

1 comment:

  1. Occupy manifested this dissent to the status quo in so very many ways, and showed the limits of a 'leaderless revolution' that lacked focus. The protests now are far more targeted, and it remains to be seen if they will be effective. The Tea Party was far more organized populism, and what may have started with astroturfing evolved into an authentic fever that is burning the GOP from within, but signs are that it has already become spent and on its way to being re-absorbed by their status quo.

    So Will, join the fight, but please be effective.