Is This The End?
The turn of the 20th Century saw a great industrial boom-time for our country. The Industrial Revolution was gaining steam and factories here and abroad began their dogged hunt for the race to the top. New and exciting innovations and products spewed forth as quickly as the choking smoke belching from the factory smokestacks and the hum of machinery and financial promise filled the ears and minds of a nation on the brink of adolescence…and prosperity.
Great minds went to work applying theory and confidence to difficult tasks and challenges as a Republic yawned from the fitful slumber of agriculture and village to technology and city. Automobiles were churning, skyscrapers rising, interstate highways were being painted across the fields and waters. There was a fever spreading. Almost imperceptibly, a disease was secreting itself into the very structure of this nation’s ever-increasing upper-class wealthy and elite. This infection raced through the ranks of the robber-barons and money-moguls. The disease had a name and a willing partner. Capitalism…and wide-eyed, catch-me-if-you-can, greed.
The stock market crash of 1929 was a cruel school headmaster with a PhD in financial discipline. The years that followed saw a nation with gripping poverty and uncertainty. Families were torn apart as fathers abandoned family responsibilities and their hope. The ‘poor-house’ was the address of far too many suffering citizens. Men, good men, hard working men, found themselves in bread lines or scavenging what they could from wherever they could. Reduced to animals and shells of humanity, many men took their own lives to escape the crushing weight of depression, anxiety and loss of self-esteem…and indeed, their identity. Mothers scrounged tidbits and nubs of whatever protein they could catch or beg for to fashion stews or meager meals for their children…often going hungry themselves. Even children shrugged of their own meal to ensure the youngest in the family ate…something. Tent cities bloomed like daisies across the nation. The Grapes of Wrath were ever present…except that there were no ‘grapes’. The government stood stymied for years all the while promising..’..a chicken in every pot’. Yet what most encountered was indeed a ‘poultry-geist’.
The elite, with their surviving portfolios and tangible properties shrugged off the suffering masses and looked abroad for salvation….and found it. Labor unions fought mighty and bloody battles to gain a footing against the mustache-twisters and industrial complex for fair and just structure. Men, women and children died in the streets and on factory floors while those in power fought for their slave-like empires.
Then a world war slapped our faces out of the insanity just long enough to put men and women back into the factories to fight for the ’cause’. Ammunition, weapons of destruction and countless other commodities flowed from the assembly lines like a thousand tributaries gushing into a raging, ravenous river. Finally, chickens were stuffing pots and America came home from war to a technicolor, up-and at-’em boom-time. The 1950s splashed a martini glass of cold, wet ‘look-at-us-now’ into our collective faces. We thrived. We worked. We rebuilt. Life was worth pursuing again in America. We looked up and saw the future. Spaceships and television. Chevy Bel-Airs and rock-n-roll. Man, what a time to be alive….and American. Yessir, a true Hollywood production.
But, no one was babysitting the money.
What followed was 50 years of financial insanity peppered with moments of racial injustice glossed over by wars and ‘conflicts’ where Americans went off to die for Capitalism and hills and DMZs. Deregulation and Reagan. Trickle down voodoo rituals. Surpluses, deficits, BIG booms….and even BIGGER busts. Off-shoring of jobs, factories sent to foreign lands for cheap labor….WalMart…China. It’s far too gruesome to bullet point the madness of the last 3 generations. What’s left is now. A stumbling, cauliflower-eared Corporate Republic swaying and loping around the ring like a glass-chinned, washed up boxer that only needs one more round to go to throw the fight to collect the only thing that matters anymore…dirty money.
So tell me…is this the end?
Has America tearfully,willfully lifted her skirt and leaned over the edge of the table waiting for the Corporatist’s throbbing, forceful violations? Because it appears to me Uncle Slam is too busy working three jobs to stay afloat or is on the unemployment line… to protect her.