Fill er up!

My fellow Americans…

When I’m home during the day, working– or, at least, intending to or seeming to work, I keep some easy-listening station on in the background– And, of course, I hear the hourly news reports.

One news item yesterday, in the midst of all this tragic craziness about oil and gasoline prices that I found completely astounding, and, sadly, perfectly symbolic about the near fatal illness of this country…
The announcer said that Exonn-Mobil had announced a quarterly profit of 8 Billion dollars… OK, that’s criminal enough, considering everything that surrounds that figure and what it means for all of us– but here’s the real kicker… The newsguy went on to say: “…Wall Street expressed dissapointment in the report, expecting the profits to be higher— and sent the Exonn’s stock down slightly.”
(Historical note: Wall Street was named for the wall put up by the Dutch to keep the Indians out of its settlement on the tip of Manhattan.
And, at one time, the largest slave-auction site in the northern part of the country was situated at the eastern tip of Wall Street on the East River.)

Is it really as simple as blaming Bush and his thieving cronies for this mess? Maybe it is. But watching the hockey playoffs on TV for the last few days (and using up my fair share of non-essential energy), I was bombarded by commercials for SUV’s, “Off-road” leisure vehicles, Power Mowers, Power-boats, etc. etc., ad nauseum.
The vast amount of energy used by this country for non-essential activities is not the fault of the Bush administration– any more than the trash on TV is necessarily the fault of the TV executives. Businesses will sell what the public buys– that’s the basic truth of America– the true bottom-line of our national soul.
Bush and Cheney and all those theives and murderers– these types have always been with us–since humans walked upright… What has also always been with us is the great passive crowd of others who share at least a portion of their leaders’ greed, lust for power and desire to wallow like happy pigs in the great mudpile other people’s misfortunes…
This is certainly not an exclusively American quality– a brief reading of history shows that it has always been thus… The average jerk in the Roman Empire, or The British Empire (or The Nazi Empire for that matter) was only too glad to wave the flag, cheer on the troops and reap the benefits of colonial depredations.
Its sad to see your own country following so relentlessly in the footsteps of other Empires… Sad, not because it was never there from the beginning (The murder of, and theft from the Indians, Slavery, vicious invasions of other nations and peoples)… What’s sad is that the original documents, the ideals that were laid down originally when the country was created, had such great possibilities for equality and humanity.
I know very well it was deeply tainted from the start– but I guess I share, with my forties-fifties generation, at least the image and the belief of America being, in its concept, if not its actions (WW2) one of the good guys.
Well, maybe it was all nonsense to begin with– but the words on the original documents are still there– is it possible they could ever truly be put into practice? Who knows?

– Mike Feder (New York City – April 28, 2006)

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