Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Joe Bageant and the death of dreams

One of the things that infuriated Joe Bageant was liberals. Specifically, urban liberals. He considered them a bunch of wusses who talked the talk, but when time came to walk the walk and actually get out there and make a difference, instead settled for shallow PR stunts like Jon Stewart's farcical march on Washington, which sent him into guffaws of absolute astonishment. Because see, the great-great grandpappies of folks like Jon Stewart were out there on picket lines busting knuckles with the strike breakers of the American Legion (which started out as a right-wing paramilitary made up of WW1 veterans financed by right-wing industrialists) and risking getting their head busted. While today's liberals... oh my. Can't do anything like that. That's for the vulgar common folk, not for white middle class professionals. Why, getting arrested would look so bad on the criminal background check for job applications to Megacorp Inc. and I might not get the job! Go on strike? Do without a paycheck for several months shutting down the country to protest the fact that 30% of income taxes paid by corporations in 1950. 7% today, and you and I now pay that other 23%? Why, think what that'd look like on my credit report! Horror!

Wusses. Useless as tits on a bull. As I mentioned in 2006, Democrats haven't done jack shit for poor white trash since at least 1960, instead focusing upon the urban (black) poor if they talk about poverty at all. And unions haven't been a damn bit better. Ever since Truman busted the unions' chops in the 1946-1952 timeframe, the unions have been by and large content to feed like pigs on slop at the corporate trough, instead of standing up for workers whose jobs are being exported or standing up against unfairness such as trillions in bailouts for Wall Street and nothing for Main Street. When Reagan busted the PATCO ATC union in 1981, that was the end of unions as a real force for labor in America -- the unions could have done just that, *united*, and shut down the entire federal government with a general strike where the Teamsters refused to deliver anything to any federal unit, all Federal workers walked off, mail didn't get delivered, yada yada until the federal government was *forced* to give in and re-certify PATCO, crap, the unions could have shut down the entire fucking *country* the way the French unions often do. Instead they went whimpering off into the sunset like whipped dogs, tail stuck between their legs, useless, irrelevant, and futile.

So you want to know why unions are irrelevant today and why things get worse for ordinary Americans every year as things get better and better for the rich... well, look in the mirror. Joe Bageant held it up for you. Joe and I disagreed on economics -- he was an outright socialist rabble-rouser, I'm a capitalist (albeit not one who worships it but, rather, someone who believes it is the best way to handle matching supply and demand for things with complex inputs and/or where choice matters, i.e., it's a tool, not a religion). But one thing we did agree on was that the whole problem with liberalism in America today is that today's liberals have lost their way and in their haste to condemn Red State America, have forgotten why the so-called Red States are that -- i.e., that liberals haven't done a goddamned thing for them since at least 1960, so why the fuck *should* they vote liberal?!

And so it goes...

-- Badtux the Southern Penguin


  1. "in their haste to condemn Red State America"


    If you're ever down this way we should have cawfee and tawk. I'm sure that there are many areas we would agree on and many that we could agree to disagree on....

    as long as they are based on personal experience

  2. so why the fuck *should* they vote liberal?!

    I won't dispute that the Libs have not done much for them. However, I will posit that they have done little to no overt harm, contra the conservatives who have wreaked untold havoc on them.

    I think the "untold" part is pretty significant, given the corporate media.

    Bottom line is the rich and their goons will take every penny we have. Most people just cannot believe that simple fact.

    And the "Red" propaganda machine is pretty damned powerful.

    I'm too tired to come up with a clever analogy, but blaming libs for the butt ignorance of all-too-many red state residents is more than a little bit misplaced.


  3. Southern schools have always been underfunded and staffed by undertrained teachers. There have been almost no efforts by liberals to change that situation, or to address the bigger issue of unequal funding of schools in general. Because "they" want it that way, so what would be the use, right? Just an example of the sort of attitude that Joe Bageant regularly condemned.

    - Badtux the Southern Penguin


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