Gordon Gecko is dying of cancer.
Have you seen the pics in the National Enquirer? The man is nothing but scared skin and bones. Greed is good he said, then bullied his way to the top only to bring the whole thing crashing down with him. Says money never sleeps? Well, it doesn't weep for the wicked either, even for those who think themselves winners, till we all fall down.
Greed is good? Why would anyone ever want to teach the idea that greed was good to a population which is supposed to live together? Why did we, the population in question, not question whether we wanted to believe it? How could we be taught to believe greed was good when it is the same thing as when that bully back in the first grade took your money and got away with it because he was so strong and he was so mean. Why have we been taught, as grown-ups to think of that guy as the good guy?
No matter how much i love my country, no matter how many colored lenses i look through to try and reread the past in a better light, no matter how hard i try to not cringe at the present, i still am left still having to say this: America is not a land of the free, it is a land of the slave, where the richest 74 make more than the poorest 19 million. A land not "of," "for," nor "by" the people, except as allowed by the plutocrats' corporate interests. As for the rest of us, bullied and worked and worried to death in chains we don't even see. America has always been a country where the bullies ran things for their own interests while the rest of us suffered for their whims. This is just another of those times where the rich have got the upper hand and are reaching for our throat.
And then we were told we were supposed to love it and honor its tradition of might making wrong sound righter in the after-fact, no matter how bloody the moment might be. We've been sold that it was OK to terrorize each other to get what we wanted; it was the right way to treat each other and the others of the world as long as you waved a flag to sanctify the whole process when you were done. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of the impact of Bullying in America. Taken as a whole, the role of the bully as a metaphor for America is a terrible topic to behold.
Over the last few weeks I have looked into the face of the topic of "Bullying in America" and it has beaten me down. Like the time last year when i watched Michael Moore's Capitalism twice in rapid succession and then was too depressed to write, much less laugh, for six weeks. As i contemplated how much power bullies actually have in our society, i became over-whelmed by the immensity of the problem and my probable lack of impact by wielding merely a couple of punch-lines and a few thousand words. Like climate change, and the plutocratic tyranny that runs our world like its marionette, this "battling the bullies" column is probably another case of too little, too late.
But here we go anyway--
Thanks to the recent Anti-bullying week media blitz, half the liberal media, and CNN in particular, throughout the whole month stayed semi-focused on another, slightly different, bullying story--a fresh twist on the continuing tale of the ever-running spate of homosexual teen suicides. Five in One Week and all with plenty of photos. The sad stories and glam photos were rolled out like a poor little black-clad emo parade to celebrate our indifference. Each story told a tale of bullying, of a struggling gay kid hounded to the point of choosing death to end the life of torture.
The favorite one for the media to glamorize was Tyler Clemente, a first semester freshman at Rutgers who literally died from the humiliation of getting outed live via the Internet while doing it with a man in his dorm room. Back in my day somebody might've passed a note, nowadays there's live streaming. Clemente later jumped off a bridge. Buddies promptly claim it was just a prank and they were just playing. That's what the bullies always say. Oh those crazy college kids. It was all just supposed to be in good fun, right?
Now it just so happens that the conjunction of all this gay-bashing is particularly unnerving at this particular time when the Right is ratcheting up its marketing of their own homophobia as a selling point. CNN's coverage of the apparent wave of teen suicides was a good chance for America to realize what teachers have been telling folks for years. It's true: our schools are so over-run by social issues we are at a point where it seems it is hard for almost anyone to learn almost anything except for a faulty bare basics of survival: shut up and keep out of the bullies ' way. The cult of bullying has not only weakened our schools, but is dominating our politics and destroying our economy, eating us from the inside with our very own greed.
Teachers may try to work against this social structure that dominates our kids' worlds; but we can only go so far because the same attitude we try to extinguish in them is the one that dominates their parents' world. But it is clear the teachers are not winning, and the longer the GOP control the discussion the less likely they are to be able to do so. why do they keep telling me greed is good? Why would anyone want to build a society that would operate this way?
Of course if one wants to be a bully, the current crisis must seem like a field day. Bullies like to keep their victims hungry and sick and ignorant and scared. And aren't those the four major points of the GOP agenda? End social services, abolish Obamacare, defund education, mass detentions for suspected aliens or terrorists and a theocracy for all. Wrap it up in ribbon and we'll call it the free market, though everyone i know is a slave to it.
Some say this election could make or break the future of our country right before our very eyes. Some say the Tea Party takeover could be a cover for a fascist coup. I am one of those people. Naomi Wolf was laughed at two years ago when she warned us about the upcoming End of America. But i wasn't among the laughing.
And as i see the news this month, it feels as if the pinscher is closing. So much of the current increasing bigotry and oppression is based on the rhetoric of racial politics, or sexual politics, or religious politics, or litigious politics; but it's all just excuses for those who wish to use force to feel free to do so. I mean, come on--everyone knows it's gay to call someone a f*ggot, duh. But folks do it anyway 'cuz it's so funny right? And if you don't think so, you must be queer.
Take the case of the "pretending to be the governor" of Arizona, Jan Brewer, who is hoping to get "re-elected" to that office. Have you've seen this train wreck some call a woman? They could use any five minutes of her debate footage as an IQ test. Forget about the whole "laughing at her over her 16 seconds of dead 'drunk, er, i mean, deer in the headlights' silence" thing. The times when she's speaking are way more incriminating. Just listen to any five minutes of Jan Brewer speaking. ANY five minutes. If some silly voter still find anything attractive about that woman--her words, her attitude, her ideas, or her looks, that person is probably not even intelligent enough to even be capable of the complicated series of tasks involved in completing the process of voting.
Jan Brewer who bumbled into office, mumbled and bungled her way through job of appearing to only suck a little; who the GOP hated till she got behind SB-1070 and now she's the little "Jan that can!" THAT Jan Brewer, the bully. Though she's not the worse of them, it says a lot about Arizona that Brewer is the odds on favorite. But what does she do when her opponent (Terry Goddard) begins to gain a little traction in the polls due to her own ineptitude at fear mongering and personal inability to speak English as if it were her own native language? Then she simply calls him gay. It's so typical and so tiring and so predictably GOP. It's all typical bully behavior. No wonder folks die and the society suffers.