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by Missy Comley Beattie

I was listening to music when the plot of an old movie crashed through the guardrails of my mind. I searched for a title I couldn’t recall. Dennis Weaver’s face appeared. The actor portrays a motorist at the wheel of a sedan menaced by a huge tanker truck. Of course, the driver of the truck is the villain, but since the viewer never sees his face, the truck itself is malevolent.

Some might perceive the metal tonnage as their own private fresh hell. I see it as symbolic of our political system, broken for all but the uber wealthy. Each of us interprets from a reservoir of priorities.

The Weaver character represents residents of Main Street—those who awaken, drink a cup of coffee, kiss someone goodbye, if they’re fortunate enough to have someone they want to kiss, and head off to work, if they’re lucky enough to have a job.

He could, also, represent anyone displaced to a tent city, the poor, the tired, and huddled masses.

The truck is the engine of government, that large body of moving parts that should engage its gears on our behalf, but instead threatens every aspect of our security.

Let me be clear: Wall Street is both the operator of power and the gargantuan machine that’s barreling down, removing safety nets from those who need them most while further enriching the multi-mansion set.

Candidate Barack Obama svengali-ed his way across the country, speaking hope and inspiring. A new generation of young voters and many older progressives believed the message. This hope has vaporized.

Some heard “dumb war” and “right war” and had a red-flag awareness. And we were alert when Obama’s choice for running mate, Joe Biden, said, “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.”

A few days after he took the oath, Obama blazed power and glory with a fireworks display of drones that’s continued and expanded, killing civilians and radicalizing local populations. He has surpassed George Bush’s orgasmic warmongering. Despite receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

On the economic front, Obama selected Wall Street’s deregulator, Larry Summers, as his top adviser. Summers has departed, but Timmy Geithner remains. When Obama chose the two, he said:

I’ve sought leaders who could offer both sound judgment and fresh thinking, both a depth of experience and a wealth of bold, new ideas, and most of all who share my fundamental belief that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street without a thriving Main Street.

Wall Street is thriving; Main is dying. Deals are being struck to cut trillions from programs benefiting the vulnerable, but tax revenues will not increase.

A new Pew study reports a widening gap between whites and minorities. According to Paul Taylor, director of Pew Social and Demographic Trends, blacks and Hispanics have been hit hardest by the economic crisis.

As my memory cycled terrifying images from the Dennis Weaver movie, I hit Google, for more information. The film’s title is Duel. During the conclusion, the driver finally outsmarts the stalking truck.

We the people are engaged in our own duel for survival against criminal conspirators who control our political system—the Wall Street corporations given personhood by the “Supremes”.

Our victory rests in a to-the-bone realization that Wall Street owns Democrat and Republican politicians. It doesn’t matter if a primary opponent emerges to challenge Obama. Or if a Republican ascends in 2012. A vote for the lesser of two evils simply perpetuates the corrosive policies of a machine that’s crashed through the guardrails to demolish human dignity.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Email her at

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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