Gaslight 2011: Making Us Clamor for Our Own Demise
Blog by Donna Smith, 7/26/11
By Donna Smith
Michael Moore is hosting his film festival in Michigan this week, and I sure hope they are showing “Gaslight” from 1944. The American electorate would be wise to watch it again and to put into context the messages of our elected officials as they work us to do their bidding on the debt deal and beyond. There are acting awards to be given in the latest turn of events – the President and the Speaker of the House might vie for best actor’s honors while the Senate Majority Leader and Tea Party darling Eric Cantor would surely compete for best supporting actors among a plethora of worthy players.
I watched ABC last night – but it could have been CBS or NBC or CNN or FOX or MSNBC, please choose your news flavor. George Stephanopoulos looked appropriately worried -- staged and prepared and ready to hear from President Obama and Speaker Boehner. They are all about the same basic message give or take a Bill Maher coloring remark or two or three.
We’re supposed to weigh in – we in the trenches of America. We working jobs where employers devalue us and customers berate us for doing the bidding of our employers. We’re supposed to call in and demand cuts to our own Social Security and Medicare. A balanced approach, we are told, is the right decision.
Ahhhhhh. It’s summer. We’re all supposed to be able to relax and stay cool. But most of us can never really relax. The billing services and collection agencies don’t. So we cannot.
The reality is that we are played the fools. We are the fools upon which they (those we elect and those we keep so richly appointed on our own dollars) rely for their taxpayers funded suppers. We are simultaneously their protectors and their protagonists. They need us but they think we are the fools to be played. They need high drama like the debt crisis to scare us and to engage us – and to keep the corporate media pre-empting our summer series in favor of the scare tactics.
Let’s have a little reality therapy here folks. More people are suffering for jobs and for income than ever in our lifetimes. More people are wondering where they will secure healthcare. More people are homeless or on the verge than ever. More people are wanting.
Yet, we are courted to clamor for cuts to Social Security and Medicare. We are courted to cut entitlements. We are courted to keep taxes low for those who have already been well protected and those who are already well-heeled. I almost couldn’t stand to watch any of the reports or the leaders – freshly made up and oh so-carefully prepped. None of them say what I need to have said.
Oh, to the gods of political compromise, Oh, to the gods of a better America. But is anyone watching our neighborhoods crumble or our families’ stress and strain? Our utility companies and landlords and doctors’ billing services don’t care much about such things. They want their money now. Today. There is no compromise on the rent being paid on the first of the month or the co-pay being paid at the front desk or the utilities being paid when due. We’ll be shut off; we’ll be denied care; we’ll be put out in the streets.
Just as those who need a progressively financed, single standard of high quality healthcare have been offered a multi-tiered, for-profit Pandora’s box of health insurance horrors, you have now offered us debt deals that are only consistent in their damage to real people – average, working class people.
The reasons we do not trust you – Washington, D.C. elite and powerful -- are that you do not talk in terms of our realities. So do not ask us to validate your agenda. We are too busy simply keeping up with securing our own daily bread.