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Stephen Gyllenhaal

Stephen Gyllenhaal

Posted: November 8, 2009 10:27 AM

Celebration, Cancer, God

What's Your Reaction?

Yes! We should celebrate the passing of this Health Care Bill in the House. Yes, this is the way democracy has worked from its start in this country with its Declaration of Independence for white men (not women, not slaves, etc.) -- pretty much a mess at the start, a mess in the middle, a mess now, even as woman and African Americans have sorted out some of that earlier insanity via democracy. As Winston Churchill once pointed out," democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others have been tried."

But what continues to worry me is a deeper "health care problem," for just as joy emerged from the Democratic side of the House last night, so too has joy burbled up north where the CEO of Goldman Sachs just crowed that he was doing "God's work."

God's work that has netted he and his company billions in just this past quarter alone while more than another half million jobs were shed to the west of what I see increasingly (down there in that anonymous posh building on Wall Street) as the tumor that is growing in the heart of our nation -- Goldman Sachs. A tumor. Cancerous. Sucking up a once well functioning manufacturing infrastructure (with its once attendant tens of millions of decent paying jobs -- not perfect, like democracy -- but functioning more or less for millions of hard working souls) and turning all of that into a sickly, bloated, meaningless form of speculative capital (so called) that Goldman Sachs gets to dole out to its morally anemic self or use to suck up more (more or less) healthy (but not perfect) infrastructures elsewhere, repeating this cancerous process globally.

What worries me most is not so much that Goldman Sachs will ultimately be destroyed -- monsters are always destroyed. Tumors always die if for no other reason than that the host dies. But death to this once strong nation or even panicked measures to rid ourselves of these leeches at Goldman Sachs (for instance the use of leeches in those earlier centuries) would be tragic. We've had enough tragedy so we're going to have to do it, I believe, like grownups with real verve, vigor and care and do it before we are left with no choice but to step aside as some raging revolution drags them out of their offices at 85 Bond Street and guillotines them, which then brings in a short thug like Napoleon, who wasn't much fun. Democracy is better.

So let's apply democracy (as unpleasant as it has played out over this health care issue) to the cancer of Goldman Sachs. Let's use the flush of (an imperfect) victory in health care to push hard t our representatives so that they turn their attention to that even larger health problem -- Goldman Sachs' cancerous accumulation of despicably massive profits that were once American jobs, now lost; the savings of families now moving out of homes; the sweat and hard work of souls now fighting a kind of stress that job loss brings, stress that kills hope, relationships, even the very human body in which that soul resides, not to mention the body politic.

And how does this unpleasant process of democracy get going against the feverish illness of Goldman Sachs? It will have to ultimately fall to the people (as it always does). It will have to fall that nasty ocean of the right, left and middle speaking out and pushing their representatives hard to deal with this problem.

So let the games begin (as imperfect as they will be).

And being as bombastic as I am: calling Goldman Sachs a murderous, blood sucking cancerous leech etc, isn't perfect either, but it's going to have to do, given that I'm sure Goldman Sachs (with its billions of potential, clever, advertising dollars) is going to come at us with everything its got, including the un-clever, even laughable argument (used by so many corrupt, despotic and brutal entities of the past) that they are doing the work of God.

 
 
 

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