Friday, December 07, 2012 1:55 PM
I’ve Looked At Greed From Both Sides Now – (Cont’d)
(Or — “Hey, There Are More Than Two Sides To This Stuff”)
But I meant to go on—producing these vanity, xmas-card music-CDs is so distracting I keep losing my train of thought.
I wanted also to explore the ‘in the mood’ aspect of society. To be cheery and charitable during the yule season is the video-image ideal, nearly from the week of Thanksgiving to New Years. A friend and I spoke of it recently, we both had the ‘tall corn’ gene, apparently, and neither of us ever got tired of ‘wishes come true’, miracles, reconciliations, homecomings—all the happiest of happy endings. Hey—I say, “If other people can enjoy horror movies, action flics, ‘war-of-the-worlds’es , and other apocalyptic explosions of use in soothing the suppressed rage of the human animal forced to live in a cultural strait-jacket—the viewer, that is—then we more-sappy sapiens have just as much license to rot our brains in our own way, even if it includes Christmas movies.
But I sidetracked myself. Yes, Christmas Time, the most ethereal aspect of the season, is not a fixed thing, it isn’t a specific day, a specific agenda, or any special gathering of folks together in celebration of anything specific—other than the shared understanding that for about three weeks, we will obligate ourselves to look strangers at the mall right in the eye, with a bit of potential smiling, remaining uncommitted until the waters have been tested. Will the stranger be in the head-space of Christmas Time? Or will the stranger have annoying relatives on the mind and very little time left on the parking meter while turning back for the one thing they came for, forgotten amongst the shopping?
And these are modern, sophisticated times—nobody disses someone who hasn’t the time to smile—we’ve all been there ourselves, and you have to roll with the punches. So, you cancel the burgeoning-smile status and allow yourself, for a minute, the luxury of downcast eyes. When and if your spirit picks back up again, you raise your eyes and try again….
Thus we see that gladsomeness comes and goes, and none of us can be our best selves on a permanent basis. There are indications that having some small amount of personal privacy, at least once in a while, is necessary to avoid mental illness. Our moods are fragile—they find rest in a shared mood, and they are quickly cancelled with the appearance of someone in emotional distress. Whatever happy mood one is in, such an appearance will blow it away like a puff of smoke. It is odd that such a wrenching-away from one’s own state of mind is considered not an attack but a responsibility innocently imposed by someone else’s upset—that is to say, ‘you can’t yell at them for it, no matter how bummed out you are.’
So emotional distress is considered a trump card—society demands that we pay attention to people who cry or scream or yell in anger. Telling them to ‘shut the hell up’ is unacceptably cold-hearted behavior, or so we would think.
But this puts us in the wrong when dealing with businesspeople. They represent a mindless, for-profit corporation, but they can use their appearance of humanity to chivvy us into acting as if we believe they have integrity, ethical motives, and feelings—just as a real human does.
Such foolishness belongs in the same category with ‘raising taxes on the wealthy’ or ‘keeping abortion legal’. Everyone knows that we 99% (and yes, the majority of that 99%–for all of you pro-democracy nuts out there) want it to happen, but we are not surprised that it’s eternally portrayed by mass media as a noble struggle between differing opinions, never to be enacted or reconciled. We are not surprised when something that makes billionaires sad just never seems to pass into law.
When I see Speaker Boehner at the podium, blatantly supporting some stupid delay or obstacle, while our national credit-rating gets worse, instead of better, I could just spit. Just the thought of taxing the biggest of the fat cats would seem to be his worst nightmare, yet we have historically had tremendous taxes on the wealthiest. They were taxed as high as 70%–because they were rightly expected to pay the most out of their huge profits and revenues.
And this “I’m a Corporation! / I’m a person!” comes back into it. Serious, old, wrinkled, white faces mumble into the microphone about stability, or global economic forces, or economic collapse due to the Dems airy-fairy socialism. I don’t hear them say much along the lines of “Let’s just get back to those values we supported during the Bush administration.” You don’t hear that. You only hear a lot of blame thrown the Dems’ way for not fixing Bush’s car-wreck fast enough—surely those who believed in Bush’s policies could do a better job of fixing his mistakes. Or does that sound crazy? Maybe.
We give them credit for being experienced, thoughtful legislators—they dress the part, they talk real edjicated, most on’em, and they become very grave (indeed!) when they link their own probity and dignity to the continued existence of our great ‘God bless all of you, and God bless the United States.’—well, you know. You’ve heard it. You’ve seen it. You can tell these people are living in some kind of bubble that reality will never intrude upon—at least, not until they’re out of office.
Meanwhile, I am often awe-struck in the middle of my day, thinking of millions of jobless trying to survive, for years it’s been now, right? And I am so happy that my family and I are among the lucky ones who get by very comfortably, if not luxuriously. I try not to imagine what could be, if a thunderbolt happened to strike our happy lives. I try to relish life, to taste every moment of time, to always be aware of how wonderful my life is.
But sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Battle, struggle, controversy, opposition—all these aspects of life demand a different and less sensitive frame of mind. There have been times of my life when weeks went by, even months, without a happy thought or greeting—there are difficulties in life that occupy more of our lives than the rare gladness of goodwill. We must turn one off to turn on the other—but we must always be ready to change. It’s unstable—a moving target, if you will.
And so I believe that the federal government is in the best position to see to it an uninterrupted stream of aid goes to the under-served. Making the program a national one insures the best spread of the total resources, without regard for State or Local budget concerns. These fragmented attempts at aid have the same vulnerability to changing moods and changing times that we individuals have—but the Federal Education, Welfare, support-whatevers will remain stable for the much longer term. Sometimes the fact that governments are slow to change can be used as a positive thing.
Taxing the wealthy? That’s what we’ve argued over for two years now, to the extreme neglect of other, more serious issues? And we are expected to believe that the lobbyists pulling the GOP’s strings are not the sole reason for all this debate. Walk down the street. Ask each person you meet if they think we should raise taxes on the wealthy.
I dare you to keep walking until someone says ‘No’.