Maricopa County, AZNuclear power plant, GeorgiaFire, blown gas mainsTom McGuane, ranch, MontanaHarry Truman House, Independence, Mo.Senators Paul Rand and Mitch McConnellWTC, Building #3Grafitti, New York subway
Winter is fading, its weather cataclysms slipping from mind, the promise of spring hinting at better things to come. Such are the age-old cycles which, even in our technically distorted world, still function. The cold gray lifts, the sun slants less obliquely, eros stirs. Meantime out in the broader world other things are stirring, sending quivers through the Beltway calculus. Utterly unanticipated, a Tunisian peddler set himself aflame, and in less than two months the entire middle-east, repository of America’s “national interests” in the form of oil, is likewise engulfed. In Libya the tragi-comic figure of Gaddafi holds on, and Europe and America ponder whether to intervene to lessen the blood being spilled, though these policies are mitigated by a long colonial history of Western exploitation, which in truth is in large measure the cause of the current crises. In America the faint glimmer of an alleged economic up-turn is now at the mercy of mobs calling for democracy and dismantling the dictatorships which had for some decades kept “stability” with the support of our oil hungry “democracies.”
Here at home, hot on the heels of their November winnings at the polls, the Republicans and their Tea-Party cohorts have reached quickly to translate their views into policy. In Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, governors and firm Statehouse Republican majorities are looking to wipe out what vestiges of union life remain in America, and are taking their cleavers to budgets for almost everything (except the military). In the US Congress they’re doing the same. Carried out these should up the unemployment rolls a good bit, and trash the wheezing of the communal economic corpse even more. Pundits theorize this is purposeful, to assure a victory in the Presidential elections in 2 more years. I’m inclined to agree though I doubt the result will be the hoped-for GOP landslide, rather it would appear there will be a harsh backlash which will whip Obama back into office for another term – Obama, whose policies are very marginal improvements on those of his predecessor. However articulate his tongue, this President appears to be a master of the jive and shuck, saying one thing but doing another, always able to say it is better than what the crazed far-right would do. It now seems an obvious bit of sleight-of-hand on the part of our not-so-hidden rulers. In America we might say presidents are always “right.”
So while soon the flowers will bloom, and a sunnier disposition will be only natural, it will most likely be a pleasant delusion as the next steps of our national restructuring are carried out: more work, less pay (for those who have work); no work and no social support net for those without work. This will be the order of the day, all in the name of saving the economy. Meantime the CEO’s of the big banks and corporations will reward themselves with yet bigger bonuses. 400 individual Americans taken together hold the same wealth as 150 million other Americans share together. Such is our nation. Until, perhaps soon, the things we’ve seen in Cairo and Libya arrive here.