Northern Valley Beacon

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Saturday, November 19, 2005


The culture of disaster

A number of pundits have pointed derisively to the rioting in France and said that it can't happen here. Wrong. The conditions for social unrest that breaks into violence are present. And so is a growing distrust of the U.S. by its citizens.

We thought the Katrina business was getting resolved only to find out that FEMA wants to stop paying for the 5000-some hotel rooms that 150,000 Kastrina victims are staying in. These people were evacuated from the areas devastated by Katrina and are trying to rebuild their lives in areas of the country in which they feel disoriented and sometimes alienated.

The Star Tribune has run a troubling story about a Montevideo, Minn., same-sex couple who took in a three-generation family from New Orleans with an offer to share their house for a year. The arrangement lasted a month because the differing lifestyles grated and caused anger and problems. While private individuals, such as the pair in Montevideo, try to offer help and support for evacuees, the difficulties are immense. There is little help from agencies that are supposed to be assisting in the relocations and rebuilding of lives. In the story, the resentments that can grow into desperation are apparent.

Multiply the problems faced in Montevideo by 150,000, and you come up with a very large segment of our population who have no homes and have no jobs and are beginning to wonder if they have any future. This is coming at a time when good jobs are becoming very scarce.

Bankrupt airlines Northwest and Delta want to cut pilots' pay down to day-labor level. United Airlines has dumped its retired employees' pension default into the hands of government. GM is at the bankruptcy court door with massive layoffs and wage cuts in the offing for its employees. Things are going well in the economic news for those who consider themselves in the managing class, but the middle class is taking tremendous blows. While dealing with the poverty-stricken from Louisiana, the middle class is sinking lower on the economic scale everyday, and the news from Washington is that George Bush's priority is to make the tax cuts for the very wealthy permanent. The values reflected in his policies show a disdain and disregard for people who struggle to hold their families and themselves together.

The ruling mentality is one that takes conservatism back to feudalism. Conservatives, whether they are actually in the managing class or not, see the world as place where "entrepreneurs" have replaced the royalty and nobility as the class to whom the rest of the world must defer. They send our soldiers to slaughter as negligible entities in the important work of managing the economy and world affairs for the benefit of the managing class. They cultivate a culture of disaster and decry the "liberal" philosophies that assert that corporations and organizations are made to serve people. Instead, they practice a philosophy that people are made to serve corporations and organizations run by the managing class, and that people by and large are expendable in their scheme of things.

The anger and resentment at the betrayal by our country of its working and middle classes is seething. We have created a culture of disaster and, just as was the case with Katrina, there are no plans for averting it.

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