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few more years
What Freedom From Fear?
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What Freedom From Fear?

TGIF—although, it makes absolutely no difference to me, and quite a few other Americans. And these days it hardly seems to matter to my Wife, who has a job, though for very different reasons. I work just as little, and she works just as hard, day of week notwithstanding! And none of us feeling good about ourselves, much less our country.

Jon Stewart to the rescue again… Last night he gave his usual video-clip montage, this one of the ups and downs of the stock market, one day rising sky high, the next day falling like a stone, ending with the one moment when reporters talked to each other about how the stock market’s performance doesn’t mean anything to the average investor and how the stockbrokers make money either way, thus making a feast of any turbulent economic environment.

This whole economic smoke and mirrors crap is what has the OWS people up in arms—when they are being so obviously taken for a ride by what appears to be a collusion between business and government to make optimal conditions for the rich and for business, which is always accomplished by, in some way, stealing money from placid, hard-working (when they can find work) citizens! And the worst of it is the stress—when these business people send out their panic alarms on a daily basis, neither the employed or the unemployed can rest easy or get a good night’s sleep.

Wasn’t there something in Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” series about Freedom from Fear? Is it right for our government, our big businesses, and our media conglomerates to perpetuate this eternal dread? This unending stress—on kids who worry for their parents, spouses who worry for their mates, decent Americans facing choices along the lines of “Will we send Susy to college or keep Grandma alive for a few more years?” Is this Freedom from Fear?

In Rockwell’s time, the Fear was presumed to be Fascism or Communism—today, with both those Demons well and truly seen off to the fiery pits of Hell, it seems that Capitalism has acquired some of the Dark Side’s characteristics. We now live in fear of our own way of life. We fear that the rich will get richer and the poor poorer. It wasn’t considered a huge crisis before, but now with the rich shrinking in numbers and the poor and semi-poor numbering ninety-nine percent of the population, we don’t see that old saw as anything to chuckle ruefully at anymore—it has been become a nightmare of immoderation.

Moderation hasn’t ever been America’s strong suit. Puritanical, Calvinist, Neo-Conservative—even in our self-discipline we lack moderation! But some moderation of Capitalism is in order—thus the difficulty of the OWS movement to come up with specific grievances—we don’t want to replace Capitalism with something else, we just want it to be forced into a humane moderation that takes into account the social contract that most Americans took for granted (until we found out that the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave is no longer a land of social responsibility).

We’re very proud of our history, including FDR’s New Deal, which seemed (and was, in many ways) an America mature enough to take responsibility for the hungry, the sick, the aged, and the homeless. But Republicans and Business Leaders alike have decided that Capitalism doesn’t need any social conscience to make money—that Freedom means ‘every man for himself’! And that’s why the OWS movement is just getting started. Nothing gets Americans off their asses like barefaced injustice—and the injustice of ‘corporations as people’ is flashing a full moon out of its trousers.

We can all see it, plain as day. This country is well along the road to a financial monarchy and all the politics in the world are rendered moot when people decide that their government is not looking out for the governed.

Even when Pols smugly point at the elected officials we supposedly ‘chose’, they are pointing at another aspect of corporate and financial influence. Besides which, no decent, honest person wants to become a part of the cesspool that politics has become! Look at how the Republicans sniggered at Obama’s call for bi-partisanship and sincere cooperation at the beginning of his presidency. Now, the news-hounds imply that he has ‘matured’ passed the point where he expects any civility in the no-holds-barred gang fight that legislating has become.

I don’t like it. I wanted the Republicans to agree with Obama, to decide to act in the best interest of their state and nation—I wanted the news-hounds to report that the Republicans had matured to the point where they are willing to do what’s right, even if it’s troubling to business, or more expensive than business would like it to be—even if some wild-haired evangelist condemns them as evolution-believing heathens. Yes, I want our lawmakers to face down a few nut-jobs, to tell them where to get off—and do the same to some of these CEOs and Board Chairmen who still think the business of America is business, when it has become painfully obvious that the business of America is (and always should be) its people—we, the people—and, not to be racist or anything, but—No Corporations Need Apply.


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