Happy Father's Day Dad/America!
But as ever I am compelled by unseen forces to remind you that, while exploited illegals were waxing your car, scrubbing your toilets, harvesting your crops and raising your children -- so you could maintain or exceed your father's standard of living -- your country changed -- one helluva lot...
While you were consuming 200% of the calories per day that your body requires, obsessing over the cultural relevance of the Sopranos finale and voting for a weaker democracy, just like Uncle Ronnie told you (as did I in 1979, nearing graduation from Laurel High School, with unemployment at 14%) -- something has been lost...
And that something is any pretense of Fairness and any semblance of Democracy.
Has your government gotten smaller?
Have your wages risen commensurately with your costs for housing, health care, fuel and food?
Do you believe America is on the right track?
So what do you want to do about it? Who shall we blame? And more importantly, who shall we murder this time: the Aborignes? (oops, too late) Saddam Hussein? (check) Iran? North Korea? 12 Million Mexicans?
Well, if my circle of "friends and family" yield any insight, as far as I can tell, "Not Much" answers the former question and "Anyone But Me" the latter!
Why so much apathy, America? Surely it is someone's fault. And why, when I articulate your same (but unrecognized) anarchistic impulse, do you blame me; label me a hypocrite; and suggest therapy and mood-regulating pharmaceuticals?
Because I am a socialist, anarchist. Because I advocate sweeping and total social, political and economic change even as you have settled into mere corrosive cynicism. Because I am thoughtful enough to at least recognize my systematic exploitation (both ways) even as you deny or eroticize your own. Because, America, we are an entire nation of cliched consumers, pouring round after round of increasingly synthetic and unreliable (my 40GB Ipod recently froze) purchases into the collective void of our human souls -- until the money is gone, the credit cards are canceled and the HELOC payments are unmanageable.
But then I'm just crazy. And you are perhaps one of the lucky ones -- Recipient of a future inheritance? -- A child of a Collectively-Bargained America that didn't practice economic fascism, failing its vast majority -- an America better than any economy or country in human history; An America before Wal Mart's goods were assembled in China, Vietnam or the Mariana Islands by children earning 25 cents an hour (if they're paid at all) -- so Americans can afford them as our real wages stagnate and our dollar collapses under the weight of Wall Street's LBO Private Equity printing and borrowing machine; An America where CEO wages were merely 100 not 1000 times those of workers; An America that didn't spew shill like "Democracy" and "Liberation" and "Homeland Security" or paste-up bumper stickers like "War On Terror" -- when its real motivations are low-royalty oil rights and permanent military bases in Iraq and a perpetual, legally-exploitable, immigrant underclass -- all to support Wall Street and Washington's rotting notions of Empire.
If so, then, well, congratulations! You may now continue gritting your teeth and holding your breath while smiling your best Hillary Clinton smile -- hoping that Baby Boom money holds out one more generation -- that the dollar and Medicaid don't completely collapse -- that the terrorists our own hegemony has spawned don't get the bomb -- and most importantly, that you get your hands on your share.
This dream you share with your children...