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The Bush administration has done everything possible to enfranchise their constituency, the already-too-rich, with tax cuts to make them even richer and raise them even higher above those who must work for a living. It has also done everything possible to disenfranchise the working poor by providing them little relief and little hope for a return to fairness and equality in American life. In other words, the Bush administration has been the primary source of the policy decisions which have fueled notions of class warfare in America.
Yet, when those who still favor the values of honesty and fairness speak out against the Bush administration pograms against the working class, Bush comes back with claims of “class warfare,” along with reminders that the rich invest their hard earned money to exploit natural resources, create goods and services, and provide jobs for the people. It follows that rich investors ought be revered and not criticized.
Implicit in this stance is an utter lack of empathy in the notion that the working poor are unjustified in their grievances, a bunch of whiners, much like Osama bin Laden who, we are told by the Bush administration, is just envious of American capitalism and our “freedom” to exploit and capitalize. Given Bush administration policies which nourish class warfare, and given the absolutist, infallible JudeoRoman world view which the Bush administration imposes upon the people, it is simply characteristic of the right wing to defend itself by chastising the victims of its policies, as if the poor have no one to blame for their situation but themselves.
This is simply the JudeoRoman tradition at its worst, re-emergent now in America. St. Bernard, while gazing upon the glories of the Church, once commented, “Thus, wealth is drawn up by ropes of wealth, thus money bringeth money … O vanity of vanities, yet no more vain than insane. The Church is resplendent in her walls, beggarly in her poor. She clothes her stones in gold, and leaves her sons naked.”
Does “class warfare” exist? Well, of course is does. Indeed, class warfare would be what much of the past two millennia of western cultural evolution has been all about. It is, indeed, the story of western cultural evolution that power was originally placed in the hands of the despotic few under the values of JudeoRoman religion, only to be ultimately and legitimately placed in the hands of the people under the values of Democracy. That this evolutionary outcome in America has been compromised out of sight by the values of JudeoRoman religion and crony capitalism only points to the class warfare that has existed in America from the start, and to the fact that America currently occuppies an ideological position precisely 180 degrees removed from the position which birthed it.
In terms of the proper placement of power in America, it remains a conflict between the Revolutionaries and the pro-British capitalistic Tories, with the Tories now in control and only doing their thing by exploiting nature and dominating the people in the name of enriching and empowering themselves and their despotic agenda. Jefferson did, in fact, warn the people in 1816 about the emerging corporate aristocracy which was already stealing power from the people. He summed it up with the comment that “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.” American democracy has, in fact, been highjacked by the rich.
Arnold Toynbee has pointed out in his “History of the World” that one common denominator beneath cultural revolutions is the nature of the gap between the “haves” and “have nots.” When this gap becomes too large, revolution narrows it again. Today that gap in America (built as it was on capitalistic notions of fairness and equality) has become the largest in the history of the human race. We have people in America worth many billions of dollars and we still cannot find a way to get a living income and a little respect to working people, we still cannot find a way to get educational and medical needs to the people that make America work. We stand alone among the western democracies in achieving this despotic result.
Is there a conspiracy among the rich to feed off the poor? Well, of course not. There is no need for a conspiracy when large numbers of rich people think similarly and support leadership in no one’s interest but their own. By now, the Republican notion of “supply side” and “trickle-down” economics is well ingrained in America’s rich, to the extent that they think it sacred ground. It is not so much a group conspiracy but more a cultural conspiracy, launched millennia ago by those living in a despotic Biblical world, those who made despotic political philosophy into a religious way of life, now imposed upon the world once again by the Bush administration.
It is, indeed, a cultural thing, the people being coersively manipulated by the Bush administration according to a despotic Biblical world view which the people had no part in authoring and certainly have no obligaton to follow. That being the case, it is clear that this last hurrah of religious imperialism will have to play itself out before the people will have another opportunity to define their own reality.
Human culture consists of the ideas, words and actions we use to define and control ourselves and the world we live in. If we are ever to eliminate the culture-driven class warfare which has flared back up in America, it is back to the values and principles of democracy that we must return. We must rethink these values on purely human terms, disallowing influence from the JudeoRoman and crony capitalist values and viewpoints which have momentarily stifled democracy in America.
Class warfare is a given in post World War II America, now perpetrated against working mothers as well as working fathers, nevermind the detrimental impact on America’s families. As citizens of the modern world’s first democracy, it is given that our only real duty is to maintain and implement the values we purport to hold. It’s called growing up, a mature acceptance of our responsibilities as thoughtful, caring citizens.
DR. GERRY LOWER lives in Keystone, South Dakota. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org