Rant. Muse. Eat. Sleep. Recycle.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Hypocrisy comes in many flavors but generally only one color - green. I don't mean to discount the blacks and whites and browns of racism, but America's love affair with money is a remarkable engine for hypocrisy.
I'm not sure if I was reading George Will or Ann Coulter or some other far, far right-winger, but a light popped on in my head. Conservative rich people and their not-so-rich followers hate socialism: they despise socialist medicine, socialist economics, socialist societies. Still, most all of them profit from some of the biggest socialist set-ups in America.
Case in point, Will's beloved major league baseball, or the very popular NBA basketball league, are set up as socialist structures. Workers -- the athletes -- would actually be able to make more than the astronomical sums they already make in a pure capitalist setting. But, the structure is socialized for the good of the owners. Players can't jump willy-nilly from team to team chasing dollars, even though it might seem that way when reported in the mainstream press.
Look at the facts: athletes can't charge what the market will bear; they have to share revenues with the owners. Those who are new to the league are not allowed to make more than a minimum salary (for the good of the league). Athletes are contractually tied to communal organizations called teams and taught the value of the commune (team) over individual achievements. Those who rail hardest against the commune receive reputations as troublemakers, or spoiled or worse. Every major sports league has rules that inhibit purely capitalist behavior, which they say are methods to increase competitive parity between teams.
Trotsky would see the irony in this situation. American socialism does exist, but instead of a pro-proletariat spin; it has a pro-mogul spin. Capitalist rules are shaped into socialism for the robber barons. Corporate welfare is a socialism that few seem concerned about. And, if society is viewed only through the lens of the very wealthy, other trends for super-socialism (what I term collaborative economic acts made for the good of a select few) are apparent: e.g. bailing out Northwest Airlines to the tune of about a billion dollars, only to watch the company rip off the state's taxpayers; federal support of credit unions that stiffed their members; firing air traffic controllers to grant breaks to the airline industry, throwing out the old bankruptcy laws to make it harder for working class people to escape crushing debt... and on and on.
The government has created a community of the wealthy and subsidizes their lifestyles.
Yet, when African Americans -- who are overrepresented in the lower income brackets -- are reviled for not partaking fully in the American Dream, part of "their problem" is being too communal; too clannish. Ann Coulter wondered aloud why African Americans feel they have to identify with certain criminal elements of the community.
Speaking on behalf of African Americans everywhere; here, abroad and on the ships at sea, we deal with issues that go beyond money (as crazy as that may seem) and we're pretty smart. We're not voting primarily Democratic because we have a knee-jerk love for the party; it's more that we are voting in our self-interest. At the core of modern Republicanism is racism. I have yet to hear a viable explanation for all the code words such as 'state's rights' 'quotas' or 'reverse discrimination' that don't make me want to wag my finger and say 'liar, liar.'
We are a collective-oriented people and we aren't liable to succumb to the type of successful campaign that made "liberal" a bad word. The reason Republicans are having a hard time recruiting us is because by definition they don't want us. We're not stupid. Like every other human on the planet, from Park Avenue to a hut on the Sahara, we recognize that tone of voice that is, on the surface, inviting us to a party, but really begging us not to come.
'No, thanks. I appreciate the offer, but I've got to wash my yak tonight.'
Yes, we are a communal people. And, so are all the rich socialists; why is it a crime for us? I don't see Tom DeLay saying that all of his rich friends need to be held to the same standard as the poorest among us. He's already chuckling about his hardball exploits in a Texas courtroom; we wouldn't want the poor guy to explode into laughter in front of his hand-picked judge.
link | posted by Jae at 7:58 AM |
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