Saturday, April 16, 2011

Since You Were Away

Yesterday the House of the United States Congress passed the so-called Ryan Budget Bill, which among other things destroys Medicare for persons now under 55 years old.  For any readers under 55 at the moment, I can report that damn if you don't get to be 60 a hell of a lot faster than a span of 5 years would suggest at earlier moments in your life.  In other words, this Bill, passed by one half of Congress, i.e., one half of our Legislative Branch of Government, has major effects in store for you--effects that you will not really understand for a tiny few years, but effects that will probably hugely affect your life.

Of course various liberal pundits believe that this "plays into the Democratic Party's hands."  Could be.  But the Democratic Party passed a terrific health care reform two years ago, and what they got was a non-stop propaganda campaign complete with people in the street, and the Democratic Party was unable to respond to this in any meaningful way, and the result was the election of enough--here I have to pause to figure out what to call these people--lets just say of them, to get this Ryan bill voted in.

So in 2012 the stakes are certainly higher.  Maybe this truly amazing, remarkable vote will be the thing that wakes people up.  Polls clearly indicate that the American People do not want to end Medicare.  But then the soldiers in the Tea Party literally said things like "keep your government out of my Medicare."  We'll just see, as we do in general.  One never knows, do one.  Fats was absolute right on with that comment.

I just want to note that these folks, representatives of the know-nothing America who indeed are voting for their constituents, have it half way to law.  This is, in a historical sense, breathtaking.  If these people actually do gain power next year, it will be the full force of harsh reality that will eventually break their grip on the wheel--a harsh reality that will do enormous damage to all of us "ordinary" folks who are just attempting to live our lives with some semblance of integrity and quality.

It might be a lucky thing if these people actually do mess with the debt ceiling next month.  That will bring a taste of harsh reality to bear before it gets down to electing a President, and possibly that awful lesson will do the trick when a vote such as yesterday's can and will be forgotten and ignored within a week.  America is buried in illusion.  The Japanese nuclear problem is almost forgotten even as it gets worse.  We have become "atomized," all of us absorbed in trivia and in just the ole day to day.  It happened quite a while back, about the time they created an all-volunteer military and then privatized big parts of that.

This week on Turner they played "Since You Went Away" one afternoon as I arrived home from work.  There's a scene in a train or bus station, about half way through the movie, where someone at a table in the background says "I'd pay 100% in taxes."  We've just seen an elderly lady tell Ms Colbert that her daughter is in the service, and last she heard was at Corigador.  That would be understood by all.  And of course even in 1942 there was no doubt a certain number of people who thought Roosevelt was a socialist, that we should stay neutral even after Pearl Harbor, that Pearl Harbor was itself a setup job, etc. etc. etc.  There is never ever 100 percent agreement.  But.  That little toss away line was something that had a context then, and it would mean something very different today.  That context is a sense of "common good," or "community."

The Republicans these days--them--play to a different set of values, to a world where every person had better grab what's his and kick the closest clutching hand to the gutter.  As someone wrote this week on a blog, if a Randite goes on a movie date, that pretty hand reaching into the popcorn will be met with "hey, looter, get your own."  In a democracy, we even get to vote on this.  But sometimes such a vote does not get a repeat.  Instead, history just moves on, to some place considerably different.  One never knows, do one.  Since you were away one House of Congress repealed Medicare.

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