Apocalypse Now: America with a gun to her head
God gave Noah the rainbow sign.
No more water,
from an old spiritual
From just about every political perspective, here's a quick fix for
all the ills of society:
1. Decriminalize drugs to remove the profit therefrom. This will
cut into the drug gang action which spawns crime in cities large and small.
2. Make guns very hard to come by and intensify buyback programs to
get more of them off the street.
3. Institute prayer in school. Students can pray while going
through metal detectors.
4. Stop pouring money into a loser of a school system and let the
free market take over.
5. Build more prisons to be run by private companies. Eliminate
parole. Cut out the rest of the frills in these country clubs, like
teaching the incarcerated how to read.
6. Fold all government save national defense and let the counties
7. Have all government decisions made by popular vote via phone or
I could add more, but that's enough. Even if everybody's right and
all could be implemented, none of the above will work.
The missing ingredient is the heart which has been cut from the
American Dream: equal opportunity, a shot at a better life.
The shot is increasingly more likely, especially from an automatic
weapon. Your children and their children will likely not enjoy that better
life. They will have an increasingly good shot at less and less.
Without economic opportunity, all the tired liberal, hackneyed
conservative, wacko left and nutso right remedies have no chance to work.
When people have no hope, they start shooting. As I have written
before, if Timothy McVeigh could have looked forward every day to a decent
job paying good wages, he very likely would not have gone into freelance
The required reading on this subject need go no further than this
newspaper. United Auto Workers members are now on strike because the
hyper-profitable General Motors is moving their jobs to the third world.
The shutdown came the same week that Forbes Magazine published its
list of the top 200 billionaires, whose average net worth went from $3.9
billion to $4.7 billion.
To put this mind-boggling amount of money into perspective, it
takes 1,000 millionaires to make just one billionaire. If you hit Megabucks
or the lottery tomorrow, you couldn't come close to joining the club.
The rich are indeed waxing richer while the great unwashed work
more and more hours for less and less.
As I've written so often, the destruction of the American Dream has
been done with the bought-and-paid-for cooperation of federal, state and
local governments. The best handbook on the process is Donald Barlett and
James Steele's "America:" trilogy ("What Went Wrong?", "Who Really Pays the
Taxes?" and "Who Stole the Dream?"). All are available in paperback, cheap.
I also recommend maverick Republican Kevin Phillips' "The Politics of Rich
and Poor" and Michael Moore's "Downsize This!", recently re-issued in
Every just society stands on a tripod balancing the interests of
business, labor and government. Worker rights are an endangered species in
this country. The labor leg has termites and your paycheck shows it. The
corporate assault on government has been very effective at weakening the
second leg. Pretty soon, only corporate power will remain.
Further pushing us down the path toward national self-destruction
have been corporate-funded think tanks which put out information designed
to trash unions and government, increase bitterness and cynicism and turn
off political participation. They've done one helluva job.
Last week, the Washington Post's David Broder printed the latest
A report entitled "A Nation of Spectators" supposedly "traces a
quarter-century's decline in organizational memberships, political
participation, trust in government and in one another, along with worrisome
statistics on crime, divorce and extramarital births," Broder wrote.
The remedy advanced by hypocritical luminaries Sam Nunn and Bill
Bennett: less TV, more touchy-feely.
Bullshit. Pure scapegoating.
How about better paychecks?
People have less and less time for voting or community work if they
are working more hours for eroding wages. It's hard to compete with a nine
year-old slave laborer in Bangladesh or Guadalajara.
Only government is strong enough to spread the wealth. When the
rich and powerful are left to their own devices, they will do what comes
naturally increase their wealth and power. The Forbes billionaire list
The erosions of civil rights, worker rights and human rights are
all related: the less they are respected, the less demand for taxation of
the corporately wealthy to pay their fair share.
The old-fashioned remedy for unfairness has always been the gun.
When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose.
And that's where I end up in agreement with the likes of my Tribune
colleagues in columny Ed Bruce, Ira Hansen and another corporate
manufacturing front called the Nutso Rifle Association. Be prepared to
defend yourself at all times.
Without economic opportunity, the guerrilla armies being raised by
the nation's drug gangs will increase, as will the militias of the outback
and random Klansmen and Skinheads.
Forewarned is forearmed.
We must either spread the wealth like good liberals or face the
fire next time.
Keep your powder dry and say a prayer.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
Be well. Raise hell.