by Don Washington on 2011/11/23
I get offended when people talk about politics or the economy like it’s some kind of game. Games have winners and losers, with clearly defined rules but when they’re over you don’t end up in a bread line, dodging drone strikes, working in a sweat shop, starving or consigned to a death camp. If you are playing games like that then you could end up a serial killer and should get whatever’s wrong with you looked at as soon as possible. But since we live in a country that is on a trajectory to land us somewhere between the Hindenburg or the Titanic I think we’re down to using musical chairs as a simple way to explain just how bad things are and how EASY, that’s right, EASY it would be to FIX what’s going wrong.
“Screw this game! Nobody gets a chair and I’m smashing the record player… and that will lead to justice for all.”
I’ve had the fortune of being present at a number of Occupy Wall Street marches and when little black flag bastards break shop windows and spray point that damn anarchist “A” thing on smashed things is not helping. Most people are not in the streets to overthrow the government so stop it already because the name of the game is civil disobedience. The civil part is that we don’t deface and break things but that leaves a lot of room for all manner of creative activism. What I am saying is that the world is not going to become an anarchist paradise because some bank, Starbucks or Wal-Mart got looted. I’m also saying that we need the “record player” and the rules of a functioning society or its game over for all of us.
“I don’t care who gets a damn chair as long as I don’t have to pay for it and the music was better when I was a kid.” These are the prick-rat-bastards who have redefined pragmatism to mean whatever the status quo is its too liberal and that’s the problem. Centrists exist to criticize social justice as “impractical” and explain how injustice is “pragmatic”. These are the people who would have been against ending slavery because of the economic and social dislocation it would cause. I’m not even sure if there’s any point in discussing a political position so idiotic that Harold Ford, Thomas Friedman and possibly David Frum all fit in it. So let’s just say that they’re fine with the game and exist to justify it getting worse for the losers because that’s what pragmatism means.
“If you weren’t strong or clever enough to get a chair you’re too lazy or stupid and it’s your own fault. Deal with it.”
You people are unbelievable. If we followed your lead we’d still be living in caves fighting over berries and running from bears. We’ve spent thirty years doing it your way. Getting rid of unions, lowering taxes, lowering trade barriers, cutting social benefits, reducing regulations on corporations, allowing the “market” to decide who gets insurance and medical treatment and look at the absolutely screwed up world it’s given us. Right now we are playing musical chairs the way they said they wanted to play. Now as more and more of us are finding that there’s no place to sit people are getting very unhappy. Conservatives are flocking to the Tea Party because they can’t believe that they were not strong or clever enough to get a chair and it can’t be that they were lazy or stupid so it must be someone’s fault. This kind of thing usually ends in tears or concentration camps.
“We don’t have enough chairs. We should a cut deal about the music, of course talking about music deals with chairs!”
When Barack Obama was elected President he had a Democratic Congress and they responded to every crisis we had by trying to find common ground with the very people who are destroying the country at this very moment. These people are not exactly worried about who gets a chair as long as they are allowed to play the game. Yes, I have my finger firmly planted in the chest of the Democratic Leadership Council, Rahm Emanuel, the New Democrats and the people responsible for the New Republic and Slate.
“It’s someone else’s fault you don’t have a chair and once they’ve been dealt with the chosen few can earn their chairs.” If this sounds like someone saying: immigrants are stealing your jobs, government policies forced banks to lend to un-creditworthy people, the poor are not paying enough taxes, immigrants are dangerous felons, unions are stifling innovation and productivity, public workers have too many benefits, we need to expand police powers against terrorists; then you have some idea of where playing musical chairs like this can lead a society. If you don’t look good in a brown shirt or belong to a group scared white people might blame you better ask for a different game of musical chairs to be played.
“This whole game isn’t fair but I guess we have to play and pick the lesser of two evils until things get better.” You might have met these people. They make excuses for everything President Obama has not done or has done or shows no indication that he has any indication of doing. For example, you start talking about how he needs to restore our civil liberties and they say pithy things like he’s playing chess not checkers or we need to give him a Congress he can work with or he’s doing the best he can given the mess he inherited. They are also huge on saying things like the Democrats are better that the Republicans and this is of course incredibly true. But the truth of the matter is that better and good are two different words and if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome these guys would be looking back at you out of the dictionary.
“The conservatives are right but there should be even less rules, less chairs and faster music, competition is justice.” Here is a collection of people who believe that if you can’t compete the magical properties of something called the “Market” will adjust itself to create greedy people who will have enough compassion to provide enough chairs for everyone if government would just get out of the way. To use the analogy if you don’t get a chair someone else will give you one and all you need to know about this pack of nonsense is that Ron Paul’s former campaign manager died of pneumonia. One would think that Ron would have given him a chair but apparently after he’d served his purpose he should have been clever enough to afford healthcare because Ron had no obligation and apparently not room in his heart to provide for him.
“There are enough chairs for everyone. This is a stupid game and we’re gonna have to stop it.” These are the aware 10% of the country who care about and understand say the Constitution and take it seriously. They are rarely popular when they start asking for the world to work according to our stated values but after a little bit they start movements and then eventually society takes for granted the thing it was willing to beat, imprison or kill them over. Women’s suffrage, Abolition, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the Week end, the 40hr work week, child welfare laws, Social Security would all be their fault. Occupy Wall Street, the Economic Policy Institute, Brave New Films and the Institute for Policy Studies are all examples of these people who know that we should stop playing games like musical chairs and start playing something more like Civilization… wouldn’t that be nice?
“God decides who gets which chairs and if you don’t believe that I’ll do whatever God tells me… watch yourself.” Please note that I did not say Islamic, Christian or Jewish fundamentalist because they are all the same. Also don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against religion. People believe all kinds of things that have no basis in reality at all like tax cuts create jobs, supply side economics and austerity create economic recovery, charter schools are better than public schools and things like that. All I’m saying is I don’t care if some moron is willing to kill me over where Mohamed ascended to Heaven from a rock; that a magic prayer makes it okay to eat Jesus and drink his blood; that Moses called down biblical napalm on Egypt or once Israel rebuilds a temple God the slaughter all the Jews that haven’t accepted Christ. What I do care about is anyone that committed to any of the above that they get decide what the music is or who gets a chair.
“The rich and the powerful know how to best use the chairs and they deserve them. If you want a chair write a check.” To call Republicans cynical is a disservice to them and demeans the word. There needs to a whole new word to describe this band of angry raccoons. Maybe hypo-cyni-tunists; yes that’s the word hypocynitunist; to not believe in anything one is saying but to be willing to say anything to create fear to get whatever one wants. These are people who kiss up and kick down and have the moral compass of a shark in a feeding frenzy. This kind of behavior leads to the amazingly talented field of GOP candidates we are being offered right now for the highest office in the land. These are sorts of folks who will give a chair to the highest bidder, play the music they’ve been paid to provide and don’t think about anyone who can’t find the cash to get in the game. They’d cheat their mothers just like they’re cheating the country. When these people stood in the well of the Senate and said how dare the Democrats say that we don’t care about our mothers as much as they do I say I dare, and I have the f*#ked up public policy you support to prove it.