Sunday, July 1, 2012

Owning the Plight of the American Middle Class

It doesn’t escape my notice that after nearly nine years of blogging (and despite the fact that “Coming to Terms…” was once nominated for AOL J-land’s “Best Political Blog”), my political posts seem to fly like cement elephants flapping lead wings. I understand that there are other things about which I write—my spiritual odyssey, my marital problems, my crash and burn with the restaurant—to which people can relate more comfortably than they can to my politics. But, to my mind, there is nothing more important than getting the word out there about what we, as a nation, are suffering, and what we might possibly do about it. I’m too old, too poor and too ignorant to run for office (though there are those to whom the “ignorant” part would be no hindrance…) All I can do is try to talk sense to whoever is listening, and hope it has some effect. Like a street-corner evangelist.

There is a lot of talk about a “Class War” being waged in America today. This talk mostly comes out of the mouths of conservatives attempting to turn public opinion against movements like “Occupy Wall Street” or “The 99%.” Anyone endeavoring to make the (wo)man on the street take note of the growing inequity in the distribution of American wealth is accused of trying to start a Class War.

The unfortunate fact is, there IS no Class War going on here. But there sure as hell SHOULD BE. What are we, the beleaguered American Middle Class, waiting for?

Have so many financial pundits analyzed the depressing facts and predicted gloom and doom that we have begun to tune them out? Have our Facebook friends posted so many shocking graphics depicting the rising disparity in income between the rich and the poor that we have lost our ability to BE shocked? Why aren’t we rioting in the streets when we discover that average American families lost 40% of their wealth between 2007 and 2010? Why are we not screaming bloody murder when an unreformed JP Morgan cops to losing $2 billion—in truth, closer to $9 billion—on risky trading, the like of which nearly brought down the entire American economy a mere 48 months ago?

Are these stories not engaging or inspiring enough? Or are the concepts so large and so global that we find it ever so much easier to focus on our own little crumb of the pie crust, which isn’t so tiny and rancid after all… Is it?

The fact is, I don’t have to swallow or reject media stories about the increasingly dismal lot of the American middle class. Being a card-carrying member of that particular demographic, all I have to do is look at my own personal experience of the past dozen years to gather all the information I need to form an opinion on the subject. And to get really, really angry. Follow me, if you will, into my next few posts. But first, you must promise to get really, really angry, too.

1 comment:

  1. To be honest I think I've hit the post anger stage. There's disgusted. There's really disgusted. And then there's "I'm gonna get me a piss elem club and in about four passes I'm going to be the only one standing" disgusted.

    There's wondering if there's a direct link between the number of cable channels and reality television programs and the the apparent apathy of the American public. There's the so called "liberal" media that doesn't exist. I'm a dinosaur, I still do AOhell. And the slide show sign on screen can have up to thirty or so "pages." Including advertising. Most of the news isn't news but it's buried in the clutter.

    And there's the attitude of a parishoner commenting about the Catholic bishops and their run up to the Fourth. "I don't agree with them, but let 'em have their fun and I'll just keep going to church." First excuse me for shouting: YOU BLITHERING IDIOT. IF YOU DON'T SAY ANYTHING THEY CAN POINT TO YOU AND THOSE LIKE YOU AND CLAIM YOU AGREE WITH THEM...WHEATHER YOU DO OR NOT!!!!!!!

    And that may be part of the problem. Most of us are too well brought up. We don't want to cause a fuss. We don't want to make a mess. To the other folks out there. We didn't get our independence by coloring within the lines. Our ancestors made messes. They pissed people off.

    So, who do we piss off first?