Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy B-day Lou

It's today guppies, the annual reminder that my time on this earth is finite. Year after year I am reminded of who I share this day with. What celebrities, what historical figures, what great dramas took place etc. Outside my own life, the dramas seem a little ho-hum, and although I enjoy the fact that Jim Henson makes my birthday auspicious by sharing it (albeit 40 years earlier) what struck me today was a third person who also will be cutting cake and tipping tiny conical hats to health and good fortune today. And he'll need it! Lou Dobbs will be cracking the champers and on today of all days, I am thrilled to realize that perhaps the polar opposite of me is winking and singing too.

Lou's fictitious War on the Middle Class has done more damage to middle class values than many of the right-wing anti-family "values" proposals of the last few decades have. The Middle Class in America was created out of nowhere and has been under attack since it's inception. The rich cease to get as rich as they can, excuse me, cease to "fully realize their potential" when the gap between rich and poor is bridged. True the bridge is mostly white, heterosexual couples trapped in backbreaking indentured servitude, but in exchange they get to pass on their debt to their children and live in slightly less squalor than other unfortunates.

Lou's position on the matter is that import/export trade and immigration are to blame. Companies downsizing and outsourcing to where labour is cheaper are the bedrock of his argument. He also decries the embarrassing national habit of hiring illegal immigrants in order to pay employees at rates below the poverty line. What he never seems to get at in these arguments are the qualities of life of the american or mexican, indian, shri-lankan or any other people who do these degrading and exhausting jobs. It is his view that americans would prefer to have the jobs offered to citizens of other countries and that import/export trade is only agreeable with protectionist tariffs that stymie any profitable resource exchange between competing countries.

You'd think that someone in this frame of mind would talk about the femicide happening in Juarez linked directly with the conglomerate factories these women work (ed) at. You'd think that he would speak ashamedly about his country's leaders stand on the softwood lumber fiasco. You'd think he might decry the disgusting treatment of factory workers who sew shoes and pj's together for a pittance. What he actually discusses more than anything else is xenophobia and how it directs his judgment. "These people" a phrase interchangeable with any non-american person who takes a job they are offered by an american conglomerate either in the US or outside, is how he describes the "thieves" who are sucking dry the economic stability of a strong and prosperous nation. Nonsense. He makes out any country interested in trade or employment as a conniving, currency-controlling vizier who profits off the losses of downtrodden american heroes.

Dobbs fails to ever hold accountable american companies who raid pensions, bust-unions, manipulate markets and outright steal from anyone with something they want. He fails to discuss the humiliation that faces anyone who works in the new plantations and factories of today. He fails to discuss the indentured servitude of middle-class workers across the board whose savings deteriorate to the favour of market investment, whose public education is compromised by faulty system management and lack of funding, whose health is in jeopardy from day one as insurance companies gobble what they can from the healthy and the sick (much like a virus will). Dobbs addresses only the most sensationalist items in his "war on the middle class", a position perfectly acceptable in his position as "upper middle class", a journalist on CNN.

He gravely waggles his jowls when discussing leprosy, but fails to address the rampant tuberculosis on native reservations and small-pox in ghettos. He condemns the outsourcing of jobs to lower-wage workers in other countries, but fails to address the deliberate wage suppression of women in north america. He refuses to admit that the entire basis on which we trade with ourselves permits and endorses segregation, suppression of innovation, cannibalization and of course monopolies. Anti-trust laws and fraud prosecution are a joke I would spend more time laughing at if the non-prosecution of rape weren't a more pressing comedy to me.

Happy birthday Lou. We share this day with many greats and many mediocres. This is the accepted date of the Prophet's completion of his migration to Yathrib, now called Medina where God, through an angel and then him codified the freedom of women to inherit property, get a divorce, the condemnation of female infanticide and the ability of women to attain paradise on their own merits independent of their husbands. We've come a long way baby.

Crack some bolly, you can afford it. And do give yourself a pat on the back for creating and circulating the most useful propaganda today to ignore the human rights violations and fraudulent practices of the most powerful companies in your country. And all under the guise of claiming they are declaring war on your middle class! Well played Dobbs, well played.

No comments: