People generally are passive and understanding, but as the pressure builds the passivity evaporates and what is left behind is a crystallized seething. A feeling that says, “I’m being screwed and I’m tired of it and you hide and watch what happens to the next person that tries it.” President Bush made a You Tube appearance where he waved to onlookers as he stepped off Air Force One and they just stared back at him. (No caption necessary) Their silence spoke volumes; they ignored his presence, as one unwelcome, and wouldn’t dignify it with even an acknowledgment.
Passengers, on American Airlines flight 1901 in Miami, booed and heckled the flight crew after they arrived an hour and fifteen minutes late. "When the crew got there, they were late and everyone started to boo them," said passenger Dianne Chandler. "And then they closed them behind glass doors and they kind of threatened us that they weren't gonna fly because of the way people were acting. Some people got very agitated."
And fly they didn’t, the flight crew’s feelings were hurt at being booed for holding up a planeload of travelers and so they refused to fly the plane. When American Airlines couldn’t find a backup crew the flight was canceled, stranding the travelers overnight in Miami. The following day the flight went off without a hitch to New York’s JFK airport, except the airline sent the flight's luggage on to La Guardia by mistake. We can count to ten or we can think kind thoughts, but sooner or later there comes an end to our patience.
In the small town outside of Fort Worth, the entire Kirbyville, Texas police force has quit over reduced hours. The city council decided that the best way to deal with higher operating costs was to cut the hours of the police force and to no longer allow the officers to drive their police cruisers home at night. Think of it as a Kirbyville officer, they want you to defend the town come what may, 24/7, but the first solution to a budget shortfall is to take it out of your ass. To not only cut pay but to shift the fuel burden onto the officers. No mention was made of city council taking pays cuts, but I would wager that no one suggested the council take a week or two off.
"We had discussed with the officers that we would make these cuts temporary. As soon as funds were available, we would return them to their regular salaries," said City Councilman Vince Sessions. Sorry, Vince, we’ve all heard that one way too many times before; the funds will never be available. But the mayor will get a new car or fly off to the mayor’s conference in Las Vegas. It’s the seething, Vince. It may all be on the up and up but we just don’t believe anymore. The temporary pay cuts, the hidden price increases, and every day on the TV, some smiling jackass is telling me it's not so bad! Or a millionaire Senators says I’m a whiner because I’m losing my house or my job or my son!
The Times of London reported that six senior commanders at the Pentagon will quit if the US attacks Iran. The Pentagon, claims their source, has no stomach for a war with the Islamic Republic: “Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.”
Lie to the people, then strip them of economic power, but promise I’ll make it all better for you, trust me! Just as soon as funds are available, right? Poor John McCain, he hires the best and the wealthiest in campaign management available. There’s former Senator Phil Gramm, author of the Enron exemption that excluded energy trading from regulatory oversight. Then there is Steve Schmidt, Bush loyalist and Karl Rove protégé, along with Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett Packard who was forced out in 2005. Her resignation caused HP’s stock price to rise to its highest level during her tenure. "The stock is up a bit on the fact that nobody liked Carly's leadership all that much," said Robert Cihra, an analyst with Fulcrum Global Partners. "The Street had lost all faith in her and the market's hope is that anyone will be better," Gee, that sounds familiar.
McCain’s dream team strategizes, "How can we connect with the average man on the street? I’ve got it! We’ll call McCain's plans to make the Bush Tax cuts permanent John McCain’s plan to bring jobs to America! Then we’ll call John McCain’s plan to build two hundred nuclear reactors alternative energy!” It’s just sad, then they bring in Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, as a co-chair and the campaign hints that billionaire Whitman or Fiorina might get the nod as VP. As if America just doesn’t have enough billionaires running for elective office.
McCain’s campaign is a vanity campaign at best, a just-in-case Obama blows it campaign. It’s the seething; the ten pack is replaced by the eight pack, the twenty-four ounce package is replaced by the twenty-one ounce, and duh! We’ll never notice the difference. Recently the local Kroger started a discount program where if I bought an advertised product today, they would give me a discount the next time I bought it. Are you kidding me? I’m supposed to remember the last time I bought ketchup to get my discount? Give me the discount or buzz off! (See, I’m being polite, mom! I wanted to say f*ck off!)
It’s the seething; they have since come out with a new program where I can prepay for my groceries. For every hundred dollars I prepay, Kroger will credit me an additional 10% towards my purchase! Where can you get a deal like that, outside of the Wiemar Republic? Nothing says good times like prepaying for groceries! Why, they’ll even give me ten cents off my $4.15 a gallon gas; I’m living the life of Riley now!
They can mask and obfuscate all they want, but the bloom is off the rose now. NASCAR reports that attendance may fall 10% because of higher fuel prices. That’s Republican stomping grounds; you take away NASCAR and you can pack your bags. Wal-Mart sales are up 5% this month, but what happens next month when the rebate checks are gone and it’s time to buy school supplies?
That is where the danger lives. The bulk of the American people are struggling to make it now and what happens when they reach the tipping point and no longer can? The jig is up, the game is over, no more rebates, gimmicks, tax cuts or hollow promises. The seething is just the beginning. It is the job of the government to insure domestic tranquility. In 1931, a group of farmers who had been promised Red Cross relief supplies for three days, that never arrived, marched on the town. They told the Red Cross officials and police that if they didn’t open the warehouse and disperse the promised supplies by five o’clock, the town’s people would take them by force.
It was these sorts of actions that prompted the New Deal, not the fear of losing control of the economy, but of losing control of the people. Fascism was on the rise in Europe when Mussolini promised to make the trains run on time and Hitler promised to restore German people to their rightful place. A seething people will accept radical solutions because conventional solutions never seem to include them. Like politicians who call for more tax breaks for the wealthy. Or air crews that forget that those people paid for those seats to be delivered to a certain place at a certain time. They were inspected and prodded like cattle just to earn the privilege of waiting at a gate.
The correct response is, “Please forgive us, we are sorry.” That, in a nutshell, is the basis of the seething, forgetting who works for whom. It's abuse of the system and abuse of those who make the system work. They say, well they’re just cops so they just have to deal with it, or they’re just customers and if they don’t act nice enough, we’ll just go to the hotel! People generally are passive and understanding, but as the pressure builds the passivity evaporates and what is left behind is a crystallized seething. A feeling that says, “I’m being screwed and I’m tired of it, and you hide and watch what happens to the next person that tries it.”