Monday, October 15, 2012

Autocrats Flexing Their Electoral Muscle

I was thinking about reviewing the Cuban Missile Crisis, which happened now fifty years ago. It's an interesting story - how close we came to World War Three and what happened to avert the disaster. Then I realized something. I had already written on this subject a few years back. If the whole thing has you scratching your head, just say so in the comment space below and I'll refer you to some things - maybe even the Kevin Costner movie they made about it.

My assignment in the church these days involves lots of small things, including asking people to speak in weekly meetings. Of course, some people do this better than others, and some are terrified of the prospect. Others are scared, but will do it if asked. Such was the case last month with one of the sisters, a good-hearted woman in her early seventies, known for her generosity and kindness, but a bit self conscious about her own perceived lack of a complete education. She was nervous, but showed up as asked three weeks ago. Her talk, about fifteen minutes long, was well-received, and a good number of people took the opportunity to thank her for it. I suspect it had been several years since anyone had asked her to speak at all.  
A week later she entered the hospital to receive a new knee, something that's become fairly common in our aging congregation. The surgery went fine, but sometime between four and five A.M., a blood clot, it is felt, blocked her circulation and caused her death, just nine days after her talk.
It was a surprise and a shock. Family members gathered here from all over the Western US. A memorial service was held last Saturday, in which I had almost no role. I guess you could say that, as deaths go, this one was as good a way to go as any, and better than most. And I'm glad she had the chance to deliver a compassionate message in a church meeting before her passing. For myself, I just  hope that the members don't start associating my phone calls with, you know, the end.

Nobody honors rich people as a class more than the United States, and I suppose that's understandable since the whole society is set up to promote commercial success. Sure, the jealous journalists used to call them "robber barons", but those reporters would have traded places with them in a second. Think about it. If someone is described as "successful", we can be pretty sure that it's not because they are good at playing catch, combing their hair or playing Monopoly.
Some rich people are refreshingly humble about it, but there's always the chance that their status will be misused in some way. Naturally, the richer people are, the greater the chance of massive bad decisions or bad taste. After all, who's going to be honest with them unless it's someone even richer?
Within the past week I've read about three no doubt fabulously wealthy people bringing back a kind of ugly practice - telling their employees how to vote, and threatening them with professional extermination if their man (yes, Mitt Romney, though I'm fairly sure this wasn't his idea) does NOT  take the Oath of Office next January.
It's hard to know if the threats are really serious, but they are put in very serious terms to get the message over to the bums (almost everybody) who have somehow scammed their way onto the payroll. There could be layoffs! We might have to shut down part or ALL of this organization! YOU (not me) could find yourself on the streets looking for work as an organ grinder without a monkey! Want to take that chance? I didn't think so. We're counting on you to vote Romney in, pal. Capice?
These guys, of course, aren't stupid. They know that controlling someone's secret ballot is something not even they can do. Still, with bosses like that, who's going to want to bring up the subject at work at all? No one will want to be heard talking about the success of the Obama stimulus or the high level of planning that must have gone into getting bin Laden. No. Lunch room conversation will be no broader than picking the next week's NFL games. Obama followers will have to do so in secret, or at least until they have another job offer in hand. If they do leave, the bosses might care for thirty seconds, but probably not that long. 
And that's the way they want it. Just because the employees outnumber the bosses a thousand or more to one, that doesn't mean that their silly opinions count for anything in OUR, which is to say, autocratic, America. We're the job creators, and if we aren't happy we can be the job destroyers as well. Meanwhile, somewhere in a secret room at Koch Brothers Industries headquarters is a well-locked room with a man inside trying to work out a plan to get his bosses' faces on Mt. Rushmore. Why not? Everyone already knows what Washington and Lincoln looked like, and those other two guys (Roosevelt and Jefferson?) were socialists. Sure, we'd have to own the mountain, but...we're working on that, too.         



Post a Comment

<< Home