In Woody Allen’s 1973 film, Sleeper, a character wakes up in the future to learn that civilization was destroyed when “a man by the name of Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear warhead.” Shanker was condemned by many when he shut down the New York City school system in the bitter strikes of 1967 and 1968, and he was denounced for stirring up animosity between black parents and Jewish teachers.
Well, there you have it. Juxtapose the names of Trump, Bolton or Pompeo for Shanker if Woody had recently made this film. Sadly, this is funny yet frightening. From the late and ‘not so great’ John McCain, only a few years ago, borrowing from the Beach Boys song Barbara Ann with “Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran” to Trump dropping his ‘Mother of All Bombs’ in Afghanistan in 2017, we have evil running things with such transparency. With the help of the Fox channels ‘Trump and chumps” push the empire’s agenda to its fullest extent. They even continually fail to target this horrific rise of Neo Nazi- like white supremacy day after day. CNN and MSNBC, meanwhile, are still railing and insinuating, 24/7, on the Russians and Chinese as being our ‘enemies’. They fail to reveal how all of this is simply about ‘Whose currency (i.e.: Whose dick) is bigger and better?’ This is ALL about the threat to our Petrodollar by the Russians and Chinese. When our dollar is no longer used as the favored currency in the trade-in oil and natural gas, as Groucho announced in the film Duck Soup “This means war!” Thus, the continuing ‘Military Madness Mindset’ that this empire has transferred to the gullible public year after year. It can sicken any rational person to see the slew of license plates and car stickers celebrating our military as if we were actually AT WAR. Folks, we have NOT been at war since WW2… period!! To really celebrate the bravery of our military is to NOT place them in areas we have NO business being in! If you truly love them, well, demand from our leaders to bring them home.
To this writer, a baby boomer who participated in the infamous ‘Duck and Cover’ drills in grade school, these times are becoming worse. One remembers those air raid drills done regularly, especially during the ‘Bomb shelter’ era of the late 50s and early 60s. The siren went off, really loud, and we were escorted to the hallways of our school. Then, we were made to sit up against the solid wall to wait for it all to end. These drills replaced the earlier ones, whereupon kids would go under their desks and cover-up. Either way, imagine the anxiety these events caused for little five and six-year-olds. It really never leaves you. When Hurricane Mathew hit my town head-on in October of 2016, as the noise of the 100+ mph winds built up, we just did the same ‘Duck and Cover’ on our bedroom floor. Out two little precious kittens, trapped in each of their carrying cases, were scared beyond belief. So much so that the boy cat, Algernon, still hides whenever he senses a storm approaching. The sound of the thunder and heavy rain falling on our roof sends him into a panic for the duration. In a previous column, I alluded to what real people in some village in Iraq or Afghanistan must have felt when our missiles, sent by some kid in an airbase thousands of miles away, whistled down to their roofs.
The Guided Age of Amerika (1865 to 1914) saw the super-rich feeding on pheasant and drinking champagne while tens of millions of Amerikans ate scraps. This disparity of wealth was so great that it spawned a multitude of great muckraking writers, too many to mention here. What all of them had in common was that ‘They cared!’ Of course, the 1930s saw even deeper divisions between ‘Haves and Have not’s. The 1937 film Dead End (from the Sidney Kingsley play, screenplay by Lillian Hellman and directed by William Wyler) depicted that polarity excellently. In the film the Joel McCrea character, an out of work architect, is developing a romance with a lady who lives in the high rise down the street from all the tenements… including the one he lives in. The woman, living with a rich lover who she does not love, is enamored with McCrea. He asks her why she stays with the guy and she explains how she too, like McCrea, comes from ‘hard times. She finally wants to leave the man and hook up with McCrea. One day she goes looking for him, for the first time, at the tenement he lives in. When she sees the misery and filth of such a place, it is too much for her, and she runs away back to her life. The romance is ended, before it even can be consummated.
For some reason, perhaps due to the endless propaganda of a compliant mainstream media, many of today’s ‘Have Not’s’ still hold such an almost reverence for the super-rich. The lie that we were all told from childhood right up and through our adult years is that ‘Anyone can make it in Amerika’. Thus, we can all become rich if we just work hard and keep plugging. The super-rich, whether they be in the business world, world of politics, world of sports or entertainment, are celebrated. Thus, there can never be a viable change in this nation until more of we working stiffs stand together and say ‘Enough is enough’! As long as millions of us stay engrossed in foolish dime novel scandals instead of what really Ails us…..