by Philip Greenspan
(Swans - May 22, 2006) Since Roosevelt's New Deal was enacted back in the 1930s, the elite masters of the U.S. have been dreaming of burying it. Over the years their subservient government lackeys have been slowly chipping away at one or another of those dreadful laws. The Bush administration has miraculously fulfilled most of those long-standing dreams.
During Dubya's first year in office his ratings fell rapidly until the 9/11 disaster. The trauma of that event suspended the public's ability to think -- did it ever have an ability to think? By relying on, and emulating the media's admiration for his post-9/11 leadership, his ratings quickly shot into the stratosphere. 9/11 was a godsend for him. Well why not. God, his mentor, put him in office, and properly rescued his protégé.
With the passage of time, the ineptness and corruption of the administration and the negative effects of its policies has turned the public against Bush and his gang. With his ratings dropping into the low 30s and lower, why are the shrewd hardheaded elite people still backing him? Has their gratitude overridden intelligence? Absolutely not. Elite loyalty will never overrule self-interest.
The governmental arrangement that worked so beautifully since 9/11 remains intact. Party leaders and their obedient followers -- the hacks who fill the government's executive, legislative, and judicial positions -- in both the Democratic and Republican parties, are unaffected by public opinion. They have been amply rewarded and know there is more in the offing. They will not desert their elite masters.
Over the next few months a charade known as an election will attract the attention of the public. The speeches and promises from all sides will lull the public into a belief that relief is possible. The media will magnify the illusion and imply that change is impending. But don't you believe it. Whatever the results, it will make no difference.
The candidates will perform their roles for the aroused public; promising whatever they feel is necessary to gain advantage over the opposition, knowing they may have to repudiate the promises if elected. Republicans, by rhetorically breaking away from Bush, will fool the booboisie into thinking that they are aware of their constituents' demands and will act accordingly. Democrats will commiserate with the suffering and trusting souls whose votes they seek, never admitting that by supporting the Bush policies, they are equally responsible for the current mess.
Wouldn't promising to institute impeachment proceedings against Bush be an opportune tactic? How does the out party react to that idea? On NBC's "Meet the Press," the authoritative voice of the minority leader of the house, Nancy Pelosi, stated that, "Democrats are not about impeachment. Democrats are about bringing the country together." Such an admission with an election in the offing shows that the Dems are locked into the elite's clutches. Even if they win big, taking over both houses, the elite agenda will prevail.
A Democratic win will prolong the agony of the public who will wait helplessly but hopefully until they realize that no effective action will ensue. An even longer delay will occur if the impeachment process is instituted. Before it completely unfolds, through the House and a subsequent trial in the Senate, it will almost be time for a new presidential election. And if the Shrub gets bounced, who takes over? Why the sharpshooter himself, VP Ricardo Cheney!
Major changes never came about through the electoral process. Only potent public protests sufficient to overpower the influence of special interests pressured governments to respond favorably.
On rare occasions, very rare occasions, when the anger of the public was aroused to rebellious intensity were a slew of progressive improvements rammed through the Congress. In the last century, that occurred twice: in the 1930s and the '60s. The first produced economic changes; the second, social changes.
The 1930s ushered in the New Deal. It placed restrictions on the securities and banking industries and instituted deposit insurance (SEC, Glass-Steagall Banking Act, and FDIC); recognized unions (Wagner Act & NLRB); enacted wage and hour legislation for labor (Fair Labor Standards Act), and agricultural legislation for farmers (AAA); established retirement, disability and unemployment benefits (Social Security); created government work programs for the unemployed (WPA, PWA, CCC), provided income for the poor ("relief" now referred to as "welfare").
The 1960s destroyed Jim Crow; ended an unpopular war; launched women's liberation; acknowledged gay rights, and created the environmental movement.
One of those rare, large, and mighty popular fronts would be most welcome right now. Unfortunately they cannot be slapped together as needed. No leader organizes them; no sizable organized constituency initiates them. They erupt unexpectedly, often triggered spontaneously in various locales by some unusual incidents. In the 1930s a trigger was a bank panic and failure in the Bronx, New York. In the 1960s, it was a black woman's refusal to give up her seat to a standing white man in Alabama.
A recent example was the overwhelming response by immigrants and supporters to a hastily announced protest of pending legislation. The turnout and impact of this ad hoc leaderless protest exceeded what established bosses and organizations of the antiwar movement with ample lead time and publicity have been able to accomplish.
Although no one can predict when an unusual major protest will erupt, I believe that there is a good chance one will happen before the next presidential election.
Every year the number of billionaires increases. Forbes now lists 371 Americans who possess that mind-boggling description of wealth. If the "trickle down" theory that the government, the media, and the think tanks have been espousing for years is veritable, then things should be looking up for the other 99.9999+ percent of the population. Unfortunately it's not.
The income and wealth gaps between the richest and the rest keep widening. The plight of many desperate groups, whose ranks keep swelling, is dire. Their problems are compounded by a heartless government that unbelievably implements policies that punish the unfortunate souls.
Examples: The meager benefits of the poor have been substantially reduced, pushing more and more people into poverty. Veterans' benefits have been cut and disabilities are not recognized by the VA. The uninsured are unable to afford proper and timely medical care. Jobs of the recently unemployed have been exported and their prospects for comparable employment are non-existent. The bankrupt's financial obligations to creditors have priority over the needs of their families. The existence of the homeless is an embarrassment so they are shunned and covered up.
This massive store of angry tinder is ready to ignite. Many potential triggers may provide the spark: an attack against US forces in Iraq or Afghanistan that produces heavy casualties; increases in gas prices and/or an inflation, that are unacceptable to a majority of the public; another successful terrorist attack in the U.S.; or some innocuous event that suddenly captures the mood of the public.
Tighten your seat belts and hold on to your hats! The denouement for the Bush Follies will soon be unfolding. It promises to be unusual, unpredictable, full of sound and fury, with high points and low points. It will swirl your emotions from laughter to rage, but whether you like it or not it's definitely guaranteed to keep you spellbound!
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