Friday, March 11, 2011

Searching for a Metaphor

It seems we’ve come to one of those junctures, one of those points in time, a confluence of events when things can go one way or the other. Again.

A “resurgent” Republican party that’s been swept back into majorities at the congressional and state levels has inserted that rising surge into another hornets’ nest. While the GOP can always be counted upon to come back from any defeat meaner and badder than before, they are currently orchestrating a breathtaking display of the fact that they can also just as reliably be counted upon to overplay their hand. And any observer would have to admit that these past two months have been spectacular. As political offensives go this one has all the shrewd subtlety of a drunken bellyflop into the country club pool at the Membership Drive Cocktail Social. Riding into office on a promise of “jobs, jobs, jobs,” we’ve seen a bait and switch so naked, so bald, so in our face that, if any sense of objectivity is maintained, it’s actually pretty funny. After the Democratic controlled “lame duck” session passed an extraordinary slate of social, foreign policy and financial legislation – including all the tax cuts for the rich called for by Republicans to stimulate the economy (resulting in unemployment decreases in less than half the states, and increases or stagnation in the rest) – we’ve now seen a coordinated offensive aimed at rolling back what’s left of the rights and protections of the smoking crater that was the middle class. 

“Mr. Boehner where are the jobs?” 
Now thirty states are seeing some form of anti-abortion, anti-choice measures being railroaded through their assemblies, including, of course the Georgia Peach, HB1, calling for the death penalty for any woman who suffers a miscarriage. Planned Parenthood is about to be put down. Then there are the real headliners: The anti union laws currently being stuffed down the throats of Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and a slew of other states. Originally sold as a necessary sacrifice to balance the budget, Wisconsin Republicans finally stepped out from behind the curtain while the Democrats were in Illinois reuniting with their spines and tore the budget pretense right out of the bill pushing through its substance, the part that strips unions of any right to bargain. In case you’ve been off somewhere drinking tiger’s blood and haven’t noticed, that’s caused a commotion we haven’t seen in this country in a very long time. 

“So where are the jobs?” Dunno, but on top of hundreds of thousands of economically stressed Americans chanting and marching in the streets we’re also being treated to Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, two GOP Presidential contenders actually trying to sell the notion that they’re better qualified for the presidency because “Obama’s a Mau-Mau,” and Mr. Gingrich’s passion for this country is so great it can only find its full expression between the legs of someone he’s not married to. And don’t forget Peter King (R-NY) the former IRA fundraiser and weapons procurer who’s now convening witch hunts into the political and spiritual leanings of American citizens from a religion he doesn’t like. Everyone’s seen and heard these things, I’m simply listing a bunch of highly publicized facts. Now, “where are the jobs?”

Dunno, but here we are with this amazing spectacle unfolding and my real problem is finding the right metaphor as I prepare to watch the Democrats pounce on yet another incredible opportunity handed to them once again by the blatant Patrician arrogance of the Republican Party. 

One possibility that leapt immediately to mind, perhaps as a nod to local inquisitor Congressman King, is game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Tens of thousands of Reagan Democrats are marching in the streets all over the country having finally been handed their pink slips by the Party of Prosperity which feels apparently that they have no place else to go since this legislation effectively strips the Democrats of their last organized support. They’ve been had, again and again, and they’re finally pissed. Progressives, Liberals, Pundits and other big mouths are screaming for recalls, recounts and strikes! We’re hearing Pearl Harbor allusions to the awakened dragon or giant or giant dragon, the American Worker, and he thirsts for justice. People are talking about “tipping points.” To me all this pandemonium resembles nothing so much as that low, bouncing grounder sputtering down the first base line to where Barak (Bucky) Obama crouches uneasily, nervously fumbling with his glove. “This is it,” I remember saying to whichever one of my ex wives I was with at the time, “watch, Boston’s gonna win the world series.”

Or maybe this should be a little more high-brow than baseball. Instead of popcorn, peanuts and a pitcher’s mound it’s just a single earthen barrow near a leafless tree in a desolate landscape. Two non-descript characters (call them Progressives) sit near the tree, waiting. A couple of times a young boy enters, stage left, with a message – cryptic, enigmatic – more questions than answers, time stands still … we wait …

Nah, that’s not it.

How about picturing all of us who voted Democratic as a nervous young parent watching his small child wobbling down the sidewalk on his two-wheeler for the first time without training wheels. The sun reflects crazily off the shiny blue oversized helmet as the kid careens unsteadily, almost drunkenly toward the busy four-way intersection. “C’mon babycakes,” you can’t help but yell. “Remember your promise, you can do it!”

I got it. I got it. How about there’s a thirty-year train wreck of Conservative financial policies inexorably eroding the living standards of what had been the economic engine of the entire goddam planet finally culminating in the eight year reign of a boy King installed in office by his wealthy fathers’ wealthy friends. Let’s say he’s so petulantly arrogant in the certainty and virtue of his ignorance that he uses the entrenched power of these narrow self-interested oligarchs to start two wars on Dad’s credit card while emptying the treasury for all the family friends, accelerating the rate of national decline into a headlong spiral. A substantial majority of the American people become alarmed and vote a young opposition leader gifted, surprisingly, in the arts of both soaring oratory and hard-nosed pragmatism into the White House along with “veto-proof” majorities in both houses, empowering them to band together to begin rolling back the narrow short-sighted policies enforced on the rest of us by a generation of self aggrandizing hustlers and pimps.

Oh, wait. That’s not a metaphor.


  1. I love it - especially your description of Newt's passion, the passion that forced him to be a philanderer.

  2. I had to read that line about Gingrich aloud to myself. Brilliant! That's Pulitzer material, ya ask me.

    Just discovered your blog, and so far have only read two postings, this one and Capitalism (which is how I found you...someone linked that essay in a posting on another blog.

    Very impressed so far. Awesome job.