Both of These Things Are Much Like the Other
Two images making the rounds this week have at least one thing in common.
Here are two things I see: history and causality. The debt graph reaches beyond the last news cycle to put recent contributions to the national debt in a 30+ year perspective. Cornel West goes back even further, reminding us of a heady debate during the LBJAdmin.
Ha ha, silly Cornel! No one cares about poverty anymore! The Reagan years saw to that. All that debt the old man racked up had nothing to do with fighting poverty — though he certainly demonized the poor like they were the enemy and not, say, fellow citizens. As Cornel’s sign implies, all that money was put into turning the U.S. military industrial complex into a ridiculously and unnecessarily huge force in the world economy and geopolitics. Meanwhile, the gap between the richers and the poors widened to banana republic levels, the middle class shrank in size and economic power, real wages stagnated, domestic manufacturing skipped town; while schools and prisons became much more alike, although I think prisons may have the edge in educational resources.
So, hey, for all you kids totally maxed on bitchin’ 80s nostalgia: try to remember they were not totally tubular, but totally grody. The shit we presently stand in flowed directly for that toilet decade. Enjoy that mental image!