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Stephen Herrington

Stephen Herrington

Posted: January 11, 2010 11:56 AM

2010: Is It Too Soon to Feel Betrayed?

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Health care reform is a desiccated husk of the original intent: no single payer, no public run insurance program, and no Medicare for the 55 plus. There is little, if any chance that the legislation passed in the House or Senate will make things better for the majority of Americans, except in laboriously layering on regulations like loss ratio adjustments and playing with requirements for entrée into insurance pools.

The bailout of Wall St., while it did save the economy from sinking like a rock to the bottom of economic abyss, still seems to anger just about everyone, except corporate insiders. These corporate insiders were direct beneficiaries of the bailout, a measure too abstract for a distraught public to find value in it. Regulating Wall Set. remains on a burner too close to the chilling effect of lobbyists' deadly breath. "Too big to fail" is being rewarded and not thwarted. Executive compensation continues to reward the most risky behaviors. And while unemployment may have peaked, its still registers at 10-20% depending on how the rate is measured.

Terrorism, while there is no way to predict in what state it might have been had it been handled competently, is a thriving threat and mainstay of an opposition party that still mints fear like it was the coin of the political realm. But people could care less about that, about health care, or about anything else, than they do about their economic plight. Far from being able to accept that turning around an economy is far more time consuming than turning around an aircraft carrier, Americans are fixated on instant results, or at least the instant adoption of measures that they feel might produce results. With no consensus on the issue of what will make things better even nearing the horizon, the likelihood of constructive action is as illusive as comfortable polar bears. People should have every right to be upset after a generation of decline in wages equal in magnitude only with the buoyancy of CEO compensation. It is just that if they continue to disagree on solutions, then no solutions, instant or otherwise, are feasible in a congress deadlocked over re-election prospects.

And now, the chart for our way out of the this worst of any possible places we could have gotten to from where we started in Y2K, is in the hands of a Congress more worthy of a banana republic, as rife with corruption as, or more, than ever before. Ever before...One must ask, is the future any less dark than it was a year ago?

In this blizzard of economic insanity and corruption, where is the force that can forge the solutions that we need?

In which party that is beholden to corporate sized contributions for a market based political solution can we trust? No my dear reader, you are not feeling betrayal too soon but too late, just reacting as if it were not the fault of the proper and eternal enemy of your blood, but some new and unconventional outrage. Somewhere in the dulcet toned evenings of comfortable middle class complacency, you fell into a fatal nap from which we, as a nation, have yet to stir, a comma of governance by the people.

Presiding over all of this is a near rookie politician, bright as any possible future, but lacking in the very contextual experience that would have corrupted him as much as educated him, a fate to which many have succumbed. Paranoia prevents us from accepting his relative naiveté on process, we seeming to prefer a scenario of a conspiracy of corruptions so powerful that no one man can resist them. That may yet prove to be true, but there have been times when it did not. The seductions are plentiful while the solutions are few, for the very soul of government we have fashioned, in departure from the rigorous intent of the founders, has been corrupted to the bone by money. Instead of principle, as was the founders intent, the guiding influence of our government is greed. The solution for which is you, your lack of greed and your principles, by which your thinking and conduct is demonstrably superior to rule by the momentum of money.

This is a massive confluence of hard realities in which to awake or to have inherited as your first political portion.

Just as the economy has been going sour for a generation, so has our political climate, and these things are perfectly correlated. The last best defense of the right wing political agenda is not reason, and they don't even pretend anymore, as their only fundamental argument is that the poor must suffer more for the rich to get richer. In 1980, The Great Salesman converted enough of the weak of mind and principle to join the ranks of the claimants of personal responsibility, but socially irresponsible, to change ranks that the fate of the nation was then sealed until such a time as his fantasy could be shown for what it was, a total capitulation to aristocratic rule by a moneyed few. Reagan presided over and prescribed the surrender, ex post facto, of the American Colonies back to their would be regal masters, the rich and powerful. We still struggle with half of the population in the thrall of an elected liar in chief, one Ronald Reagan.

Into this fugue of political pretending comes a man who's promise is to be the anti-Reagan. He is now President. His task is to undo three decades of the astonishing anti-literacy and self serving illogic vaulted to political power by Reagan, first and foremost, for without breaking the hold of Reagan conservatism on the souls of erstwhile well meaning persons, no meaningful change can long stand the ravages of those for whom hate and anger and greed are comforts.

You are betrayed, yes, but not by Obama, not quite yet, and still it is not too soon to act as if you have been, because you have been, just not by the one man, but by your fellow Americans. No lofty speech will move a Senator whose well being is invested in insurance company profits. Only when that Senator sees you define his fate will he move. Selfless service and sacrifice is in rare supply in a political climate dominated by the money required to buy a media message. We are corrupted by the fact of monopolization of media by money, more than ever before, and more than ever before the ship of state will be hard to turn. To the end of turning the ship, the power of Obama's oratory, and his signature moments of grim resolve, are long missing assets to an effort to turn this ship.

Thomas Paine said of the early Revolution, "These are the times that try men's souls." Now is a trial of the resolve of those that, through whatever confluence of thought and principle, have broken the plane of political complacency enough to speak and act in their own and a collective best interest. America was conceived to protect the best interests of the most people. We are embarked on a fight to prove what those best interests are, no more and no less, to the satisfaction of the most people most of the time. Our President can help, oh so much more than allowing any future Reagan to happen out of impatience with the pace of change.