Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Great Divide

There is a great divide in the United States between ordinary people and the ruling elite. The public's strong opposition to the "bailout" versus the virtually unanimous backing of it by every major politician from both parties reflects this divide. The public does not want to be lied to, about WMD or 9/11 or the Israel/Palestine conflict or any other pretext for waging war. The politicians all lie to the public about these things. The public wants more equality, especially with respect to job security and retirement security and health care security. The politicians all pursue corporate-endorsed policies that go in the opposite direction.

Clearly what is needed is for the public--the great majority of ordinary Americans--to overthrow the power of the corporate-elite and the politicians they control: a revolution.

But virtually nobody says so. Instead, people continue to hope that the next president will turn things around. The evidence is overwhelming that the next president willl, like every single one before him, carry out policies determined by the corporate elite in their policy-setting organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Economic Development and the Brookings Institute. All the evidence is that he will fill top government positions with people reflecting the views of these organizations just like the people who filled them before. Yet despite this evidence, people believe there is no alternative but to hope for the best.

Why is this the only alternative? It only seems so if one dismisses the possibility of revolution. But why do people dismiss this possibility?

The main reason is that Americans are told, over and over again, that large numbers of other ordinary Americans are bad in some way, and that if the public were truly in power (instead of just allowed to vote for a politician beholden to the corporate elite) then it would only be worse. This takes many forms. "Blacks are criminals." "Illegal aliens are freeloaders." "Middle class people are yuppie snobs." "Whites are racist." "Poor whites are stupid 'rednecks'." "People who don't go to church have no morals." "People who go to church are homophobic." A former acquaintance of mine wrote a short poem that captures this: "I hate my fellow countrymen. It shows, you know, I'm one of them."
These "Other-Americans-are-bad" themes come and go in terms of emphasis. New ones replace old ones that have worn thin. Because such divisive notions prevail, people cannot take seriously the idea of revolution. Lesser-evil politics replace revolutionary aspirations. What people really want is out of the question. What the corporate elite will permit is all that can be considered. Be thankful if the president has dark skin and a way with words; try to ignore what he actually does.

Lately, the issue of same-sex marriage has been used by the corporate-controlled media to persuade younger people with more college education and more income that huge numbers of Americans different from them are "homophobic" bigots on a par with the racist segregationists who attacked the Civil Rights movement in the 60s. That is why I post on this issue. And that is why I wrote "What Is a Liberal to Do"


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