Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm da DJ AND the Rapper

So I went fishing today... searching through the deep pools of my musings and rants, just to see what I could catch that was worth keeping. I found this one. It's amazing what a little vitriol does for one's prose. Makes it all kicky and jumpy...full of energy, but not necessarily well reasoned arguments. Ah who cares! This is my entry into the world of hip-hop. Now I'm gonna go git me some old-school Adidas and a leather jacket. Run-DMC ain't got nothin' on me. Remember this is several years old, so you're going to have to go back to the memory banks for this one, circa 2005.

It goes a little something like this...

The president said something so profoundly stupid this past week as to make my jaw drop. So here goes. Hold on to your hats, cause...

"I'm gettin' ready to lay it down, whack the track
gonna blaze a trail to the truth they lack.
'Said I'm not bound in the red white and blue
Gotta be a part of the thinkin' man's crew, to
your father and to your mother
ride the wave of the evidence from one lie to another and
spinnin' words like I'm kickin' it, freestyle
a blaze of light, clearin' the haze for a thousand mile.
What I'm preachin' you shoulda gotten long agos
but the Media heads ' blowin' smoke out their assholes
consolidation good for the airwaves? etcetera
Easier to keep free speech in check that way, ha!
So I'm broadband-bringin' it, no holds barred
By ' time I'm done they'll be feathered and tarred.
Not enough to stop at excoriation
Gotta hold 'em accountable for the State of the Nation."

(Excoriation...State of the Nation--that's the best rhyme I've made in a very long time...just an aside.)


So if you watched the news, or read a paper this week, buried somewhere in all the reportage (that's the French pronunciation, please: re-por-TAJ) on Katrina was, probably, if your paper/news station isn't owned by Ruppert Murdoch or other FOBs (friends of Bush), a quote from the appointed president (yes, I'm still bitter about election 2000) about the good that will come out of this tragedy: "But out of this devastation we're going to make it [the gulf coast] even better than it was. Trent Lott's house was destroyed; it was a beautiful house. But we're going to build it back just the way it was and I look forward to sitting on the porch with him.

Here, on the gulf coast so thoroughly destroyed by the epic storm, George W. Bush reminds us once again of his pedigree. As if it were not reminder enough that his tax cuts benefit the rich. As if it were not enough that the head of FEMA (Michael Brown) and the heads of numerous other governmental agencies are members of Bush's circle of friends. As if his status as a fortunate son were not, in these words which, due to their utterly crass nature we can only assume were not scripted, he offered in his everything's-gonna-be-alright...Brownie's-doin'-a-heck-of-a-job voice, Bush finally lets us know, once and for all, where the common man stands in relation to him--far enough away so the president and friends won't hear us reminding them that their shit stinks, too.

Tens of thousands of poor and middle class American's lost their homes, utterly and entirely. And the good news from the president is that Trent Lott's gonna rebuild, better than ever (with money from FEMA??? Not that he doesn't deserve it, just asking. Though I hope it takes him just as long standing in line to get his $2000 handout. Ah cynacism.) and our president will be sitting right on "The Porch" with Trent when it's all done, grinnin' like a carpetbagger. Will Trent open his home to some of the people who lost their meager homes to the waters that spilled over and through the levees that received 35 million dollars less in funding than they were supposed to have received? (Where'd that money go...? Oh yeah, War.) Sure, I can see it now. Trent and the President serving over 1000 lemonades /hour to the poor and destitute who just want to share The Porch with Mr. Lott.

But I'm too sensitive. This isn't about the race card. Ok, so Trent and Bush are both rich, white southerners. And hey, I don't really have any evidence that either of them will turn away the poor and destitute who would like to share in the great good fortune of the privileged class. So let's look at the image from a symbolic sense. What meanings does the image of George and Trent kickin' back conjure??? Is it of two men relaxing after a day of "hard work?" Hardly. If you remember what the president told us during the last debates, "War is hard work," and George and Trent have not just returned from the streets of Falujha. Is it an attempt to harken back to a simpler time, the Rockwellian America where we all had front porches, where after the day was done we would gather with family and neighbors to share a sunset or watch the romping play of our next generation? Well, I'm guessing here, but I can't envision Trent's place being a simple single home on a tree-lined street where neighbors are just a "can I borrow a cup of sugar?" away. If they're on the porch watching the sunset, it's probably over acres of professionally landscaped ground secured by fences, walls, or other such means of privacy. Symbolically, all I can read in the image of George and Trent on the porch is largess, privilege, and a blithe indifference to the gulf that separates them from the common man.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on them. After all, this disaster touched so many. I should feel sorry for all of them. And I do, even Trent. I cannot imagine losing my home (even if it's not the only one I have). But I can't hold back. The flood of lies and deceit and bungled policies is just too much, and like an Orleanean levee, I'm broken. Because you see, what I'm talking about goes beyond Katrina. It goes to the heart of waging a war founded from the first on deception. It is the thing hiding in the shadow of the tax breaks for the rich. It lurks behinds the curtains of scripted press conferences and government manipulation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. What I'm suggesting here is that George W. Bush has done more harm to the American image in the world than any president since Nixon. Not only is this President's perspective of reality so off base as to qualify him as hallucinatory, but his vision is so skewed by nepotism, egotism, neoconservatism, anti " liberal--intellectualism " , religious fanaticism, and a host of other -isms as to make him a danger to our society and all we know. His poor planning has colored desert sands red with the blood of almost 2000 US servicemen and women and left thousands more fighting for a goal that is shifting and elusive. His hiring of officials is marred by graft, and his fiscal policy has turned him into the biggest spender in all US presidential history. Finally (and only so because I'm getting tired), because he has a tenuous grasp of the economic stratification that typifies urban America (which brings us back to the quote where this jeremiad started), he has widened the gap between the haves and the have nots in a Reganesque fashion, and given millions of middle-class Americans reason to doubt why we even try to move up a ladder withdrawing ever farther from our grasp.

But it is not enough to criticize with clever insight and pretty imagery. Something must be done. Ex post facto accountability will not suffice here. This government ought to be held accountable for all the lies, miscalculations, and doublespeak it has unleashed upon the public since the day it took office. The flooding in New Orleans aside, seeing Trent and George on That Porch ought to infuriate every single American who cares about justice, equality, due process, and our place in the world. The evidence speaks loudly. Write to your congress men. Rip into those who support the president. Destroy him on the grounds I list above (and all the acres of ground I left untilled (or maybe tilled in letters last year...or the year before)). Now is not the time for conciliatory attitudes or consensus. There can be no consensus when one party rules the Congress and is so thoroughly convinced of its monstrous philosophy of neo-conservatism. These neocons embody what Emile Chartier warned about: "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it's the only idea you have." The danger here is that those who are possessed of the idea are the ones elected to rule over this great nation, and that danger reaches into every nook and cranny of our lives, our bodies and our minds. You should all be afraid. You should be very afraid. And the only way to relieve this fear is to fight it, to oust it from this Porch of noblese oblige.

So this evening if you have a porch, go out and sit on it, and look out into the night sky. In the context of the universe, your life is but a blip, an insignificant smudge of atoms brought together for an infinitesimal time. But in the history of human kind, you are an incredible conglomeration of atoms filled with a potential never before seen in the universe. You have a singular power and will whose limitations are only self-imposed. It does not matter if you write a congressman, post notes via e-mail, or organize picket lines and camp out at the president's vacation home. What does matter is that you do something. Remember Gandhi's sentiment: Whatever you do will, in the scheme of things, be insignificant. But it is very important that you do it. Let your porch be where it starts, and let "The Porch" be what you end.