Wednesday, December 14, 2016

This Is Your Country

How depressing it is to consider all the realities of being an American citizen today.

This is the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook atrocity.  On December 14, 2012, a gunman slaughtered 26 people including 20 first-grade children at an elementary school in Newtown,Conn.

Reality No. 1 — No significant change has taken place since that date in our gun laws, nor is any significant change likely when the new regime takes office in January.  What is more likely is that protections of the mythical right to bear arms will be strengthened.  The slaughters of innocents will continue.

Here are some other realities about life in these formerly United States:

—Your public lands — parks, open spaces, recreation areas — will become wastelands.  For years, extractors of climate-changing fossil fuels have coveted the riches under, for example, Arches National Park near Moab, UT.  Now they will be given free rein to savage that park at their pleasure. Chaco Canyon national cultural preserve in New Mexico.  National forest land in Colorado, California and Alaska.  Rivers and streams.  Yes, even the purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.  All will be devastated because there will be no rules, no governance.  Profiteers will be free to plunder.

—You will buy your drinking water from corporations like Nestle.  It may or may not be pure, may or may not be safe.  There will be no inspectors to verify its safety, no regulations to require its purity, no agencies to curb price-gouging.  Everyone will live in Flint.  

—Only the rich will be able to afford sickness or surgery.  Health insurance costs will soar.  Doctors’ and hospital fees will increase tenfold.  Prescription drug prices will rise, on average, 20 per cent per year.  Some of the most important (because they are life-preserving) medicines will increase in price ten times over, fifty times over . . . . there will be no limits. Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid will vanish.  Nothing will replace them.  The old folks will not only lose their Medicare; their Social security will also be cut to the bone.  Younger people fortunate enough to have jobs will have to either support their aging parents or leave them to die.  Working people, absent a minimum wage or federal safeguards regarding pay and working conditions, often will face such dilemmas as choosing between buying food, paying the rent or buying clothing.  

—Millions of home buyers will lose their houses to foreclosure.  There will be absolutely no curbs on the rapacious banksters who caused the collapse of 2008.  Their best friends have already been appointed to high office in the new regime.

--Roe v. Wade will be overturned.  Get pregnant, bear the child.  Or else.

—Thousands of your friends and relatives will die in wars in far-off places.  They will be told they are fighting to make America great again.  In fact they will be fighting to protect the interests and profits of Exxon-Mobile, Gulf, Trump enterprises and the makers of war machines.

—The enormous total of American debt in the hands of Chinese citizens, banks and the government will be called in.  Swaths of the U.S. economy will collapse.  The president-elect owes huge sums to China; when it’s called in the Russian oligarchy will bail him out and the White House will issue torrents of vile Tweets racially demeaning the Chinese. 

—White racists will menace, abuse and even kill people of color, Muslims, Hispanics and native Americans.  It will be wanton, ruthless and go unpunished. White racists will seize absolute control of state and local police forces.  They will be armed with enough surplus military equipment to invade most of the Third World if they so chose.  Not just water cannons but real cannons will disperse crowds of protesters in your towns and cities.

—Waterboarding “and far worse,” to use the president-elect’s own words, will become de facto common law in your country.  Sass the policeman ticketing you for your “Resist” bumper sticker and you’ll do time, hearing the screams of the prisoner in the adjoining cell undergoing torture.

—Christianity will become the official religion of your country.  Non-believers will be shamed, excluded from work and deprived of the vote. There will be no public schools.  If you want to send your children to school, you will line up outside the courthouse to apply for vouchers.  These will enable you to send the kids to brainwashing centers called charter schools.  

Eventually there might even be federal training centers for adolescent boys to teach them the presidential art of pussy-grabbing. The question is, would it be put under Betsy DeVos’s department of education or Ryan Zinke’s department of the interior?

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