Thursday, July 22, 2010

Protecting Americans, the Class Difference

The news just announced that Congress passed a bill to protect Americans from predatory lenders. Well, good for Congress! That's the kind of protection Americans need. I'm sure we'll see an end now to usurious interest rates, payday lenders, unasked-for credit offers, outrageous bank fees, etc.

But it got me thinking about "protecting" Americans, because that seems to be the phrase de rigueur for any number of Congressional actions.

Regular Americans, and by that I mean the 99% of us on the bottom, not the Sarah Palin "white" version, want to be protected from the excesses of capitalism, even if 98% of us couldn't identify capitalism as the problem.

Adulterated food, unsafe water and dangerous workplaces were among the first dangers to be identified. Ralph Nader identified cars with windshields that acted like guillotines when unseatbelted people flew into them as a problem, followed by cars that exploded when rearended (the number one version of the millions of car crashes a year).
Polluted air, mercury contaminated water, unsafe chemical additives in food, as well as bacterial contamination. You get the picture. There are plenty of dangers that Americans need to be protected against.

Now we are in danger of losing our jobs, our houses, and our healthcare.

But what does the ruling class identify as dangerous to Americans?

Bolsheviks! Are they in your washroom? The ruling class was in an uproar over Bolsheviks for a while.

Russian Communists! After WWll, in which the USSR lost 20,000,000 people and most of its infrastructure, we were told that their greatest ambition was to come across the ocean and attack us!

The Nicaraguans were only a couple of days drive from Brownsville, Texas, remember? So we had to attack them, as well as Cuba and Grenada, both islands from which armies were unable to drive, if Grenada had had an army.

The Vietnamese were a threat to our freedoms! And Iraqis (and now Iranians) were working on getting a nuclear bomb someday, and then working on a way to launch it towards us someday after that!

The US military has attacked people all over the world to "protect our freedoms".

After our freedoms were attacked by Congress and the Presidents under the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Military Commissions Act, the FISA Act, the Homegrown Terrorist Act, and all the rest of the sorry bunch, they dropped the "protect our freedoms", and now just "protect Americans".

Notice that? It's the one very small concession to reality. Our freedoms, having been attacked and destroyed at home, can't really be protected overseas, can they?

So the rhetoric changed. No longer having freedoms, our very persons must be protected.

From random individuals, though, not from systemic class based violations of our ecosystems and economy.


engineer said...

Wage has amazing insight.

Amerikans will believe anything!

USans will believe anything, when they want to, such as to preserve the dumb version of the government as handed down in the 2nd grade. First grade was coloring books with mostly red and blue for flags.

But does it really make sense to spend a trillion chasing terrorists when (so the story goes) there were was a band of a total of 100 or so of disgruntled Saudis. How to make friends and influence people. The problem always is that the judge, jury, and criminals are one and the same. Seems to easy to see through.

David G. said...

The real story is that the world needs to be protected from Americans.

How did America manage to turn its dream of a Brave New World into an Empire of Evil? Why does it love endless killing and destroying and torturing people from other lands?

Why does it make life miserable for most of its own people and support the ultra-wealthy and the religiously deranged?

Any answers?

SNAFU said...

I have observed that the religiously oriented (orientated for the GWB fans) and the educationally limited U.S. Americans appear to be the most gullible. I have known intelligent military officers who tithed 10-20% of their take home pay to Jim and Tammy Baker, in their heyday, and I have known ignoramuses who started smoking and drinking barely into their teens, my sister was one, continuing such until their untimely deaths in their 40's and 50's. I doubt that Americans are more gullible than any other tribes on spaceship Earth. Perhaps it is the inability for the vast majority of humans to think outside the mores and culture into which they were born and raised. Having met people in NYC who had never lived elsewhere than the block they lived and rural neighbors, next door, who have lived their entire lives on the farms that border mine and my daughters it struck me that they all desired to live in the "good old days" of the past.

I do agree with you that Americans will believe the most astounding drivel if they think it has any capacity to return them to what they perceive as their rightful place; unfortunately I think this genetic defect afflicts most all of the Earth's human population.