One of the poison pills that McCain planted in the final debate was, “Obama wants to spread the wealth around.” This is like mainlining meth directly into the veins of the paranoid right-wing Republican base, code for “communist” or “socialist”, which are conflated to mean the same thing in their spurious propaganda campaign against the health and unity of our nation. He also mentioned class warfare, another way to divide people into factions. This concept, ironically, is a major component in communist theory.
This is the most insidious of assaults. It implies that the president can, if s/he has the will, take money away from you and give it to someone else — a Robin Hood effect. This is meant to drive a wedge between people and teach them to fear each other.
I was disappointed by Obama’s response to this, but in the heat of a debate it’s not surprising that he wouldn’t have the clarity to address it directly from the assumptions it makes, or perhaps to have the time to bring it to the forefront. His answer was adequate, but it failed to uproot the question, which lies at the heart of America’s current divide and underlies every problem we face. Getting to this core issue is one of Obama’s primary interests, if not THE primary interest he has because it is so central to all that ails us. He has repeatedly addressed this matter from the time he gave his first speech to a national audience at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
A Rising Tide Raises All Boats.
The best response would have been to talk about separation versus unity. A rising tide raises all boats. If the middle class (and the working poor) are given a chance — given a job producing something or providing a real service in the real economy (not the fake one built on the casino stock market and the “nothing but air” financial industry) — they will lift the fortunes of all of us. The stock market will be robust; the dollar will flourish; savings rates will rise; credit rates will drop. The US will be an engine in the new real economy.
What Canadians Know
Canadians know this. They have an ethic of “supporting my neighbor is supporting myself”. (That’s not to say that their current conservative government feels the same way.) This was brought out quite eloquently in Michael Moore’s movie, “Bowling for Columbine” as a way of contrasting Canadians’ attitude toward guns and gun ownership and their subsequent relationship with violence.
We could take a lesson from Michael Moore in this (and many other) regard(s), and from the Canadians. If Obama can articulate this repeatedly in his stump speeches and ads between now and the election, he will find that this is the message that Americans are hungry for. They don’t know it, but they don’t believe that “government is the problem”. They are starting to realize the value of — to be desperate for — the intervention of government through regulation and an approach to the economy and the wealth of our nation that lies in the people, our natural resources, and our ingenuity that will reinvest in nurturing that wealth instead of denuding it of all it has.
The Death of Reaganomics
This is the death of reaganomics, the corrupt system that was put into place in the early 80s. It’s taken a long time for the population to understand the insidious seductiveness of the “trickle-down theory”. Instead what it creates is a huge sucking sound as the money gets pulled up to those who are already rich and powerful, who then hold it and create more wealth for themselves off the backs of the people at the bottom. It next pushes the people at the middle to the bottom as through their labor the energy is pulled out of them without just compensation. It results in a greedy rush to be on top, a natural separation of people from each other as competitors for that prize. It results in higher crime rates or a greater reliance on social services as the burgeoning bottom class struggle to find a way to simply survive. It results in greater reliance on credit as people at the middle and bottom of the scale struggle to maintain their lifestyle. Finally, it has resulted in the impoverishment of American society at all levels, including state and local government as the local tax base dries up.
Now the culture is tapped out. First they relied on savings. When those were sucked dry, they relied on credit cards. When those were sucked dry, they relied on equity in their home. Those who did not have this resource struggled to get it and were seduced into buying homes in an over-valued real estate market with deceitful loans. This was the final resource of (supposed) stored wealth. All this resulted from the climate of deregulation that was a grand experiment that Republicans, Libertarians, and corporate Democrats engaged in. They have contributed to a nation run as a corporatocracy.
Even though this was supposed to make government smaller, it has become bloated and engorged in a direction set by big business’s lobbies. In a world where lobbyists are now writing the laws introduced in Congress, the people have had little say in what happens at the highest levels that affects them the most. To get elected, you have to pander to these interests.
The ultimate and more destructive result is the catastrophic effect that this model has had on the environment. This is what is forcing change in an unavoidable and undeniable direction away from reaganomics. To stick our heads in the sand about this is to truly destroy ourselves, and most people are finally waking up from this bad dream.
If the problems seem vast, the solution begins with a simple change in understanding and attitude. When we truly realize that a rising tide lifts all boats — that we rise or sink together — a tsunami of change will result, is already resulting. This is especially true when we consider the environmental issues, and this is why we can’t wait. We still have a chance to pull ourselves out of the deep water.
Where there’s a need, there’s a market. The need for a green economy is screaming at us, and that will be the source of wealth in the 21st century. Any economy that can adapt in this direction, create technology and return to simpler means of existence, will thrive.
If Obama can capture the “we’re in this all together” energy of this moment; if he can speak this truth in an inspiring way, he will be speaking to the deep need of the American people and begin the healing process of the greatest wound in the American psyche.
This, in planetary terms, has to do with the great conjunction of Chiron and Neptune, which occurs over the next two years and has been triggered profoundly during the Mercury retrograde period August 28 – October 30. This represents archetypally the healing of the great wound. The great wound is the separation that we perceive between us and the need to find what unites us in order to thrive.