Go ahead, be a fool, tell yourself that you are still part of that once proud American “middle-class,” then dare look in the mirror and see yourself as nothing but a zombie. Or, rather, the new identifiable species in the US: the Amerizombie, a reanimated economic corpse, undead but politically clueless to the new global realities.
Still managing to put food on the table, living on borrowed money and tiredly keeping both your mind and your mouth shut as you face America’s sad sack economic reality? Well, if so… you are doing it at your peril; living your economic agony in denial, begging for that last pain-killing shot of economic morphine before you expire.
Unfortunately, we, the poor in America – including those soon-to-be poor – will depart this world leaving behind those we have procreated; a generation, perhaps two, of future slaves we have incestuously sold to the ruling class. Yet, stupidly, call ourselves part of that subjugated and submissive 99 percent “majority,” making claims, directing blame solely against “that evil” 1 percent in our population!
But such portrayal of socio-economic America is way off the mark. We might prefer the safety and camaraderie of a common enemy very small in number, that ubiquitous 1 percent, instead of confronting the sad reality of an existing economic “class struggle.” For the time being, however, we can only label ourselves the poor 80 percent, the other 19 percent remaining in the population being the true middle class, US’ bourgeoisie of early 21st century: civil servants at all three levels (municipal, state and federal), the military, teachers, lower-income professionals, and a few other groups which remain economically unscathed after a three-decade sacking by the ruling class. Sacking which took place at the same time as America’s working class was thrown to the croc-infested waters to be devoured by the aquatic tetrapod of unplanned globalization.
Yep, the ugly reality we prefer to disregard, not face at all: the Squires (19 percent) serving the Knights (1 percent) by either choice or default… dressed in the same duds as the poor to remain inconspicuous in the safety of a mythical 99-percent economically homogenous crowd. A class struggle most often hidden because of family ties, where economic help is often provided by those with means to those in need; but a struggle which is increasingly being identified as a generational class struggle… the under-35 population receiving the greatest share of casualties drowning in poverty, unemployed or underemployed, in both cases decapitating man’s only inherent value: its dignity.
For over three decades we have seen America’s predatory capitalism sanguinely taking much of the middle class to the economic guillotine, clearing any labor costs obstruction to maximize profit via globalization; after all, isn’t that what our beloved capitalism is all about: maximization of profits? Our elected politicians, regardless of which of the twin parties they belonged to, became our Executioner-Congress… the president of this US becoming the Executioner-in-Chief. Our list of EIC’s since Carter left the White House is all-inclusive: Reagan, the two-Bushes, now Obama… not to forget Bill Clinton, America’s answer in economic crimes to the greatest serial killer of all time, Vasili Blokhin, Soviet Supreme Executioner of the Stalinist NKVD – Blokhin using a 7.65 mm Walther PPK pistol while his American homologue, William Jefferson Clinton, preferred to stay blood-spray free by using a simple stroke of a pen.
Globalization, however, is not the sole reason for the chaotic economy, or the latent class struggle likely to erupt at any time without warning from economic seismicity or social deformation. The culprit in front of us, one we refuse to acknowledge and deal with, is the existing inequality in both income and wealth in America… far greater than that of any other advanced economy. While we have acknowledged and measured the inequity in pay between genders (women, in general, being paid approximately 70 percent of that paid to men for the same/comparable job), we have failed to do similar comparisons in overall compensation (to include benefits) for jobs in the public sector versus the those in the private sector… comparisons which yield differences not of 30 percent, but of 100 to 200 percent, at times more. Not just an invitation, but a sure way to bring in class struggle.
Meantime we’ll just continue our rants… against the Fed, Obama, anyone or anything we happen to dislike, even if relatively inconsequential to the true socio-economic health of our society. Walt Kelly (via his Pogo character) had figured our base societal instincts half a century ago: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
On that concluding sentence I gave this column’s text to my dear friend to edit-suggest, as I usually do… and within five minutes, and an inquisitive smile on her face, she threw this comment back at me: “And you probably feel that we, Amerizombies, are truly getting our just deserts!” To which I say… Amen.
©2013 Ben Tanosborn
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