It's been a pretty busy week for me and I haven't felt much like writing in my down time. I've also reached a point media saturation where I'm almost afraid to write for fear that I'll just end up spurting out a few Alterman/Dowd-isms instead of actually hashing out a theory of my own.
My deepest desire, my number one Amazon wishlist pick these days is that I live long enough to see the day when Washington isn't run by old rich white men. You look at all the problems today. war, recession, misogyny, racism, and all them have one thing in common; the paranoia of old rich white men.
Being old and white and male isn't necessarily bad. Nor is being just old, old and white, old and male, or old and rich. But the combination of being old, white, rich, and male allows for too many bad elements to come together; greed, paranoia, narrow-mindedness, and power. Old rich white men are dangerous for their several reasons. The first is their age makes them tend to have a throwback narrow and paranoid frame of mind. In addition be being bigoted and vicious they've lived too long to have their minds changed. This pretty much means that we are stuck with their phlegm coated rantings until they die. If they are lucky enough to alse be rich then they are more influential and less open to attack. Think Richard Melon Scaife. Scary. The being white part has a few different aspects to it. Rich white men have a vested interest in instilling their own paranoia onto middle and working class white men. Since they can't relate to them on a real slice of life level, they create a sense of kinship based on being white and then foster the fear that the white man is somehow being sidelined. Norman Mailer explains part of this phenomenon:
He [the white American male] had been taking a daily drubbing over the past 30 years. For better or worse, the women’s movement had had its breakthrough successes and the old, easy white male ego had withered in the glare. Even the mighty consolations of rooting for your team on TV had been skewed. There was now less reward in watching sports than there used to be, a clear and declarable loss. The great white stars of yesteryear were for the most part gone, gone in football, in basketball, in boxing, and half-gone in baseball. Black genius now prevailed in all these sports (and the Hispanics were coming up fast; even the Asians were beginning to make their mark). We white men were now left with half of tennis (at least its male half), and might also point to ice-hockey, skiing, soccer, golf, (with the notable exception of the Tiger) as well as lacrosse, swimming, and the World-Wide Wrestling Federation — remnants and orts of a once-great and glorious centrality.
The sense of centrality is key to this argument. It's the only-child complex played out in the larger socio-political arena. Not only does it cultivate this fear of having what is yours taken away from you, it also protects you from the guilt of trampling on the rights of "others."
Over the past 18 months, the U.S. government has bought access to data on hundreds of millions of residents of 10 Latin American countries -- apparently without their consent or knowledge -- allowing myriad federal agencies to track foreigners entering and living in the United States.
Minorities, women, gays, foreigners all of these in grasping for the 10-20% of resources are the enemy because that gain for them is seen as a loss for CEOs who see that 100% as theirs. Nevermind creating more opportunities. This world just ain't big enough for all of us.
It's no accident that Viagra receives more attention than female contraception. It's no accident that in the year 2003 we are still debating the legality of sodomy. It's not simply callousness that allows Justice Scalia to joke about Black Voting Rights Why worry about other people's lives when your comfortable lifestyle is in danger of being made slightly less comfortable because a Democrat might make your fat cat friends pay their fair share of taxes so that some urban school can hire more teachers and reduce class sizes?
If there was any sort of cosmic justice in the universe every bigoted paranoid old rich white man would end up with a gay son or a daughter living in sin with a Puerto Rican Marxist. At the very least we can take comfort in the fact that despite their wealth and privilege, they can't lead very happy lives. The incontinance alone is enough to make anyone curse the world, and they'll likely die miserable and spiritually alone. Far be it for little old me to hope that they go to hell, so I won't. But I would like St. Peter to at least backhand them across their pruny toothless mouths before grudgingly admitting them through the pearly gates.