"We live in an age of corporate dominion just as we once lived in an age of domination by royal families, kings, and warlords. Our culture is dominated by television and petroleum." Our demands for entertainment and consumerism "depends on an unbroken supply of both".
We live in a representative democracy where, in theory, our interests are represented in both Congress and the Administration. In reality our representative democracy is where state and district democracies individually choose their representatives from corporate approved, duopoly supplied, candidates who, upon election, do the corporate bidding. Increasingly, as our corporate dominated Congress and Administration continues promoting American capitalism, the ruling class is increasingly defining a representative democracy for its citizens as liberty plus groceries.
The reality is, however, that groceries are harder to come by and our "liberty is largely fictional" Consider:
1. Food Banks are barely able to keep up with demand.
2. More than 46 million of us are without health insurance.
3. More than 30 million of us are on food stamps.
4. More than 10 million of us are in this country illegally.
5. More than 5 million of us are on probation or parole.
6. 4 million of us will be homeless for part of this year.
7. 3 million homes will be foreclosed this year.
8. More than 2 million of us are in prison or jail.
9. More than 1 million bankruptcies last year.
A. Consumer up 31 percent.
B. Business up 54 percent.
10. Meanwhile banks are failing at an accelerating rate.
A. From 0 in 2006 to 3 in "07 and 25 in "08.
B. To 1st Qtr. 2009's 21 and 2nd Qtr."s 23
C. To 22 in the just the first 38 days of the 3rd Qtr.
A second reality is that there is nobody around that is going to change the corporate dominion of the ruling class. "Nearly half the adult population are functionally illiterate", some 89 - 94 million of us according to the National Institute for Literacy. "Of these 17 - 20 percent can read just a little. That means they cannot fill out job applications, understand food labels, or read simple stories to their children. Another 25 percent can read, but not well enough to follow five consecutive paragraphs of text or dense documents such sales contracts. Functional illiterates cannot separate industry from government, or news from an advertisement or an infomercial.
Of course there is more to literacy than reading words." But, "in our culture it helps to contextualize an infomercial not to mention Tom DeLay's crimes. Uneducated and trapped", they "will never be capable of participating in a free society, much less making the kinds of choices that preserve and protect one, unless the importance of full literacy can somehow be made clear to them.
The problem is, they are pretty happy the way they are. Television and movies pump in enough entertainment to give them something to talk about" and the American flag gives them something their kids may die for in that "most can't tell the difference between a patriotic song and a political truth".
Yet, millions of us, "mostly as a result of higher education, are capable of understanding the tragedy of a million deaths in the Sudan or the destruction of the planet's atmosphere are just as real and possibly more important than a Redskins game or this week's special at Popeye's. Yet scarcely one in fifty working-class Americans understand this."
Except for the ruling class, most of us, including the working poor, and the lower and mid-middle class "are captive of credit, our jobs, our need for health insurance, our ceaseless quest for a decent retirement fund"; treading water, hoping things will improve, while pretty much knowing they will not.
The ruling class itself is enabled by the upper middle and the affluent suburb classes that continue to gain from the corporate-political system. They serve the administrative needs of the empire. "These are the catering classes, the men and women whose identity is granted them by the corporations, the brand for which they work. After all, it is the brand that makes possible the accumulation of goods that confer their social standing and ensure they will never live" in trailer park, not even a modular home. "In much the same that the old time fascists dutifully served the state, so the catering classes, both liberal and conservative, serve the brutal American brand of market capitalism. Without them, none of it would possibly work. That's why they must be purchased at a higher rate than the proles", those who do the more routine tasks for society.
The catering classes "have the only true power to revolt" against the corporate-political domain of American capitalism, but, as the ruling class knows, they will not bite the hands of those that feed them.
A few years ago, songwriter/singer Leonard Cohen captured our seemingly unending dilemma when he wrote:
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows that the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes, everybody knows.
And so it seems, this is where we are stuck. The distribution of our national income has come to look more and more like what one finds in a banana republic -- with a mega-wealthy elite, an ever-slimmer middle class getting squeezed in every direction, and a poor working class struggling to put food on the table and a roof overhead.
While we do risk societal collapse through our inability to maintain the dollar as the world's reserve currency, through lack of cheap-plentiful oil, through global warming, or a Yellowstone cataclysmic eruption, nothing the majority of what we citizens do seems to make any change.
"Now more than ever, the middle class cannot see the working class, and the working class cannot see past the next basketball play-off". Both it seems, "remain spectators to politics, responding to each political play with emotion instead of reason, if they respond at all." Those that are in a position to rebel and demand change know which side of their bread is buttered and who provides the butter; they will not demand change; no rebels there.
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