The streets of Cairo were alive with jubilation on Friday after the announcement that Hosni Mubarak had finally surrendered to the inevitable and lit out of town. After more than two weeks of protest, tension and sheer grit, the deal went down and the air rang with shouts of victorious joy.
In America, by contrast, all was quiet. The rich got richer, the poor got poorer, millions of people went without work, and the “news” media kept everyone up to date on the latest criminal doings of Lindsey Lohan.
…but but but…
Things are better in America than they are in Egypt.
Well, let’s see.
Corporations are people, and they own the news. Money is speech. We are fighting wars in Eurasia and Eastasia simultaneously. It’s cheaper to die if you get sick, unless you’re a car, in which case you are required to have insurance. Rape isn’t rape anymore, if you ask the right people. Being gay means the Bill of Rights isn’t for you. Having brown skin is original sin. Guns don’t kill people. Keep your damn government hands off my Medicare. Clean water is a socialist plot. The polar caps totally aren’t melting and stuff. Have some seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. Visit the 9th Ward in New Orleans. Your vote counts, especially in Ohio and Florida. American citizens don’t get “disappeared,” except for Jose Padilla…remember him? He doesn’t.
…but but but…
Hosni Mubarak was a dictator who stole elections and reigned with an iron fist for 30 years. America isn’t like that.
Ronald Reagan took office thirty years ago. He was a product of General Electric and the “defense” industry, right down to his dyed roots. George H.W. Bush, a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group, followed. Clinton took him down so as to deliver NAFTA, GATT, and The Telecommunications Act. Then came Al Gor…oh, wait, right, another Bush, who was his own man, the kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with, because he wasn’t running anything. Cheney, on the other hand, was still getting paid by Halliburton/KBR while in office, and yeah…he was the boss. Or was he?
So, yeah, who’s been in charge?
Nobody knows Pharaoh better than Egyptians. Those nifty stone triangles soaring out of the soil give testament to the benefits of absolute power, slave labor, and why it’s good to be the king. Everyone thinks Pharaoh went away thousands of years ago – it’s in the textbooks, so it must be true – but the fact of the matter is Pharaoh yet remains, and has no interest whatsoever in letting his people go. Pharaoh is ExxonMobil, BP, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon…yeah, any corporate entity dealing in oil, bombs and/or bullets is rich beyond the dreams of avarice, even in the current crummy economy…or should I say thanks to the current crummy economy.
Who runs America?
Not you. Not me.
Know how I know?
I know because Barack Obama is the President of the United States. Like Bush, Clinton, Bush and Reagan before him, Barack Obama is running the show. He is in charge. He spoke oh so eloquently on Friday about Egyptian freedom, change, and the new normal in the Middle East. Barack Obama is the place where the buck stops. Hope and Change and all that good stuff.
So, yeah, “This is the way democracy works,” he said. Like he would know. Like any of us would know. Ours is a tepid, controlled, managed failure of a democracy, if the streets of Cairo are any clue.
Know how I know?
President Obama is preparing to slash home heating aid to the poorest of the poor in order to get an “Atta boy!” from the GOP that will never, ever, ever, ever, ever come. He is likewise preparing to slash environmental protections while on bended knee to economic fallacies proffered by right-wing fools. He has done nothing, but nothing, but nothing, except to give long luxurious back-rubs to the criminal bastards who stripped us of our future. He has made sure those with money will keep their money and make more besides, but for those with no job and no hope and no heat, well…there’s always suicide, I suppose. Maybe you can move to Egypt, if Pharaoh lets you.
Who runs America?
I thought so.
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