Monday, October 19, 2009

Can You Make a Difference? More on Word Play

While rereading parts of Dr. R. Reich's book, Locked in the Cabinet, I discovered a conversation Dr. Reich had with his wife, Clare, about living in Washington. (Washington here meaning the Federal Government Washington) Her take on Washington is not new.

Dr. Reich has his Page at Wikipedia if you are interested. Read the paragraph on this book there. Apparently he fictionalized some conversations.

Whether fictionalized or not her description of Washington is one to which many of us can relate.

It's always the same thing. Who's up? Who's down? Who's in? Who;s out?
It's a one-company town, Bob. Everyone works for the same company in
some way or other. Politicians, journalists, bureaucrats, lawyers, lobbyists.
And all that really counts is your rank in the company. Power, power, power!
No one cares about ideas, values, or even their families.

Robert B. Reich, Locked in the Cabinet, Alfred A. Knopf, NY,1997,Page 5

And while perusing a “blog of note”Meanderings in Hickville I came upon this: “Parks dedicated to liars should catch on in the states. Every politician will have their very own swing set. “ Under a picture in Italy of a park named for Pinocchio. Do Italians really love liars or just puppets that would be boys?

How many times have you heard politics or government described in similar terms. All my life I have heard people say things like: “they're all crooked”; or that voting is picking “the lessor of the evils”; or why should I “it won't make any difference”...

Now take a look at the N.Y. Timestoday. The front page, above the Internet fold, is stories of decisions being made in our names, or not, many of which are tied to money and money is, or buys, power. (Of course, I expect Dr. Krugman to write about money or banking or some parts of the economy.)

The article concerning the war in Afghanistan and the Taliban economy is well written but not really much new. What is striking are comments about how it is a bigger economy than was thought by a member of the House Representatives and that the decision to send more troops depends to some degree on Taliban economy. That decision is also dependent on whether there is an “legitimate” government of the country. The Karzai government is accused of fraud both in the election and in the governing of Afghanistan. The government is accused of ties to drug money, the same drug money the Taliban unofficially taxes.

Another article is on the lobbying of the climate change bill. The different energy groups are each trying to attack different parts of the bill. Hundreds of millions of dollars being spent. Who knows if these groups being split will help or hinder the passage of legislation but money is power.

There is an editorial concerning income tax evasion by the wealthy in various ways. This is one about the off-shore accounts and more on the Swiss Bank Accounts. It ends by saying maybe we can now get the wealthy to pay their taxes. (Dream on)

New arrests in hedge-fund scandals and again in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

There are two articles concerning us peons. One is really more about foreclosures causing stresses on the homeless shelters. The other is a slide show article on gardening and cleaning up a neighborhood in Flint, Michigan. In small ways people made a difference in one neighborhood.

Then read Dr. Reich's blog post on paying hush money and the health care reform. Big money therefore big power. No matter what people really wanted in the first place.

No wonder we all feel it is us versus them. Just look at the above articles as view of the spread of wealth. Maybe it is just life in a capitalistic society where money is power or the purchase thereof.

One big way for you to make a difference in the decisions made for you is if the “you” is a collective pronoun, sometimes replaced with “you guys” or “y'all”, not the singular pronoun. Then the “you” will become “we the people”. Nah, don't count on it. “We the people” will probably never totally agree with the “yous” of us. Yet opting out or “fence-sitting” is making a decision to allow others to decide for “YOU” the singular.


  1. You make a good point about the "fence sitting". Well, you make a lot of good points. I have to point the finger at myself here, and I really don't like it, but we all can do more. Some bloggers are kind of sitting on the fence heckling those trying to be involved. Maybe sometimes, I fall into that category, too. Anyway, I like your article and I am going to study it a little more as I can this evening.

  2. As always thank you for commenting.
    To be fair The NY Times has been running a good article by the reporter that was held by the Taliban. However money was involved again. Kidnapping is a lucrative business not only for terrorists but on the US/Mexican border as well.
    I was also talking to self about fence-sitting.
    Some days I wonder why I keep writing this blog or emailing Congress people and the like.
    All we can do is try.
    Plus in the last paragraph I was having some fun.