When I was a skinny little kid growing up in Brooklyn, NY, we had two bullies in our neighborhood, terrorizing all the skinny and chubby kids on our block. One day, as luck would have it, the two bullies got "into it" with each other (a rarity, cause bullies usually don’t like to risk losing). Mixed feelings went through us all as we watched them do battle. Though it was nice seeing a little "payback" the grim realization was that the "winner" would now have free reign to terrorize us all.
Reading Jeffrey Toobin’s well written new book about the 2000 Florida presidential vote fiasco, "Too Close To Call", one sees the parallels. This two party scam, perpetuated on we "skinnys & chubbys" over two hundred years ago, still goes on. Toobin documents how each corporate candidate, using million dollar PR campaigns and legions of lawyers, slugged it out through the courts and the media to see which "bully" would prevail.
True progressive thinkers are now reduced to voicing dissent through web sites and the (too) few independent radio stations. The mainstream media has long ago been co-opted. Famed muckracker George Seldes spent his entire adult life, spanning the 1920’s through the 1980’s, fighting censorship. To quote a NYC progressive talk show host (himself reduced to substitute status) "They’ve redefined the Left in this country. What is now labeled "Left" on the various news talk shows was once called centrist LBJ Democrats – yet the right wing continues to move further to the right".
You work for a living. You put in your 35-40 odd hours a week and you take home what, $300, $400, maybe $800 if lucky? You sit opposite the boob tube and watch so called "populist" broadcasters who earn that much in one hour. Jerry Rivera, he of the "blowing kisses", switches to corporate shark Fox News, and takes his act on the road to "follow the bombs". You watch another Murdoch host, "Mr. No Spin Zone, Billy O’Reilly". When he’s not plugging his best selling book, does O’Reilly ever speak of the issues that the millions of "skinnys and chubbys" would really like to see debated? Like, (duh) the need for the same "universal health care" our elected officials get for free? Like, (duh) the debate over whether we need to continually have money decide who holds office? Ever hear discussions about "clean election laws" (following the Maine model) or total public funding of the electoral process? Why should one Supreme Court ruling (Buckley vs. Valeo – 1976) continue to allow the wealthy to decide who holds office? Anyone ever hear of a thing called a Constitutional amendment? "Money is free speech" is an oxymoron – think about it. Recently, the Enron "disgrace" has been covered (covered up?) by the media. Yet, through the fine columnist Molly Ivins, we find out that Enron’s "big kahuna", Ken Lay, and Enron itself had donated two million to GWB. Plus, 75% of current Senators and nearly half the House from both the bully parties had received Enron cash as well – allowing "the fox to continue guarding the chicken coop". Ya think the Enron disgrace would have ever even occurred if we had banned all private monies from politics?
Hello!! Its always been simply about money. The bullies do their bullying because someone is providing them – someone is paying off the bully to keep alive an elitist agenda. Money buys power. Power provides money. When all our little "skinny & chubby" victims begin to realize that fact, perhaps we’ll "cease, desist and resist". We’ll turn off the boob tube news and push aside the mainstream press, seeking alternative information sources. We’ll raise our voices together shouting "enough is enough!". Cause, as every schoolkid knows, a bully can’t stand it when someone with courage and determination stands up to him.
With the rare exception of the few "Republicrat" progressives, vote "no" on election day for either bully. Run for office as an independent and vote for progressive independent candidates. Then we’ll begin to get noticed – and that’s the first step. No bull.
Philip Farruggio, son of a longshoreman, is "Blue Collar Brooklyn" born, raised and educated (Brooklyn College, Class of ’74). A former progressive talk show host, Philip runs a mfg. rep. business and writes for many publications. He lives in Port Orange, FL. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.