Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Whose ‘public servants’ are these?

American citizens, let us now all understand and acknowledge a truth that the news has put before us repeatedly, and most especially in recent years: If you’re in the working class, you have enemies in Congress.

Demublican meets Republicrat

Demublican greets Republicrat: “We have met
the enemy, and he is us.”
[ Image Source ]

We elect these “representatives,” but they have abandoned all pretense of representing us. They cynically calculate that money, not human values or our votes, will decide their futures; they have, in a word, decided they don’t need us. And when re-election time comes, they can count on money — again, and as always — to silence the voices that would speak for us and to sideline those who would work for us.

The sad part is, they’re right.

As long as we continue to tolerate this pathological kleptoplutocracy; as long as we get our news from television and talk radio; as long as the formula that says each dollar invested in a campaign will buy so many votes continues to work; as long as we remain prisoners of a system in which the approved political organizations are servants of callous oligarchs who don’t care if we live or die; as long as we permit ourselves to be distracted and divided by issues that move us emotionally but do not touch on the central corruption of our society, they are right.

We have been fragmented, deceived, debauched and debased. We have been pitched against one another in competition for scraps while the ruling elite feasts in brotherly amity. We have been used as soldiers, as police, as security and strikebreakers, doing the bidding of the elite and crushing one another’s lives and aspirations. We live in “quiet desperation,” as the proverb expresses it: without help or hope, without rest or respite, always struggling harder from year to year as the despair that mars our lives deepens, darkens and engulfs our futures, always hoping that somehow, if we only work hard enough and without complaint, surely our lot must improve one day.

But that day will never come unless we act to bring it, for those whom we have trusted to represent our interests betray them, and us, more boldly and contemptuously than ever before. Not since the French revolution has a ruling class dared treat its people with such contumely; not since the days of Louis XVI has the aristocracy so little respected or cared to learn about its people as people; not since Marie Antoinette has an elite so little understood the sufferings it imposes upon those whose labors form the foundation of all its vaunted wealth and finery.

By Christmas, two million more of us, left without jobs by the feckless greed of our mercantile elite, will be deprived by the selected servants of that elite of the threadbare palliative that unemployment benefits have brought them, and all so that the elite needn’t be inconvenienced by returning to the nation on whose economic lifeblood they have so long battened any significant fraction of the wealth that nation has conferred upon them. Two million more Americans now look forward to a Christmas spent wondering how they’re supposed to pay the rent, buy food, pay for phone service and perhaps internet access, and keep their water and electricity flowing without even the pittance (national average: ~$300/week) on which they have sustained themselves — let alone buy Christmas presents. Many will not be able to do all of these things, and statistics tell us that some will soon be found sleeping on sidewalks and begging for spare change.

Unemployment and underemployment are not local problems; they are a national tragedy. They are everywhere. No one is immune; chances are, you know at least one unemployed person; you may even be that person.

Originally published in December, 2010, as a review of a wsws.org report on Congress’ decision to permit unemployment benefits to expire just in time for Christmas.

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