BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Do you consider yourself a “political” being? Politically speaking, do you have an anger “tipping point”? If so, is that the point at which you take action, or when you just let it slide? Are you–with sincerest apologies to Mr. Faulkner and The Bard–“but another walking shadow, a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. Is yours but a tale told to a mirror, full of harrumphs and a harangue or two, signifying nothing.” Pretty funny stuff, huh? Except I’ve never been more serious. These questions are at the very heart of why the political Right in this country is being allowed to literally choke the life out of the middle and lower classes, and why the Left continues to acquiesce to it.
Here’s what got me going on this. If you’ve read any of my columns, you know that three repugnant factoids always appear in red at the end. I try, on an almost daily basis, to do whatever I can to bring a halt to the growth in the figures associated with the first and second, as well as force a drastic INCREASE in the one associated with the third. I must confess I haven’t accomplished much in that regard, but such failure isn’t ever going to stop me from TRYING. Anyway, with that in mind, it’s the implications of the number “0” still being attached to the last; the consequences that can (or not) attach to the word “trying”; and the correlation between the two that I’d like to talk about today.
On October 26th an article (which I URGE you to read) by Braden Goyette entitled, “Cheat Sheet: What’s Happened to the Big Players in the Financial Crisis” was published on the ProPublica website. Had the same type of follow-up exposé been published in any other civilized country having experienced a similar state of abject government indifference
As to the first, 1) why, when the totality of the government whose responsibility it is to investigate and prosecute such outright financial criminals is totally beholden to and dependent upon those same criminals’ ill-gotten gains to acquire and retain its power, would you ever expect it to expose such criminality and attempt to bring such criminals to justice? And, 2) why in God’s name, when many of those very same financial criminals turn out to be the very people appointed by the executive branch of that very same government to rectify the situation, would you ever expect them to be held responsible for having caused the situation in the first place? The whole of it is nothing short of ludicrous!
As to the second, democracy can’t function in a vacuum. That’s a situation left to autocracies. The mid-stage is a plutocracy which is what we’ve devolved into over the years (come to think of it, maybe we’ve NEVER BEEN a democracy). Be that as it may, in a democracy you don’t get to let things slide. You don’t get to assume that elected officials will do the right thing. You don’t get to be complacent. Those things aren’t part of the Constitutional contract. Let me pose this: When was the last time you “tried” to do something about that with which you politically disagreed? When was the last time you made any effort WHATSOEVER to let ANY elected representative know how you felt on ANY given subject? For that matter, when was the last time you even VOTED? Hell, voter turnout for a national election hasn’t exceeded 57% since 1968! My God, in state and local elections it’s even worse! Talk about ludicrous outcomes! Again I have to ask: What the hell did you expect?
As to the correlation between the two, that should be unambiguously obvious. In a democracy, power ultimately rests in the “will” of the people to make their feelings known at ALL times, not just the second Tuesday in November. It’s what I call the “low cost” of citizenship. All you have to pay to enjoy all of its incalculable rewards and benefits is to acknowledge an absolute and irrevocable obligation to constantly fork over a tiny bit of your time. It is the grandest bargain ever offered! Never before in the history of mankind has so much been given with so little asked for in return.
But what can I do, you ask? Well, for openers, you can stop making the Occupy protesters carry the entire load. You can start by making an effort to do something about those things which you know are obviously inhuman, or unfair or belittling toward the mid-range and lesser among us, or biased in favor of those already blessed. Do you own or have access to a computer and/or telephone (wireless or otherwise)? If so, put your Congressperson, U.S. Senator, and the White House on speed dial, and enter their contact information in your bookmarks and address book. Then email, text and/or tweet them daily. If you can’t find the time to do it every day, you damn sure ought to be able to do so weekly, or God forbid you’re so busy as to have to make it monthly. Come on, admit it, there’s no excuse WHATSOEVER for not communicating your sentiments regularly. NONE. So, get off your sofa and start doing your part. Stop being a burden and start carrying your share of the load. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you become a part, and not just a parody, of the “trying” to bring about change.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.
1,829 = The number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan
18,342 = The number of Americans wounded in Afghanistan
0 = The number of financial industry kingpins indicted for having committed the most massive FRAUD in American history and wrecking the global economy, plunging untold millions into lives of misery and deprivation.