Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pretending It’s Just More Politics

Cut the drama already! It's just another election.
Right? So, chill. Everything will be back to the way it was in no time.70

Here, in America, we love our politics. We take great pains to say we don't, but we do. These athletic contests we hold periodically allow those of us with an appetite for any channel of respect and superiority to proffer up “the right answer according to me,” along with every manner of dramatic persuasion. It seems that we have an unending ambition to have been the ones with insight or perception remarkable enough to either prognosticate our future dilemmas or offer up spectacular solutions which testify to all who watch of our remarkable savvy or, perhaps, even our startling genetic, intellectual prowess.

We also have an indulgent taste for predicting exaggerated dire adversaries and other threats.

We comfortably perceive our politics as an indulgence directed at “better” or “worse” answers. After all, in the past even our worst decisions have been survivable. So far in our entire national history we’ve sought out every answer by dissecting the more acceptable alternative topics not included in the “burning question of the day.” To date we’ve never paid too great a price for our foolishness or naiveté. We’ve never been successfully invaded, conquered, attacked or damaged -- nationally -- so gravely that we could not endure and recover.

Having never been laid that low, our pretense about politics continually provided the narcotic implication that we dealt with every challenge from a position of strength, that is, strength sufficiently great that we would inevitably emerge to correct our errors. Living in that unlikely fantasy, we encountered no events so troubling that we couldn’t disregard them in favor of debating nuances of our national reality as if they were the substance of everything.

Some of our population saw the contest between the extremely old and the frighteningly new in the last election in just this superficial manner. All the banter seemed quite comfortably moribund, couched in no more than another set of traditionally indulgent details to be chewed as fat by fish wives whose entire universe extended only to the last tents in the market square. We moan and reassure ourselves about our skeptical superiority, romantically akin to desperately swimming to the nearest lifeboat -- or any accessible flotsam -- after a sudden and disastrous capsize, then, once again, devolving into endless arguments of inane ideology before scrambling on board.

The United States is not smoothly dipping through another period of “corrections” for some trivial miscalculation, anticipating a few weeks or months of being denied a few normally available prerogatives. Our descent is suspiciously steeper than that, and deeper. We are apparently dumbfounded at the full scope of the damage now that it is revealed in a more rational light.

We have been, perhaps, mortally injured. We may not survive the damage we’ve suffered. The stakes are that severe.

It seems that not a single tool of our national sustenance remains in tact after the last outrageous subversion. We face the possibility that neither our military, our economy, our Constitution nor our spirit has survived in a form strong enough to hold us together while we frantically rebuild what we have left. The final looting of the treasury might be the bright spot. It suggests that the thieves believe the currency will have value again someday.

Of course there’s still the currency exchange.

Obama might be a solution to this national hemorrhage, or he might be just a hopeful triage or, at least, a soothing first aid placebo able only to comfort us for our final denouement. His election may have harnessed a horse which can pull us through this Bush crisis or maybe offer only a lessor promise, that is, a delay and a respite until its final, inevitable outcome.

A few matters are becoming more clear. Yes, we were stunned at the $700 billion cash affair. Those of us who paid just a little more attention to the news now know that the total is actually approaching $8 trillion and that the credit swaps and other doodad parasites imposed on our economy amount to more than $500 trillion.

By the way, that last figure is more money than there is in the world.

We are led to believe that we dare not simply stop, but that we still need to pay it back. Otherwise, those folks who managed to take it will return and scare us even more.

We are led to believe that it was something ugly that “just happened,” that is, “just happened” like a sudden rain storm or a flood. We are led to believe that those who profited so much cannot really be expected to repay the larceny extracted during their schemes. We are led to believe that the same thing would have happened no matter who was in charge of the country. We are even led to believe that the whole business actually has very little to do with us, that it is a problem inhabited by pain and recovery only for the stratospheric elite.

There is a storm coming.

Remember the endless discussion during the most violent period of the Iraq invasion? "Gosh, is it a civil war or not?" The new version addresses whether or not it is a recession, or, even a depression, as if anyone walking on the earth here could still wonder. We may need a new, even more depressing term to describe what awaits us.

The current job loss figure is around 15,000 per day. The value of trillions of dollars worth of retirement investments is around 40% of what it was a year ago. The individual tax burden of Washington’s most recent largess amounts to around $140,000 for every taxpayer. The ninnies of the far right still explode with fractured indignity at the prospect of talking to the enemies they’ve made for us.

Just another election?

Just another correction?

Imagine holding the 23rd century history book which accounts the story of the world. Perhaps, mid way through there is a chapter describing the period of the democracies, two or three centuries around the second millennium. Place the story of the events of the last eight years toward the end of that chapter.

Now, for the “politics as usual” crowd of cynics, try to ignore it. Convince us that it amounts to no more than a wild, silly exaggeration. Just another election.

So, how are the levees? It's Pearl Harbor Day.

Fill in the holes. Exactly what could this turn into? This is an account of a similar situation as it developed in Argentina (you know, that country in South America where the ruling class were crooks):

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