Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Grapes of Wrath are no longer affordable

Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell

"A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just a little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody . . . Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too."

Tom Joad, "The Grapes of Wrath"
Do today's high school students still study John Steinbeck's, 1939 classic , The Grapes of Wrath, a novel infused with indomitable perseverance, personal sacrifice, and a Christian tenderness towards the truly less fortunate? If not, they should. Given our current financial mess, perhaps they’ll find it stimulating reading while marching from city to city looking for a job.

I remember my dad once telling me that no generation can know how resilient it is until it survives a depression. Wars, he said, come looking for the young every five minutes, but a drop on your knees financial Armageddon like the Great Depression tests the true mettle of the human spirit. While cathartic, pointing a gun at a bank building rather than at an enemy soldier wins you no ground except in a prison yard.

The Bizarro World of Republican political consultants fascinates me for they speak a language of callousness and brass-balled inflexibility towards the poor, the weak and the infirm that would have Jesus picking up the 16 oz gloves. Cloned from tombs rather than born from wombs, these characters spew forth enough foul bilge water on the 24/7 cable news services to inundate most of the fly over country which they swear they speak for. They utter the word "No" more often than the girls I asked out in high school (and college and post college). The "facts" they herald with such impenitent certainty emanate from orifices that only proctologists are licensed to explore.

The current Obama stimulus plan has them harmonizing in tongues. They speak "fat cat" lingo as a Woody Guthrie lament. Their latest appellation of dread is the term “class warfare” as if that's a ballad alien to these shores. According to them, this measure will suddenly pit rich against poor, businessmen against labor, gerunds against dangling participles. The world is coming to an end and non corporate Socialism is just around the corner. These chicks and chicken hawks either know so little about this nation's history or hope none of the viewers do. America is nothing if not a constant train of Credit Mobilier schemes and scandals. In fact we've had more booms and busts in our 200 plus years than an all night Vegas burlesque show.

Who are these lockstep lemmings? Which casting agency recruits them? How long does it take to fill their heads with the same identical talking points? Who pays for their straight teeth and the women's flouncy blouses? And how can they find so many young black Republicans to speak like so many young white Republicans? Questions left unanswered.

They hate everything they personally have themselves and they make a nice living at it. Can anyone believe that these jokers walk around with no medical coverage, for instance? Their invectives against that idea are loud enough to crack off the nose of Mt. Rushmore's Washington. Or that they don't get paid hefty fees by various political action groups or think tanks to run around like well coiffed but highly rabid Ole Yellers (I grant a poor play on words). Perhaps one day after a spirited discussion on said issue, one of the highly paid 24/7 teleprompter readers might ask one of these babbling bloviators which health coverage they have and whether it is a PPO plan or, like for the rest of us, the UFO option.

Wouldn't it be nice if one day all of us had the same benefits as Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman John Boehner and even Congress’s very own Vampira, Michelle Bachman? They seem to have problems bestowing on the American people the same beneficence afforded them. I wonder if that can be construed as classless warfare.

I will continue to watch the distaff Republican spokespersons. They resemble the type of woman I've only been able to speak to after placing several cool crisp Franklins in their hands. If truth be told, I get turned on by vixens who use enough lip gloss to lubricate truck axles.

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