Sunday, April 24, 2005

We the peons - making sense of it all

Sometimes while reading the newspaper, the mind boggles in puzzlement, wondering why everything seems to be spinning out of control, why our economy is in such a terrible state when it was just fine ten years ago, why every little thing we’ve counted upon for decades seems to be getting ripped away, why even our best laid plans for financial security have gone so badly awry, why so many people are suffering job and income loss, why we seem to be going backward economically at such a fast clip that we’re all terrified of what tomorrow holds.

But, it’s really all very simple. Nearly every action taken by the Bush Administration since Bush’s first installation is premised upon a single philosophical principle, very clearly elucidated by Grover Norquist:

“I don’t want to abolish government, I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

This is the overarching philosophy that drives the right-wing agenda: get rid of government, except what government can be twisted to enforce the extreme right’s narrow-minded version of morality.

The key to understanding all of the economic actions of the Bush regime is to follow the money. Their goal is to enrich the favored few at the top in any way possible, AND to participate in such profligacy that any and all programs that ensure the security of the rest of us must be destroyed, even those programs that we have paid into for decades, ourselves!

The Republicans and especially their extremists always charge that the “liberals” are trying to start a class war, while in fact, the Republicans have for years been in the trenches and in the bombers fighting a class war that is without precedent. Impoverishment, of both individuals and of this very country is not a collateral effect of their policies, but is the intent of their policies. It is the only way that they can succeed in the complete dismantlement of everything this country has long stood for -

“[to] establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare...”

What kind of “domestic tranquility” can there be if people cannot afford to buy food and shelter? What does “promote the general welfare” mean if it doesn’t apply to the prevention of death and disability and suffering from disease? What is “just” about stealing the economic survival from people who have paid for decades into a system that, once they want to collect, tells them “tough luck” - so what if you’ve paid for the retirements of others; we can’t afford to keep our promises to you for your retirement (and no, you can’t have a refund)?

How can Bush justify the destruction of Social Security, the impoverishment of millions of Americans, the continued denial of healthcare to the vulnerable, the war of attrition against America’s road and rail infrastructure, and on and on, while with the other hand, trillions of dollars are tossed to those few who are lucky enough to be born to great wealth? Well, not only does Bush intend to destroy the lives of we-the-peons, but he also wants us to hate everything that “government” stands for - he especially wants us to hate loyal government employees (“do-nothing bureaucrats”) and any agency that aims to improve our lives, whether through cleaner air, cleaner food, public education, or any of scores of other obvious benefits, as intruders into our personal freedom and autonomy.

Bush does seem well on his way to succeeding. Perhaps never before in the history of this country was there a more enterprisingly destructive regime than what we are now living through. America will be a very different place when Bush finally leaves office than when he arrived, with most of the change entirely due to his own actions, and it is difficult to see how much worse he could have made things. We do still have a couple of years to go, though, so that possibility does loom prominently, like a monster storm cloud on the horizon. God help us all.

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