On September 11, 2001, I was on my way to Misquamicut Beach in Westerly Rhode Island. I had come home the day before for a Monday night target pistol competition, and was headed back to join my wife and some family at a house we had rented for the week. First, ESPN radio host Mike Greenberg mentions that a “small aircraft” may have hit the WTC… I was in the bank parking lot in East Hartford, CT. When I came out I was in for the most surreal hour of driving, listening to the drama unfold on the car radio. My concept of the future quickly shrunk to getting to my wife’s side, and then… the abyss. It took a long time before I was willing to look past those events and consider any kind of future, for myself or America.
From that morning onward I have watched the United States of America undergo a transformation that I scarcely believed possible. A world superpower enacting draconian social control measures and surveillance against its own citizens, and descending into a rhetorical hell where fear rules and reason has no quarter. The Bush-era, I believe, will stand throughout time, as one of the darkest periods in modern history. The shockwave of September 11. 2001 has been used to rationalize economic rape of the highest order, illegal wars, war crimes, political assassinations, and an endless torrent of social ills that defies direct assessment. We have allowed the United States financial industry to liberate Trillions of dollars from the economy at large, concentrating it in the hands of the few. In a recent chapter they were actually rewarded with the full faith of the US Treasury for their crimes, and allowed to keep the money that was “lost”. The “wars” of Iraq and Afghanistan have served as conduits for wealth extraction of historic proportions. You can debate whether you have a “war” if there was never a declaration of war. But you would have a hard time arguing about the scale of the transfer of American Taxpayer Wealth out of the control of the United States and into the hands of pretty much everyone else. All the while the Trillions, of dollars of US taxpayer money that should be used to rebuild infrastructure here in the US, invest in R&D here in the US, rebuild our Space Program (fer crissakes), educate citizens of all ages here in the US, provide health care for those taxpayers here in the US, and advance the domestic interests of all Americans… is being thrown around foreign countries like Monopoly money, to provide for others what we as a Nation can not (more specifically: will not) now provide for ourselves.
For a brief period of time it looked like the stampede of idiocy that followed September 11, 2001 might abate. The election of 2008 seemed to have repudiated the Bush Doctrine, under which “his base” turned out to be the social rapists extracting wealth from the US Economy and returning nothing. A Black American with an Ivy League education won the election for President of the United States of America, against massive social odds. He campaigned on, of all things, HOPE. CHANGE. Greatness of America… A Nation that could once again set an example to the world regarding freedom.
Barack Obama had a chance to change the game. Now he is just a player, and maybe worse, the football. He has been a huge disappointment to the people who let down their guard for a moment and believed that there was a way toward real change as a Nation. There was a brief twinkling of belief that the country that knuckled under with the Patriot Act, and made a conscious decision to be Much Less Free as a response to external terrorism, might be able to regain its course. They let themselves believe in HOPE, and they got swindled. We now have a government that would make Orwell blush, led by a master of pure concession and rationalized failure.
Instead of bringing that same full faith of the US Treasury to bear on the current economic crisis, as was done for the ultra-wealthy in the financial crash of 2007, we have a string of half measures and economizing rhetoric. The current economic crisis is far larger, affects far more Americans, and reaches further into the future and across the globe than the crisis addressed with the TARP program. But that program, and its siblings, was there to keep the ultra-wealthy afloat, and keeping them whole, despite the fact that they brought the crisis upon themselves through their own greed and avarice. Were the communities, who lost Billions of dollars when their investments tanked, made whole? Uh, no. Were the individuals whose retirement accounts, you know… the ones that some politicians would like to use to replace Social Security… were they made whole when they lost their nest eggs? Uh, ditto… NO. It would be irrational, if not insane, to ignore the role of the recipient in these examples of US Economic Policy… If you are anywhere below the economic top 1% of the American public, you are fucked. Your money is being moved into the hands of a very select few, and well, deal with it. Some will deal better than others.
The one fact that I believe outlines the real crisis here in the Unites States, is that while real income has plummeted, unemployment has increased, home prices fall, and masses of college graduates enter the workforce behind the curve and may never catch up… Corporate profit taking remains at pre-9/11 levels. The richest have not slowed in their extraction of wealth from the economy. Everyone else, well, their “wealth extraction: has taken a bit of a hit. The other 99% of Americans, you know, ALL OF AMERICA, are being asked to accept a prolonged economic downturn, and prepare themselves for less return on their tax dollar with every election cycle. Oh, no real end in sight, sorry… and you might want to take up speaking Mandarin as your next hobby.
Until that inequity is brought into balance, and the American system is allowed to work for the majority of Americans, the game is fully and truly lost for virtually all of the citizens of the United States of America.
Have A Nice Day!