Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Seasons's Greetings

A survey asked me earlier this week if I thought the country was headed in the right direction. I gave the same answer I’ve given the last two years:


This has little to do with the Obama presidency, just as it had little to do with the Bush presidency. (I liked very little about the Bush presidency, but he was a symptom, not the problem.) Congress carries more of the blame than either executive, but they are also symptomatic of the greater failure.

As Pogo once said, we have met the enemy, and he is us.

A day can’t pass in this country without hearing what a God-fearing, compassionate people Americans are, especially this time of year. Champions of the underdog, defender of the less fortunate.


If we’re such champions of the underdog, why are the New York Yankees so popular, even with people who can’t find New York on a map? The One True God is Money, and Its religion is Capitalism. This is where the true believers congregate.

The problem with American Capitalism is you have to pay to play, and not playing is not an option. (With rare exceptions.) You have a choice of doing what you have to do to get to the top of the hierarchy, or you take your chances while those who do want to get to the top use everyone else as chess pieces.

A good friend of mine got the word he’s been laid off. The effective date is December 25, 2009. Merry fucking Christmas.

I’m sure there are sound economic and accounting reasons for this date. Christmas is a Friday, and probably ends the last pay period in the quarter, possibly the fiscal year. Still, Even Scrooge gave Bob Cratchit the day off; he didn’t fire his ass.

It’s not like Verizon is going under, or losing money; they’re just not making it as fast as management told the stockholders they would. Sales are flat—probably because so many people who might use their wireless service are already laid off—so they’re cutting expenses, creating even more unemployment. They knew when they bought Alltel these people were going to be riffed; this happened to be the optimal time to pull the trigger.

Somewhere in the great bureaucracy of Verizon is a single individual who signed off on this. Die, motherfucker; we’ll get over it. Last night I wanted him to suffer first, but, rested and viewing events in the light of a new day, I’m willing to let him stroke out, on one condition. He should remain lucid long enough to recognize himself for the money-worshipping son of a bitch he is, and know he will not be missed.

The problem is, there will be a hundred others climbing over each other to take his place.


Charlieopera said...

My biggest beef with this gov't (both parties, as you know) has to do with the labor setbacks (not just unions) for American workers while we're bailing out corporate America. It is dispicable. I feel for you friend. I'm probably about to join his ranks very shortly (i learned today that we've already begun our own 4th round of firings/1st this christmas yesterday they fired a secy). That will be 2 jobs I lost in one year (I lost my weekend job back in April).

It's time for a 3rd party (no matter which side of the fence you're on) but to assume the lesser of two evils will get anything substantial done for anyone other than those controlling the levers (big money)in anything but incremental time periods that will disqualify anyone over 30 today from ever seeing them is nothing more than foolish.

Capitalism doesn't work anymore (not for the bulk of Americans); it's as simple as that.

Dana King said...

"Capitalism doesn't work anymore (not for the bulk of Americans); it's as simple as that"

Agree completely. What's disconcerting is how many people stick up for letting business and money run them over, even while they're being run over. At some point you'd think a lot of these people would wise up and realize they're being screwed, instead of blaming others who share their situation, such as minorities.

Charlieopera said...

We're a very spoiled society and education has taken a back seat (priority wise) for a long time. Couple that with how hard it is for many to survive today (whether it be working 2-3 jobs or trying to find one) and electronics (the toys that seem to keep us in debt) serve as an opium (rather than religion) for the masses. That's one whacky theory (mine) but you're right, it doesn't make much sense how people under the economic thumb support deregulation, etc. But both major parties today aren't about to touch capitalism. When Obama can be labelled as a socialist, you know something is skewed. The guy couldn't be operating from a more centrist road. Unless there's a major market collapse (which we still could see), I doubt the system will change enough to be noticed before the end of my life. It's gonna be hard to "change" what doesn't want to be changed.

Dana King said...

Capitalism is great for building wealth and inspiring innovation; I don't argue that. The problem is, the people who have the most to lose often have the least control over its effect on them, and they don't get the option not to participate.

Charlieopera said...

You can thank the two party system and the absolute neglect of eduction for that.

It's one area where I think Obama is making a genuine difference (if he sticks to his guns). The innovative school approach seems to be working (charter schools in some states--Harlem in NY). We won't see the fruit of it for many years to come but it will come. While they'll surely be indoctrinated as capitalists upon graduation, hopefully they'll have more consideration for where they came from and be less greedy. That might help. Chances are those schools will be dismantled by lack of funds should Obama not get his 2nd term but he's the only one who can blow that.