Strange Brouhaha

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Does It Start Here?

What's the line between ordinary assholia and a genuine ominous shift in the social contract? The Rude Pundit does his usual scathing job on the Republicans who forced John Conyers into an inadequate room for his hearings and the Post writer who openly ridiculed the proceedings. But where are we headed? Is this just a case of Republicans being a bunch of jerks (again), or is this another step on the road to changing the nature of what government means in our country? John Conyers was raising evidence of potential high crimes and misdemeanors, in his legitimate capacity as a Congressman. If he can be marginalized and ridiculed for that, then we've already got the psychology that there's a ruling party in this country. He's not in it, so he doesn't count. *Because* he is a Democrat, he is a loser in a broom closet playing chairman. Ha-ha.

The thing is, where are we going? In "Why I Left African Studies," Gavin Kitching paints an appalling portrait of post-colonial decline across the African continent. He basically comes to the conclusion that the "governing elites" of the continent just don't give a shit. About anything, that is, except themselves. They've smothered all dissent, and they've created the greedy context in which multinationals take outrageous amounts of profit and fail to pay living wages and so on. They benefit from it themselves.

Kitching's only mistake, in my opinion, is assuming that this must have something to do with the culture of sub-Saharan Africa. Greed knows no boundaries, my friend. The misery in Africa is indeed epic, but has Kitching taken a look at Bolivia or Ecuador lately? Or thought about the water privatization scheme against which those citizens have been struggling in desperation? (You see, Bolivia might be South America's poorest country, but it's apparently not poor ENOUGH, so the good folks at Bechtel and Abenoga figured they'd better start making them pay if they wanted to drink.)

Don't think it can't happen here, as we sit paralyzed by propaganda while our wages stagnate and our pensions are stolen. While Democrats are put in little rooms off to the side and derided as "playmates" playing a "dress-up game." This didn't just come out of nowhere. It's all the result of a long trend. How much further will the trend go? Until the roads are too potholed to drive on, like Kenya, but it's okay because we don't own cars anyway? And our children hope that a nice Indian or Chinese person will decide to pay a dollar a day for their schooling through an agency?

Don't laugh. The African continent used to be the richest on earth.


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