As corporations sit on trillions of dollars and the wealth gap continues to widen, the vast majority continue to sink deeper into poverty. America can sanctimoniously claim the number one spot yet again, this time with having the highest percentage of children living in poverty amongst all industrialized nations.
This is a guest post by commenter ‘the Heretick’…
You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.
You’re a Grand Old Flag
by George M. Cohan
Life in these United States is rough, especially for the working poor. This is a subject that just doesn’t get enough attention. Yes, lot’s of ink is spilled over the truly poor, those who qualify for SNAP (food stamps), rental assistance, utility assistance, and the various other govt. programs, but not for those who slave away year after year, just making enough to keep their heads above water, but never enough to get ahead.
Just consider, as I’m sure you have, the physical and psychological stressors borne by the great unwashed (speaking metaphorically), and the range of mixed messages we must process just to keep our heads on straight.
Let’s start with something basic, sex, always a good start, something we can all relate to because as they say, if someone wasn’t monkeying around, none of us would be here. Being a straight male, I can only write from my own perspective, but the reader is free (of course) to relate my thoughts to whatever fits their own circumstances the best. Look at what is paraded in front of the average red-blooded American man: cleavage, T and A, Giselle, Heidi, The World’s Next Top Model, and let’s not forget Ms. Upton; what a masterstroke of marketing genius! Take plain old Kate. Why she’s just an ordinary girl, the girl next door. Meanwhile back on Planet Earth, how is the average male to look at the old warhorse over on the Barcalounger who has thickened up through the process of having his kids?
As Joni Mitchell so eloquently states:
“Doctors’ pills give you brand new ills
And the bills bury you like an avalanche
And lawyers haven’t been this popular
Since Robespierre slaughtered half of France!
And Indian chiefs with their old beliefs know
The balance is undone crazy ions
You can feel it out in traffic
Everyone hates everyone!
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills
Yup, stuck between a rock and, well, never mind.
Speaking of traffic, we’ve seen them on teevee. It’s the slim young hipsters in their smart cars with their cell phones, bright young faces going places, the packaged and commodified non-conformists creating their calling plan so nobody is late for the show, where no doubt they will strum their guitars and beat their drums (Made in China), and lament the death of the Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey reference not intended.
C’mon, admit it, it’s creepy. You see them on the street, texting, talking, in their spandex on the treadmill (why don’t they hook those things up to a generator? people would pay).
The perfect people, the enlightened. I’m sure they don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes. These people are scary, all in their own orbit, and if they know that they are being controlled, they seem to like it.
And the cars! Why they talk to you! And Sly? He drives a Ferrari, of course. My truck doesn’t talk to me, just bings when I leave the turn signal on or don’t fasten the seat belt, because God knows I would be such a loss or, even worse, a burden, but we’ll get back to that. In any case, it probably would be best to get a great big neon sign to strap to the tailgate that flashed “LOSER” once every 3 seconds. I think the denizens of the ghetto have got it right. Know what they say? “S’up, Dog?” –a statement of fact. You’re a dog, I’m a dog, everywhere a dog, dog. You could even become a bounty hunter, get a TV show, put the other dogs in the kennel.
Yes, all these poor people, such a burden on society, eating our food, sucking up our resources, just too many of them; and if they are lucky enough to have a job? Why they should just be grateful. That’s right, Bob, grateful. It’s not like the Boss Man is making any money off them. Just a big bunch of ungrateful losers, a great big fat burden for the rest of us, we who are smarter, harder workers and who play by the rules, unlike them.
My very favorite is the Sunday shows where carefully coiffed and groomed experts give serious statements about current events through their lying horse teeth, perfect pearly white teeth and big mouths being so much more telegenic, don’t you know. Then after you are informed that your common sense opinions on matters of life and death are so very mistaken, you are treated to 5 minutes of adverts for your retirement plan, and how you had better get on the stick boy. Time flies and you better get on the horn and call up T. Rowe Price and make some sound investments with all that extra cash you have lying around. What? What’s that you say? You don’t have a retirement plan? Loser.
You’ll probably become a burden to your children because that is what’s important, the children, isn’t it? Why, you probably shouldn’t have had any, overpopulating the planet as your kind do. Don’t you care about Mother Earth? Probably not, don’t even care about your very own Mother, such a Loser.
But here’s the beauty of it. The battering, the depression, lack of response, that good old deer in the headlights look, it’s for free. Many people don’t realize, but Howie says it best:
“… It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. …
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.”
Howard W. Campbell Jr.
Why are Americans never going to revolt? Why will they never effect any meaningful political change? Because they are too busy beating themselves up, beating themselves black and blue; if they aren’t beating themselves up, they’re beating someone else up, on the street, in a foreign country, and of course, there’s no place like home.
The web makes it easy to look up the statistics, crime, poverty, drug usage. There are more people in the US on legal drugs than illegal I would hazard to conjecture, but one thing is for sure, We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1!
Yes, the Good Old USA, the country that gave you road rage, drive by shootings, drone wars, and KFC, it’s Finger Lickin’ Good!
I think we should change the colors on the US flag, and it’s not just because we borrowed the colours from the bloody English (oh, excuse me, the “UK”) or the French , who we all know are Communists. It’s because our flag no longer represents the true state of America, if indeed it ever represented anything at all. Maybe we should just be honest about it and adopt the Silver and Black, Thunder and Lightning, Shock and Awe. Hell, let’s just go all the way, admit we are the Black Hole of the Universe, Raider Nation, Buccaneers, Pirates.
No? Too many contractual commitments? Copyright problems?
Ok, then how about Black and Blue? Such is the state of most of America, figuratively speaking, or is that literally? So confusing. If the injuries are not readily apparent, we can fix that. Just go down to City Hall and try to claim it as yours. Black and Blue doesn’t just tell the whole story though does it? We need something to add a shade of definition; how about something the color of blood? And the contrast of white thrown in for the countless bones crushed beneath the tank tread of Empire.
So what if some of that Red splashes on the camera lens? If it bleeds it leads.
That’s the ticket! By golly, I think we’ve got it, Red, White, Black, and Blue. It’s a Grand Old Flag: