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After the Deluge

By       Message Doug Rogers     Permalink
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As Wall Street has now been successful in getting the political establishment to relieve them of their difficulties we should take a minute to reflect on the meaning of these actions. Of course the self-congratulatory rationale from the players in this maneuver is that without action everyone would have suffered; there would be no guarantee of liquidity in any part of our economic structure. This was undoubtedly true and the prospect was enough to frighten anyone with common sense.

So the first and most significant conclusion to be drawn is that we as a society are entirely at the mercy of an amoral finance sector. It's as if someone were holding a gun to your child's head and demanding every cent you have. You of course give them every cent you have. There can be no question. But you also don't come out of the encounter with any doubt about where the danger to your children lies. No sane person can have witnessed this week's realignment of power and maintain any illusion that our economic system is a well ordered place with balance between mutually respectful contenders. Indeed we can see now as at few other moments in history that our freedom is a conditional thing. Not because we have failed to guard against any enemy from abroad, but because we are paralyzed against an enemy within. One who has successfully stayed hidden until this moment.

And what has this week revealed about our democratically elected leaders? Of course we knew that the administration was composed of criminals, there is no revelation there. But what of the opposition party? That they are willing accomplices to this action comes as no surprise to many. But many more still see some redeeming hope in the Democratic Party to some day accomplish great things. After all, we have to have some alternative to the Republicans. When the Democrats gain control of the White House surely there will be a cornucopia of beneficial programs and a general redisbursement of societal resources.

Unfortunately, the actions this week of the Democrats in congress, including their presumptive leader, have just put a nail in the coffin of any lingering misapprehension about what they will accomplish in their term. There will be no universal healthcare. There will be no relief for homeowners. There will be no money to improve our infrastructure. No transition to clean energy. There will be no money to improve education or to increase benefits for veterans. There will most likely be no money in the long run to continue Social Security, Medicaire or Medicaid. There will be no money for anything.

The party of the common man just signed these vital programs away forever. Of course the Democrats will tell you that all of these things are just around the corner. But to rationally believe that is to believe that the money that the government borrows is just a pretend figure; that those debts are just numbers on paper. To be sure that is the main flaw of the bailout that they just passed. It presumes the problem with the financial system is merely psychological. Now that we've put all of these nasty bad debts onto Daddy's credit card the problem will magically go away.

Except that they aren't made up numbers. The liabilities that they have just registered to all of our names are quite real. The money was really borrowed from other parties. These other parties now have the right to come collect. Or if not collect, then dictate terms. For all the lip service that has been paid to patriotism and national defense over the years, we are about to find out what loss of freedom really means in the coming months and years.

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All those third world countries we used to condescend to, making demands on their governments to cut spending on their own people because they owed us so much money? That will be us now. The great contraction that these leaders claimed to be staving off is still coming. There is no way to avoid it. The only thing that we have assured is that the rich are going to be okay. As for the rest of us, prepare for a state of extreme vassalage. For almost everything that would make a difference in improving our lives will now be out of our control.

Knowledge of these basic facts is our only shield. Already the media has started to circle the wagons around the myth of the heroic actions of real leaders who didn't bend to the whims of the popular will. Most people didn't understand the crisis. If they can wake up tomorrow and go back to all the little things that they expect to do in their lives then they will be happy to accept this scenario as truth.

But many, far too many for the comfort of those in control, will now have it seared into their consciousness that we are in fact not free. That we are literally owned by the bankers. That the elected leaders are serving another master. That our position is precarious to the extreme. That the notions of controlling one's own fate and steering the course of a democracy through solidarity with others are elusive and may be lost to us without a radical realignment of thinking.

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Doug Rogers is a composer and playwright and for many years designed ladies' sweaters. He is now a student again at Empire State College in Buffalo NY.

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