“I have to live for others and not for myself: that’s middle-class morality.”
— George Bernard Shaw
Written by William Rivers Pitt
I have been saying this for years upon years, but it bears repeating: the most awesome, fearsome, and effective weapon in the arsenal of the modern Republican Party is their total, utter and complete lack of shame.
That weapon – the ability to say or do anything, literally anything, even as it flies in the face of on-the-record comments made just the day before, or contradicts thousands of votes cast in congresses past – is the equivalent of a battlefield-deployed tactical nuclear weapon. It clears the field, but good, and if everything is ashes in the aftermath, so be it. So long as effective spin makes the news cycle, it’s a victory for them, and screw the people who get hurt.
The GOP wins when that is the contest, and that is all they care about…and the awful irony comes when the very people getting screwed are up on their feet cheering after the deal goes down, because “their team” won the day.
Watching these recent GOP debates has cracked me up for any number of reasons, but nothing can top watching those millionaires square off in an attempt to prove who among them is the most “folksy,” the most in tune with the working stiff. Mitt Romney, whose personal fortune roars deep into nine figures on the left of the decimal, actually claimed he was a middle class guy during a recent campaign appearance.
Ah, yes, the irony again…just think, if people banking nine figures of personal wealth were actually considered middle class, all of our problems would be solved, right?
Which brings us to the subject of “class warfare.” The term has been a favorite broadside of the right-bent rich-people-first set going on forty years now, and in times past has always reaped them rich rhetorical benefits. We’re a classless society here in America, don’tcha know, so accusations of “class warfare” have all too often sent lily-livered liberal-leaning politicians scuttling for the exits, for the apology, for the eventual retreat.
Oh no, it isn’t class warfare, this is only fair…which earned, invariably, a reply of “CLASS WARFARE SOCIALISM WHAAARGARBLE”…which, in turn, earned another hasty retreat instead of a proper and just reply.
Which is, should have always been, and should now be: kiss my ass, you leech, you bloodsucker, you greedy whore, you war profiteering glutton, you disgrace, you betrayer of America.
Oh, I know the argument. I know it as well as the spit I leave on the sidewalk when there is a bad taste in my mouth. The rich are better than us, they are the ones making the jobs, they have earned their esteemed position through a Randian process of natural economic selection, etc…except for the sneaky fact that a large number of these “business titans” inherited their wealth, and today increase their wealth not through hard work, but through favorable interest rates and even more favorable tax rates on money that is already in the bank.
The top-earning businesses in America today, across the board, are wallowing in record profits, and yet somehow hiring is stagnated. Why is that?
Could it be that these titans are holding off on hiring in order to affect the number of jobless Americans, so as to influence public opinion as we head into an election season? God almighty, to have such astonishing reach…to be able to keep millions out of work in order to put one black guy out of a job…now that’s real power.
Class warfare, indeed.
Poverty has increased locally and nationally across the board, joblessness is reaching Great Depression-era levels, and millions have lost houses to those whose own homes resemble castles, to those who are secure in both funding and foundation. Money does not disappear. It has to go somewhere; what is lost is always found. Most all of us have spent the last several years losing money hand over fist, while Forbes tells us that the richest among us have increased their wealth by vast amounts in one year.
Try to contain your shock.
There is work available for the doing, on infrastructure and new technology fields and any number of other areas, but the GOP majority in the House of Representatives won’t have any of it, because their marching orders are to screw the American economy in as many orifices as are available to try and unseat the sitting president. Period, end of file, and if you still think that isn’t their intention, I have a big red bridge over San Francisco Bay to sell you.
Class warfare? These cretins have the unmitigated gall to accuse other people of class warfare?
It is a wonder of American politics, this absolute and astonishing lack of shame on the part of the modern GOP. They have spent the last thirty years stifling a minimum-wage increase, they blocked legislation to help 9/11 responders pay for very present health concerns, and spent the latter part of this last week trying to screw disaster relief funding for people who lose homes to tornadoes, floods, wildfires and earthquakes. They hate Social Security and Medicare down to their gold-plated bones. Now they are deliberately and intentionally stifling the very economy they themselves tore up, for no other reason than to win the next election.
How are they doing it? Money and power, power and money, and be damned to those who suffer for their desires.
Psssst…it is class warfare: full-throated, no-bullshit class warfare, and the rich ones whining about it are the ones who are winning. Be on your own side for a change of pace. They got the guns, as a man once said, but we got the numbers.
It is class warfare, and has been for a generation. We’ve been losing, badly.
About the authorWilliam Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn’t Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence. His newest book, House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America’s Ravaged Reputation, will be available this winter from PoliPointPress.