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God Damn America
Posted By Greg Palast On March 24, 2008 @ 1:27 am In Articles, Podcasts | No Comments
By Greg Palast
Sunday, March 23, 2008, Forest City, PA
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I think even Norman Rockwell would have found this place too sticky sweet, too postcard: the weathered barns, the fallow fields perfectly snow-frosted; red, white and blue flags already up on the clapboard farmhouses and the white-washed church in the valley already full for Easter prayers.
At a gas station, I scored the paper and coffee, spilled some on the front page – the closest thing I’ve got to a religious ritual – then parked in front of a row of insanely pretty salt-box houses shining like mad teeth on the river bank.
One was missing a pick-up in the driveway; its screen door was left half-open, and there was a letter taped to the window. The Sheriff’s Notice of eviction. Another foreclosure.
God damn America.
I know that’s what Obama’s spiritual guide would say.
But why? It seems likes He’s already done a pretty good job of damning these United States.
And He seems to have really taken it out on this corner of Pennsylvania.
The gargantuan Bethlehem steel works have dwindled to a few robot-operated mills controlled from Mumbai, India. The only remainders of nearby Carbondale’s mining industry are in display cases at the ageing Coal Inn. But you could still get out by selling your home to ski tourists from New York – until this year when mortgage markets turned cancerous. That leaves Forest City one industry, lumbering – which we can kiss goodbye since a recent ruling by the NAFTA board which allows the import of cheap Canadian wood.
Some local kid has made the paper having been thrown, helmet first, into the volcano called Iraq. The Scranton Times-Tribune, two pages after the photo of a priest blessing a bowl of who knows what, noted that three soldiers killed in yesterday’s bombing are, “pushing the death toll in the five-year conflict to nearly 4,000” – which is true if you don’t count Iraqi dead. But Someone must be counting them. (From way up in heaven, I wonder if we look like a nation of Christians – or an empire of Romans.)
Phil Ochs, before he killed himself, wrote,
“This is a land full of power and glory,
Beauty that words cannot recall.
But her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom.
Her glory shall rest on us all.”
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|Author of the New York Times and international bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse, Palast is Patron of the Trinity College Philosophical Society, an honor previously held by Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde.
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