Corporate coffers are stuffed full. Their piggy banks runneth over.
Since the mid-70s all real income growth has happened for the 10% of earners: top managers, owners and CEOs.
But, strangely, businesses continue to lay off workers. And, they demand more work from those ‘lucky’ enough to keep their jobs (even though US workers already work more and get less time off than the workers of all the other industrialized nations).
Us – the workers? We complain.
We post our anger and dissatisfaction out in 140 character bursts on Twitter and share political memes on Facebook. Some try to organize, but the numbers never materialize in a way that has real impact.
All the while, the fat cats not only get fatter, but they use the money they make at our expense to buy off D.C. in order to keep the loopholes allowing them to hold on to more of their money than the people who work for them; AND to pass laws making it easier to step on their workers, make themselves richer, and eliminate the very government assistance that would help the people they lay off or massively underpay.
Us – the workers? We bask in our “staycations” and try to forget for a few days that the future is bleak at the hands of our wealthy overlords.
For me, as a minister, one of the worst parts of this Dickensian situation is that the wealthy do all of these greedy, self-serving things, including stepping on the “least of these,” so they can have even more U.S. currency which ironically proclaims “in God we trust.”
Then, from my ministerial perspective, the salt in the wound is how these fat cats convince people who understand themselves to be Christian to support the politicians and policies that will ensure the rich get richer and that the “least of these” remain the “least of these” – only more so.
In God we trust? It certainly doesn’t seem like it.
Us – the majority of the “we” in “we the people”? We argue with our neighbors about which political party is more to blame – completely missing the fact that it’s just as much about who is suffering as it is about who’s to blame.
Who is suffering? All of us – including the people with whom we are arguing every day.
We are a divided nation; and we are divided in at least four ways.
Group 1: The richest of the rich are in charge. They aren’t Republicans, they aren’t Libertarians… they are Privileged Plutocrats.
Group 2: The poorest of the poor. They aren’t Democrats, they aren’t Blue-collar Republicans. They don’t have the luxury of time (and, often education) to think about politics. They are simply trying to survive. And, they are likely homeless, children, people of color, or undocumented immigrants.
Then there’s “the rest of us:” Democrats, Republican, Independents, and an entire horde of political movement “wanna-be”s from The Tea Party to The Green Party.
“The rest of us” are actually split into two groups (with a few exceptions) who have all bought into the narrative the Plutocrats and their hired political and mass media henchmen have been selling us. When it comes right down to it, we are well divided down the middle: those who like what the current President (Clinton, Bush, and Obama) is doing, and those who don’t. “Us” verses “them.”
Group 3: Us.
Group 4: Them.
Four Americas: An insanely rich governing class: Plutocrats. A class struggling for basic survival needs. And the divided middle: Us versus Them.
Only one group benefits from this structure and not only do they like it that way, they designed it that way.
We – the majority in “we the people”? We need to learn to see this dissolute situation for what it really is.
Despite his deplorable morals, former presidential hopeful John Edwards was right when he noted that there are “Two Americas.” He just drew the dividing line in the wrong place. For him the line ran between the Republicans and the Democrats.
Like I said, he just drew the line in the wrong place.
There are “Two Americas”: the Plutocrat Overlords and The Rest of Us.
But, I’m afraid America’s two party political system has created such an immense divide that we might never see the real issue dividing us. It’s not political, religious, philosophical, or even ideological – it is economic. Like the bumper stickers on Bill Clinton supporters’ cars read: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Perhaps now it would read, “It’s about MONEY, stupid.”
The result of this drawing and quartering of our society, is that we’ve not only substituted staycations for real vacations but, with obvious exceptions, most of us have substituted 140 character protests for physical protests in the streets. (Ouch. I’m sure that really hits the Plutocrats where it hurts – especially since they own the networks in which we blast our twitter outrage). They make money when we tweet our protests.
Worst of all, we’ve substituted the convenient enemy (those who don’t agree with us about the job the President is doing) with the actual enemy, the wealthiest Americans whose lives are more and more so a constant vacation (vs. our staycations, in which we pay to patronize their international restaurants, buy our food from their multi-million dollar factories, or watch the cable TV they charge us for each month).
It’s time to focus our genuine and understandable disdain solely on the real enemy – the wealthy Plutocrats and their political and mass media henchmen, and stop taking it out on one another.
If we really want to hit them where it hurts, we have to support movements like Moral Mondays in North Carolina and show up en masse. We must take to the streets in increasing numbers; we must stand for each other even when it doesn’t affect us personally.
When we vote, there must be only one issue that influences our vote: where the candidate’s voting record stands on supporting the continued wealth grab by those who already have plenty of it.
It is time to take a stand and vote against any politician who is being paid off by the billionaire class.
To do otherwise is to concede defeat.
And that’s what they are counting on.
Consider supporting Mark’s blogging. Help create a market for Progressive Christianity. Not through big publishers or big denominations, but through the grassroots. We need to encourage the growth of progressive Christian voices in the marketplace. Even a dollar will help.
Facebook continues to make it increasingly difficult for me to let you know about new blog posts like this. Please consider signing up for my mailing list where we can insure you are notified. Just click here!
Mark is a co-founder of The Christian Left. Come and join the conversation!