fooling some of the people
The Grand Old Party Animal
In my neighborhood rats are quite timid and though definitely there, are seldom seen. In my wanderings I’ve noticed that when these creatures become bold as squirrels and many in number, while the cats are correspondingly few. It is time to take prudent measures.
In my wanderings I’ve also noticed certain elite urban country clubs. Though all are exclusive, in a way of speaking, they are of varied affluence. They occur in many neighborhoods in the cities and plains of our great world and are named according to local vernacular (i.e.: gentleman’s societies, Daughters of the Confederacy, associations for the advancement of white people, Chambers of Commerce, nationalism, plutocracy, fascism, etc.).
Some have evolved out of elite but “moderate” organs, exploiting whatever respectability the former organization once held but instituting a more rigorous mission statement. Republican national headquarters and local affiliates are a prime examples of the latter group. Some might argue that the respectability associated with this party is quite meager, citing as they might, an earlier acronym used in one of their campaigns – CREEP, the Committee to Reelect the President, but I believe most sober observers would admit to at least a noticeable tightening of the mission statement since those heady days.
The mafia is to the 1% as the Republicans are to the Democrats. That is not exactly the same, but similar.
A high government official for example, would sadly accept a medical professional’s good faith failure to save a loved one whereas the gangster don might use violence and threats, his primary vocational tools, to promote successful treatment and death to punish failure.
In matters of domination and control, it is perfectly accurate to compare, say a small business in the neighborhood failing to pay “protection” money to the mob and a small country in the 1%’s government’s self-declared “back yard” that attempts an alternative path to “market forces.” This comparison may not be apparent to the general population because the government’s employer, the 1% who exercise disproportionate influence through their ownership of the mainstream media, financing of political campaigns, presence on the boards of our institutions and, of course, corporations.
This control allows propagation of fairy tale narratives regarding the beneficent nature and superiority of the “homeland,” especially its foreign policy. The zealotry of the faction among the 1% which advocates more or less total domination has gradually come to the fore – beginning most enthusiastically with Ronald Reagan’s presidency, a hired gun if there ever was one.
Reagan seems quaintly moderate by comparison to what has evolved since. This faction would mark Reagan’s ascendancy as the point where recovery began from the limitations imposed by the New Deal. The 1% hated Roosevelt and New Deal programs in his time. Their descendants inherited a determination to roll them back.
The Democratic party has responded to these forces generally by becoming “new Democrats,” for example, President Bill Clinton.
The “moderate” element in the GOP worried that the zealots were going too far, but were mostly pushed aside. Not that they objected on principle to the wealthy having it all. No, their objection was pragmatic. They argued that a buffer was needed between the rulers and the rabble – a nice affluent middle class, the ones who vote and maintain a respectable illusion of democracy. They feared that if things were to get bad enough, the voters would start listening to the socialists. The zealots were having none of it. The appeal of the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is one of the consequences.
Stagnant wages, insecurity, unemployment are all conditions the 1% seem intent on normalizing for U.S. workers. A parallel condition ensues when, as Bernie Sanders points out, bankers swindle millions of people out of their pensions and savings and are, at worst, fined while someone who doesn’t wear a three-piece suit spends serious time in prison for smoking marijuana.
The national security state breaks numerous laws spying on citizens, and the Department of Justice viciously goes after the whistle blower, Edward Snowden in this example. While the NSA lawbreakers continue business as usual with promises to be nice. The perpetrators of an illegal, brutal and incredibly expensive invasion lie to Congress and to justify it, kill hundreds of thousands of civilians resulting in chaos in the Middle East.
Their punishment? They are honored with high honorarium speaking engagements and consulted by the 1%-owned media for their “expertise.” Meanwhile a courageous Chelsea Manning exposes some of their murderous behavior and is rewarded with a brutal arrest and impossibly long prison term. Again, the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is one of the consequences of this hypocrisy. Was it Lincoln (or Dylan?) who said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
- The illustration in this story is by the author, Tom Ferguson.