4 October 2009: Greedocracy? A Love Story?
Picture an early-autumn Sunday afternoon in Georgetown near the waterfront. The brick sidewalks of M Street are alive with tourists, college students, and even a few townies like me. The sun is shining down from a clear blue sky, and the outdoor cafes are filled with lively, comfortable, happy people.
Only an occasional homeless person sits slumped against a building, ignored. You'd never guess that elsewhere life is not so rosy.
Michael Moore, admittedly qualified to own a wardrobe of silk ties, has released his latest eloquent protest film, Capitalism: A Love Story. The love is for the victims of capitalism, the working class that recalls his own background, those suffering from the foreclosures that he says occur every 7.5 minutes (it may be seconds—I didn't take notes) and the epidemic of layoffs.
The chronically poor and/or chronically homeless receive little attention, except in some heartbreaking footage of the holocaust wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
FDR is lionized for the second bill of rights he wanted to pass: our rights to a home, jobs, and state-sponsored healthcare and education. Like Moses, the subject of a recent Time Magazine online article, he died before seeing his dream realized, but unlike the Children of Israel, we Americans never reached that promised land. Instead, as the Marshall Plan rescued Japan, Germany, and Italy, among other European countries destroyed during World War II, Moore emphasizes the irony that our country granted these rights to them as it helped rebuild their governments.
The film is fraught with outrage at the post-Carter, gradual decimation of the working class as subsequent administrations gave freer and freer rein to the mercenary dynasty of the corporate and financial worlds, a form of capitalism that vaporized the American dream. Upward mobility receded as deregulation devoured more and more of the economy—the top one percent became wealthier than 95 percent of Americans.