November 25th, 2010 09:01 EST
The New Politics: Just Throw Away The Poor and The Middle Class
Politicians don`t come equipped with hearing aids
My best conversations take place in dumps and wi-fi cafÃ©s. I don`t need the hors d`oeuvres of insiders or polling resources to tell me that politicians don`t give damn about what is making Americans so mad.
Democrat or Republican, Tea or Green, they have no intention of listening because their own agendas, half-assed or learned, ring in their ears so loudly. They are their own choirs, and they know the four-beat tunes they want to hear.
The disposable society has begun to dispose of its own, its children, its poor, its middle class, its minorities "all chewed up by a rabid consumerism that has no industrial base, no job diversity, only a rapine lust for short-term profit that looks good on the Dow.
Yes, Wall Street averages are looking good while most of us are losing our homes, our jobs, our futures.
Are the voters mad, lashing out at incumbents simply to vent their rage? Yes and no, I think. Who else did they have on whom to vent this rage? The Democrats just happened to be standing in the way. Two years from now it may be the Republicans and their disposable cohorts, the Tea Partiers.
Nobody is listening because we`re all too busy listening to ourselves.
When I was a kid the dumps didn`t play such a visible role in our lives because we believed in fixing things, not throwing them away. A society that accustoms itself to throwing everything away will throw its people away, too. Not just the homeless, not just illegals and immigrants, not just people who don`t look like your first cousin, but our children, their future, their jobs, their lives.
We have swallowed one lie after another, why not the patently wacko idea that we can cut taxes for the rich and cut the national debt at the same time? Why not the equally nutso idea that if only we can increase housing starts again everything will be all right, because home construction pulled us out of previous recessions?
Maybe it did, but what should have pulled us out, what should define our future, is a diverse economy with many kinds of jobs, with industry, technology, science "an economy that produces as many good ideas as it does McMansions, a society that grows more Apples. The housing industry produced jobs, but it never paid what jobs that come from new ideas and industries can pay, never. And yet we swallowed the damned lie that all we needed to do was build and buy more homes, and nobody asked with what money? Why didn`t the press ask? Remember all those full-page advertisements from lenders and developers? That`s why.
The predatory lenders loved the lie and so did the developers. The banks love lies because they obscure the many ways in which they screw us, war being not the least.
So do we deserve what has happened to us because we believed the lies? Of course not. That`s like saying the rape victim was asking for it. But the madder we get the better the politicians like it because angry people are easy to fool, as the Nazis so easily found out.
Based on my chats in dumps and cafÃ©s, which I`ll pit for accuracy against the polls and pundits, the politicians of the left, right, middle and bottom have no intention of doing anything about what makes us mad in the next two years. The Democrats will keep on lying about caring for the little guy and the Republicans will keep on obstructing, because no is so much easier and cheaper than yes.
But will the minorities, the African-Americans and the Hispanics and others, notice that an entire political party as a matter of policy has made it a priority to ruin a presidency, our first African-American presidency? And here we thought that politics was about making every presidency succeed so that America could succeed. Silly us.
Djelloul Marbrook is a retired newspaperman. His second book of poems, Brushstrokes and Glances, will be published by Deerbrook Editions on December 20, 2010. His first book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. It won the International Book Award in 2010. His novella, Artemisia`s Wolf, will be published by Prakash Books of India in December. His novella, Saraceno, was recently published as an e-book. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com