was popular during The Gilded Age
when Robber Barons lived above the rest of us
unfettered by irksome regulatory laws
or thoughts of economic justice.
The dance itself is a pantomime
of a pimp beating up his b*tch.
When she won't give up "his" money
they begin a dance routine in which
the Apache slaps her,
drags her by the hair,
throws her around,
whirls her in a circle
and dumps her
in a heap on the ground.
After all this the b*tch crawls back
to her pimp and clings to his leg,
begs forgiveness and professes love.
The Apache just spits in her face.
Karl Rove, George W. Bush's advisor,
has a deputy, Peter Wehner, who wrote
"For the first time in six decades, the Social Security
battle is one we can win..." In other words, it's toast.
Sixty years ago the Republican Party
failed to keep from existence
the federal program which guarantees
the money for our old age assistance.
The creation of Social Security
underscored the democratic point of view
of The People,
by The People,
and for The People
IS The People,
for many neoconservatives
an unaccpetable truth.
(Wehner) "We have it within our grasp
to move away from dependence on government..."
But that's only if you're an individual,
and not a corporate subsidy recipient.
The People should cease interdependence
and swim individually in the economic waters
to be dragged around and b*tch-slapped
by the invisible hand of the market.
Social Security is not and never was intended
to be the sole source of income for retirees.
It was designed to provide a basis
for a modest standard of living
supplemented by employer provided pensions
and further by personal savings,
but many workers today don't make enough
to put away any part of their wages.
And corporations are working hard
to do away with company pensions,
while Bush kicks the last leg from under
the three-legged stool of destitution prevention.
The "Ownership Society" is a user-friendly term
to disguise an appeal to naked self-interest
which pretends it dissolves the wall
between the haves and have-nots in our system.
We're all just Trumps-in-waiting
on the way to building our own towers
in which we can worship Mammon
during individual leisure class hours.
If only we could get government regulations
and social program costs off our backs.
In the drive to return to The Gilded Age,
Social Security is the program to attack
by getting us to identify with our Apache abuser
and become members of the "investor class".
Plantation owners demonized Blacks and the North
to get the Poor to take up their mantle and fight
and console themselves by being able to say
"We may not be rich, but like the Masters, we're white."
Now the demons are liberals and Social Security,
which is being dismantled to profit the financial sector.
And by taking a Wall Street gamble over a guarantee
we can say, "We're still poor, but like the Rich, we're investors."
Once you're part of the "Ownership Society"
you're on your own in every sense.
It's like inviting Dracula over for dinner
and exposing your neck to his good intents.
If a reporter exposes a corporate scandal,
the Apache will slap you and say
"You're one of the corporate investors
and he's taking your retirement away".
If a corporation's workers want to unionize
the Apache will drag you by the hair and point out
that benefits and raises destroy your pension
by bringing the stock prices down.
And since those workers are also investors,
the Apache will smirk and boast,
that by joining a union those workers
might just as well slit their own throats.
When townspeople vote to refuse
to let a Big Box store invade,
the Apache will dump them in a heap on the ground
and scream "You're throwing your retirement away!"
Anything that might lower the Apache's profit
will be cast as a threat to retirement funds.
Environmental protection? The Apache will spit on you.
Retain liability laws? Get kicked while you're down.
Oh, it's been a dizzying, breathless whirl
around the dance floor with the Apache.
Downsized with a slap. Dragged around and outsourced.
Now the only security left is under attack.
Yes, it will be an "Ownership Society" where
you're on your own or you're owned by the Rich.
But all of this is simply for your own good,
so you'll know just who is whose b*tch.
Vi Ransel email@example.com After a childhood spent in rural Pennsylvania and seven interminable years on Long Island, I lived in Greenwich Village for 24 years. I stopped writing poetry after 1976. But with the advent of Viet Nam II in Iraq, all those frustrated Sixties sentiments lying dormant decided, yes, I would begin to write poetry again. Since 1999 I've been living in Central New York, and since Spring of 2004 I've tried to devote most of my time to poetry. It seems that after all those years, "America, the Dutiful" is still the same place.