Monday, September 12, 2005

Where's the revolution?

Just watched Cold Mountain last night, and it erased any urge I might have to live in a state that was on either side of the Civil War. The cruelty depicted in that film is nowhere refuted by facts; the Conderacy did shoot deserters (though we don't know if they tortured their mothers until they came out) and the union did steal food and rape widows (though their policy on freezing infants is largely unrecorded). It reminded me that we live in a violent nation, and it got me thinking as to why. My short answer is, we will always be violent as long as greed and want are cherished components of our economy (perhaps the European countries from which we sprang have become less violent because they cherish greed and want less). While the rest of the civilized world has universal health care, we think it's fine to give the world's richest people the best possible health care, while allowing the middle class to take their chances with HMOs and the poor to have none at all. Health care is only one of many examples.

My question is, are we still that violent? The two African-Americans I happened to speak with this weekend about the disaster (one at a sign shop and the other at church) feel personally the Federal government's neglect of black people in New Orleans. One asserted that it was a conscious choice by the government to allow the poor blacks to be flooded out of New Orleans so Haliburton could come in and rebuild it nicely for more acceptable people. (Does anyone still remember that Haliburton paid Dick Cheney a $50 million severance package for his two years of work there?)

I, personally, feel it was just incompetence, but if a middle class Afrcian American in Des Moines feels that way, imagine how most of the American South must feel. I do not expect armed revolution, but I would hope for a political reallignment. Die hard republican David Brooks opined that he expected one (unfortunately, his Sept. 4 column is no longer available for free, thanks to the cheap bastards at NYTIMEs).

Paul Krugman, once again, laid out the horrible truth about Bush's executive branch failings today: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/12/opinion/12krugman.html?hp

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