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Brave Cincinnatus

by : David Glenn Cox
Wednesday September 1, 2010 - 19:53

By David Glenn Cox

The summer heat is fading and it brings a welcome relief but also a worrisome fear that the winter cold is right behind it. Each season brings with it a different set of problems each inverse of the other but still mainly the same. The changing season is making me angry because it marks the passage of time and I am still here. I’m still living in this nasty fetid little room hiding out like Anne Frank and dreaming of a job in concentration camp America.

While I was at the library yesterday I saw my friend who lives under a bridge. He joked and said, “I didn’t expect to see you here, I thought you’d be in Washington at the big Glenn Beck Rally!”

Laughing, I answered, “No I’ve got to stay here and fight for the Democrats cause if the Republicans get elected God help us! They’ll expand the war on terror, they’ll open up the Gulf of Mexico to deep water oil drilling and they’ll try and gut Social Security!”

It was the only laugh I had all day as my mood had grown dark and the burden of oppression that was weighing me down. As I went through the want ads most of the jobs even if I could get one don’t pay enough to even support myself and I was reminded of “The Grapes of Wrath.”

“I’m going home to starve, it’s better to starve all at once.”

I grew up during the 1960’s and I remember Dr. King’s “I have a Dream Speech” as a small boy. His voice was the most powerful that I had ever heard and I thought to myself, “this must be what God sounds like.” Dr. King brought change to America and the faces in the crowd were unified by their skin color. They could easily identify each other and that is a valuable tool. Because in America we the people are raised to believe that we are all individualists strong, stoic and solitary.

It is a most useful corporate lie because as solitary agents we are weak and defenseless. I was asked the million dollar question by a person buried under the rubble of urban decay and it was a damn good question, “what do we do?” Well that question along with my dark mood made me think hard. I’ve read about the march on Washington in October and I think that it is a good and noble thing.” A commentor offered, “the mainstream media will never cover it,” and that strikes to the heart of the matter.

In a free democratic nation the media report the news as it happens in a Fascist nation the media is told what to report. It is true that during the 1930’s the Hearst newspapers downplayed hunger and poverty of the depression but the new instrument of radio was not yet corrupted so FDR’s fireside chats could carry the message of change to millions many of whom never read the newspaper anyway. In our generation it is the Internet and without Internet access a child is left behind in school. You can’t find a job even if there was one to find and you have no source of independent information what so ever. To a free and democratic state that should be an issue of grave concern.

We need to talk to each other about the things that matter, not to tell our own stories but to hear theirs. As I sat at the computer yesterday a woman was trying to log into a website but couldn’t get through so she phoned them. She was trying to get a copy of her last pay stub from January so she could file for public assistance. I could tell that she was getting the bureaucratic run around and as she hung up she started to sniffle trying to hold back the tears.

I said, “excuse me I didn’t mean to over hear but you’re not alone. Everyone in this room is in a similar situation.”

“Really?” she replied, and I think it helped her some to discover that it wasn’t just her that there are millions of us. “I’ve been trying for a week,” she explained, “but they’ve changed all the screen names and passwords. I’m a substitute teacher and I haven’t worked since last year. I call and call and I keep getting a different voice mail and they never call me back.”

It occurred to me that to become a public schoolteacher takes more than just sending in box tops it takes a college education. To be a substitute teacher deserves combat pay because of the little cretins trying to run roughshod over substitute teachers. Why isn’t there a job for this obviously talented woman? Why is she weeping in a public library unable to get assistance from her employer or her government?

I’ll tell you why, it’s the same reason that no sooner had BP plugged the oil spill in the Gulf than it began drug testing cleanup crews. They weren’t drug tested when they were hired but a clause in the company policy allows for random drug screenings and so the crews were called in and told, “pee in the cup or throw your ID in the trash can.” If BP can fire them with just cause they don’t have to pay unemployment expenses. Those people were good enough for the company to wear HAZMAT suits in the upper ninety-degree heat cleaning up the filthy vile crap from BP’s negligence but now that the end is approaching, “Smithers, release the hounds!”

We have to understand that we as a people haven’t stumbled, we were pushed! In “The Grapes of Wrath” Steinbeck wrote about the large growers buying up the canneries and once they did they lowered the price paid for the fruit. It effectively put the smaller farmers and growers out of business. The large growers set up associations that decided the wages that would be paid to the pickers and any growers who violated the rules faced the retaliation of the association.

It is no different today; these things that have befallen us aren’t accidents. Cities don’t accidentally fall into ruin. If we export forty percent of our manufacturing base overseas what happens? If you have no manufacturing jobs you have no need of managers and you have no need of suppliers and they have no need of truck drivers. The trucking association lobbies Congress for higher weight limits and double trailers so they need fewer drivers still. Sure, it’s not as safe and it’s harder on the roads than the other way but what do they care?

It is not a democratic system that offers us a choice between awful and God-awful that isn’t a democracy. The parties decide who the candidates will be just as they did in Soviet Russia and just as they do today in Beijing. So when you get through falling to the bottom of the stairs and once you’re through rubbing your head and your elbows try to see the world with new eyes. Try to understand that the games is fixed and you’re slowly be pushed towards the door out into the cold.

Rupert Murdoch gave a million dollars to the Republicans but he also gave money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in her presidential run. It’s not a game at all it’s a stage play where they make up good guys and bad guys. So when the congress allowed unemployment funds to run out for a million struggling unemployed workers it was to illustrate the good guy bad guy persona. Let’s blame the Republicans but it was Democrat Ben Nelson who cast the deciding vote. It is two sides of the same coin all bought and paid for by the big banks, the financial industry, the media, the homebuilders and a thousand and one other corporate lobbies. No matter how many times that coin is tossed you lose.

Which all brings us back to the question of what to do, you get angry. Get angry and understand that it will not get any better if you don’t get angry. Get angry because as long as you are passive you will be ignored. Get angry because they have stolen your livelihood, stolen your neighborhood and stolen your city. They plan to steal your Social security and if your child or grandchild has a desire to go to college get angry because about the only door left open for working people is through the military. Get angry because without getting angry there is no hope and there is no future for working people in this country.

We are parsed and piecemealed in the unemployment statistics. Nearly 500,000 new unemployed each month and less than a hundred thousand find work each month but the unemployment rate goes down! Fifty-percent leave Obama’s mortgage rescue plan tired and wore down by the beurocrasy and weary of jumping through the hoops. 400,000 have received some form of loan modifications in eighteen months with fifty percent leaving the program contrast that with Roosevelt’s homeowner’s loan corporation that saved over one million homes and farms in one year generations before the aid of computers. FDR’s Homeowners Loan Corporation saved one million homes and didn’t cost the treasury a single dime!

Bloomberg- “Nokia Oyj AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc. are urging the U.S. government to ease rules that keep them from operating in Cuba even after President Barack Obama loosened telecommunications regulations last year to promote democracy on the communist island.

Nokia, the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker, is urging the U.S. to ease its 47-year-old trade embargo so it can sell handsets to Cuba. AT&T and Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless providers, urged regulators to make it easier for U.S. companies to directly connect calls to and from Cuba.”

Obama’s not promoting democracy he’s promoting cell phones. He shilling for the corporations so that they can make even larger profits and Obama can claim yet again that the economy is on the mend. So that he can continue to ignore us and the mainstream can warn us that if we don’t vote for Democrats this November we’ll get worse just like the overseer did on the plantation or in the fruit orchards or on the collective farms.

I knew a man once been to jail more times than he could count. He’d been beaten by the police and charged with crimes that he didn’t commit fighting for the right to join a union. He said, “If you aren’t willing to fight for it then maybe you don’t deserve it!” He was a simple ironworker who never finished high school. He died an old man yet his life held great value. His memory is revered by his family he was considered a hero to his union because he got angry. He was like Cincinnatus that when he was called he left his plow and fought for his country and when it was secure he returned home to quietly continue his work.

In Cincinnatus’s time a man’s plowing could mean the difference between life and death. Without a crop in the ground his family might starve yet Cincinnatus chose fighting for his country even over his own plow. He understood that with out his liberty he would lose his plow and his land eventually. What will your children say about you? What will their future be like? What kind of country will they live in? When we are all one together we are one inviolate! Get angry and understand that one more debt has been levied upon you. It is this generation that will decide the final destiny of this nation.



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