by David Glenn Cox
As the old song goes, nobody loves you when you’re down and out. It’s
true enough, but still somehow you expect your own mother to love you.
It is disquieting and soul stirring when you come to the realization
that even your own mother has no use for you when you have no coins in
The other day my son called me from the mall to
tell me that he was swarmed by military recruiters all wanting him to
enlist. There were three recruiters in the mall itself and another team
working in tandem in the parking lot. He explained to them, “I’ve spent
the last three years trying to build my own business. Do you really
think that I would just chuck it all to join the Marines? Why would I
want to do that?”
“Aren’t you patriotic? Don’t you love your country?” the recruiter countered with the confidence of a Philadelphia lawyer.
My son answered, “I’ve got buddies who’ve come home in boxes and I got
a buddy who came home messed up in the head, and for what? He’s sitting
in a brig in Texas. He was fine when he left home; now you people say
he’s a criminal only worthy of a jail cell, but he was good enough for
you when you wanted him to serve his country!”
George W Bush is
out on a speaking tour and offered to the one thousand in the audience,
“I am confident that I made decisions based on principle, that I made
calls as best I could, and I did not sell my soul.”
alternative universe could contain such thoughts? The former President
lives in a dream world detached from reality. He thinks after six
thousand Americans dead and seventy-five thousand wounded and almost a
trillion dollars just pissed away that it is somehow about his soul?
if the former President had any regrets, “I spend a lot of time
thinking about Katrina, and whether I could have sent in the federal
troops right away, even though it was against the law,” Bush replied.
statements in a bar or barbershop would earn him a well-deserved punch
in the nose for the hubris, the unmitigated gall to attempt to tell the
American public of his concern and fear of breaking the law. Especially
while more than sixteen hundred Americans died in the streets of a
major American city while the President played air guitar and ate
American politics has become a never-ending
Wagnerian opera; onstage the hero with sword and shield fights the very
gods themselves for justice. Yet when the curtain falls and the lights
go dim, he smokes cigarettes and drinks brandy backstage and doesn’t
give a fat rat’s ass about truth or justice.
The entire health
care debate looks like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. There is
no doubt that health care reform is decades overdue. But the house is
on fire; is that a good time to choose to rearrange the furniture? We
have in this country three million people who lost their homes in the
past ninety days. Unemployment claims are running at more than over
half a million per week! Four hundred thousand struggling Americans
lost their unemployment benefits October 1st because the Senate wanted
to play procedural games.
Before hurricane Katrina, the
population of New Orleans was 485,000 people. Last week a number
exceeding the entire population of New Orleans filed for unemployment.
A number equal to the entire population of New Orleans lost all
unemployment benefits. Six times the pre-Katrina population of New
Orleans have lost their homes since July.
debate is being waged along partisan lines, your health versus large
corporate profits. The Congress struggles to find a balance; meanwhile,
the nut balls on the right call it socialism and ask, by what power
does the constitution allow the government to intrude into the
healthcare industry? But a better question to ask might be, by what
power does the constitution allow the corporations of the country to be
placed on the balance scales against the wellbeing of the people?
weekend the President declared the H1N1 flu outbreak a national
emergency. Very well, are there any inoculations available for cold
weather? Homelessness? Unemployment? Underemployment? A government with
seven billion dollars in aid money for social programs in Pakistan
tells its own unemployed, “Well, we will just have to wait and see.”
That’s cold comfort, Bubba! Tell your countrymen with children that
maybe there will be more jobs next year or the year after that.
stimulus? Maybe you haven’t been paying attention, and very little has
been reported in the news what with Jon and Kate and the balloon boy,
but most of the stimulus has been swallowed whole by the gaping budget
deficits. Many of the highway projects have been postponed because of a
precipitous fall in highway fuel tax revenue. The cities, the states
and counties of this nation face billions in budget shortfalls. Their
plan is simple, cut workers, cut services, cut pensions, cut wages. Of
course in government they use euphemisms to explain this, but out here
on the street we call this plan “Fuck you!”
explains how they’re fighting for or against healthcare reform to
people sleeping in tents. How they will fight to the ends of the earth
for the public option when what was needed was single payer, but that
was off the table because corporations couldn’t profit off of your
illness with single payer. They treat us like the Eloi, and millions of
gullible sheep are sitting quietly and waiting for the sirens to go off.
become a populace living in a semi-conscience state, unaware and
clueless. Numb and emotionless, clinging to meaningless euphemisms and
statistics. Reciting jingoistic slogans over a mother’s tears. A
“casualty” means that some American boy’s head has been splattered on
the ground for some god-damned political theory for the ignorant.
Wasted in the name of corporate America, but we love our troops.
love our troops until they come home and are discharged; then they’re
just another bum, another loser. That’s how we refer to any Americans
not above justice or above poverty. These are how Americans are treated
with contempt and neglect, blamed for all that has gone wrong in the
That blame is aided and abetted by media
murderers and assassins of truth, gorging on the flesh of human misery.
Marching with their god-damned tea bags in one hand and their hammer
and nails in the other, looking for another poor sucker to nail to that
cross in the name of God. I shake my head and wonder, where do these
Waving their flags and professing their love for
a country that wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire. Crying
undying love for a country that lets its citizens drown out of a fear
of breaking the law or get thrown out into the streets in the name of
good banking reform. It shakes my soul to say it, but I will say it and
will continue to say it until I see different, loving this country is
not much different than falling in love with a prostitute.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.