Thursday, October 9, 2008

Turns Out, I Don't Hate Poets After All...


I should probably apologize in advance, as you're not really gonna find a whole lot of meat in this post, until the end, but bear with me here for a bit, folks. I need to vent my spleen.

You may have noticed that the Dow Index closed at below 8600 today, from a high of somewhere in the neighborhood of 14,000 earlier this year. That's a drop of more than a third. After the crash of 1929, it took months, if not years, for the stock market to lose that much of its value. Nowadays it's happening in a matter of weeks. Days, actually... The fallout of all this, aside from the foreclosure nightmare of course, is that nobody can get any credit right now (including employers - yours, perhaps - who rely on short term loans to make payroll), or that none of our retirement accounts will be worth anything for a good long while. I could go on, but I'll spare you. This is scary stuff, and one of the questions that's rattling around in my head right now is "What the hell have these people done to us?" And by "these people," of course, I mean the Reagan Revolution, Republicans and Democrats alike, and its bastard neo-con spawn: the deregulators, the Friedmanites, the free market evangelists...

Then again, maybe there's another way of looking at this. Maybe, as Pogo said, we have seen the enemy and he is us. While we should have been paying attention, we instead did what we were told. We studied hard. We paid our taxes. We obeyed the law and we even sent our kids off to war. And we consumed. In short, we closed our eyes and put our faith in the system. We ignored the warnings of our poets, our philosophers, our rabble-rousers, and put our collective nose to the grindstone, all for the privilege of having the rug pulled out from under us yet again. And truth be told, we've earned it. You would think we'd know better by now. And yet there are still people out there who plan to vote for McCain and Palin, despite the best efforts of Tina Fey! Not that Obama and Biden are in any position to help us now, even if they wanted to... But at least we've still got Andrei Codrescu.

I've been thinking recently that it might not be a bad idea to acquire some skills in say, the blacksmithing arts. Or the coopering trade. Or cobblery. This afternoon Codrescu put these thoughts of mine into some very amusing, if not necessarily reassuring, words. Worth a listen for sure. Funny how our poets have a way of reminding us, now and again, just why it is that they're relevant...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You used "neo-con" again. What do you mean by that? LGS

tommy said...

Neo-conservatism. Which, ironically, means more or less the same thing as neo-liberalism, at least in an economic context. The neo-cons are the free market ideologues who began to take over the Republican party in earnest after the Nixon days (they hated Nixon, by the way, because they saw him as way too liberal) and have been running up budget deficits, deregulating everything they can and basically transferring as much public wealth into private hands as possible since the Reagan administration (I'm sure you remember Barry Goldwater; he was one of their guys, too). If you click here, it'll take you to the wikipedia article, which gives a pretty decent explanation of the movement. But be warned: it's a pretty dry subject...