John Mason, The Mason Missile, December 21, 2014
Greetings! I bid everyone a happy and prosperous new year, for ourselves as individuals, and as a nation. We could do with it, since our nation is still mired in racism and class division.
During the ‘seventies, the media available to me, such as Reader’s Digest and Time, told us that racism was over in this country, after the Civil Rights movement, and African-American people no longer suffer discrimination.
To me, it’s an exercise of saying “We don’t want to deal with it anymore.” Our political-social-economic elite (and their media) don’t want to deal with racism, they don’t want to bring about peace and reconciliation between the dominant white group and non-white peoples-except, of course, to use racial hatred as a political propaganda tool; using racial stereotypes, like “welfare queen,” “urban crime,” to infuriate whites; and our elites, working through the government they supposedly despise, cuts taxes on corporations and allows said corporations to close down factories and set up factories in poorer nations.
This way, workers are unemployed, taxes are fewer for local governments to collect, and such services as police, fire, schools, highways, etc., cannot be paid for and so have to be cut back on and become diminished in quality. And the conservative “private-sector” advocates tout the “free market” as a the cure-all to reduced government services-privatize schools, liquor stores (in Pennsylvania), Social Security, water companies, prisons, you name it.
And since many governmental employees are in unions (yay!), the corporate-media-political machine calls unions the problem, makes them the scapegoat-they’re overpaid, their pensions are too big (don’t I wish!). And so unions are told to cut back on pay, benefits, pensions, health insurance, and job security, so that you can’t pay your mortgage, you can’t be sure of a comfortable retirement after working your ass off for someone else for decades, you can’t afford to pay for visits to the doctor and the hospital so you can lose your health and your life, and you can lose your job due to the bad mood and ego trip of some twerp of a manager who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Yes, you CAN lose all these great things that unions, those dastardly unions, if the corporate types have their way.
Private corporations are to make a profit-okay, I’m cool with that, it’s the nature of the capitalist beast. But there are some things that CAN’T be handled by the private sector: with schools, you need educated and experienced teachers with college degrees teaching kids, and that requires money to pay them, and you can’t have any old person watching the kids.
With water treatment, the private company would replace trained technicians with people barely making minimum wage to sanitize your drinking water. Like I said, these corporations are for making a profit, and they make their profits by cutting back on pay and personnel, and skimping on purchasing equipment, to boost the quarterly profit-the be-all and end-all of American capitalism.
Welfare? We have had the bailout of the savings-and-loan companies in the early ’nineties amounting to $500 BILLION, and the bailout of the same investment banks that led us to the current financial crisis also in the hundreds of billions, and there are NO lectures at “lazy welfare bums who need to get themselves together.”
And with the billions sent to them by the Federal Reserve, their executives still treat themselves to million-dollar bonuses and corporate perks, along with million-dollar severance packages to CEOs who screw up the company–can you get that if YOU screwed up on the job? Oh, no, you would be fired, and called a “lazy bum” on Unemployment Compensation, and you can’t have an extension of UC, “it would make you lazy and lose your incentive to work.” THIS is the reality in this country.
Race, like I said earlier, also remains a reality, the unfinished business of America. The killing by police of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, highlight how minority communities relate to their municipal police, not very well. There was a belief that with the election of Barack Obama, this proved that racial hostility is over, and that we’ve moved beyond racism.
That has been disproved by the disrespect Obama received from the Republicans in Congress, in the form of the idea that Obama should not come to the House chamber for his next State Of The Union address, and the idea floated that he should lose his Air Force One privileges; and in the signs in Tea Party rallies depicting Obama as a pimp or a witch doctor during the health insurance reform debate.
But I’ve just scratched the surface. Race and class are the realities we have to deal with, at the same time, it’s not either-or. Low-income whites have been pitted against African-Americans, telling them their skin color is the source of their superiority, no matter how under-paid or under-educated they are. They are taught to see their Black brothers and sisters as their enemy, the completion for “their” jobs, housing, education, etc., thus having the two sides battle for the scraps and crumbs the oligarchy drops on the floor.
It doesn’t have to be this way; we MUST and we CAN reclaim our governments at all levels to make them work for all the people, not twist it around for the plutocrats.
On that note, I announce that I will, finally, be going to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for Master’s work in Labor Studies; I will be up there for two weeks then return and do the rest of the class work on line. It’s a new system I can and will adjust to. I will apply education to advance the cause of working people.
I bid everyone all the BEST in 2015. Bye!