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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Greed will fail in the end!

You know, when the Referendum on Ward Specific Voting took place here in Hickory, the members of the Citizens for Equity in Government were accused of being associated with ACORN by a couple of real nuts from the opposition and we know who put them up to it.  It didn't matter that ACORN no longer exists.  It was about the end justifying the means. It was about winning through fear and not worrying about the consequences.

I understand the political process and I understand the win at all costs mentality... the scorched earth mentality. We were accused of scorched earth, when the reality is that the opposition meant that we had forced them into scorched earth. That was their choice not ours. They were saying that our role is to sit back and accept their dictates and keep our mouths shut and know our role. There is no room for us to participate unless we endorse whatever their decisions.

Some people come unhinged when their authority is challenged. They want to control everything and when they feel they are losing that perceived grip, then they become so unhinged that their minds escape reality. Makes me appreciate my sobriety each day more and more.

I've been a Republican since I was a kid. It used to P.O. my grandfather, who was born in 1920 and raised in Hudson and moved to Hickory with my Grandmother in 1943 to work for the railroad company. He was a lifelong Democrat who bragged about being Senator Sam Ervin's cousin. As most of the older folks know, most of the people around here were Democrats and that didn't start changing until around the time of Richard Nixon.

My Grandfather told me it was unacceptable to be a Republican, because they represented the rich and didn't care about working class people. But, I looked and saw as many fat cats in the Democrat Party as the Republican and I lived through the Economic Malaise of the 1970s that mimicked a lot of what we see now. High Inflation, Gas prices doubling, High Unemployment, and a general uncertainty about the future.

My grandmother, who passed away a year and a half ago at the age of 97, over the years conveyed the reasoning behind hating the Republicans, although in 1984 she had decided to join us. It all boils down to the Civil War between the States. The Rebellion and the succeeding Reconstruction changed the economic model of the South forever. The Agrarian Economy, based mainly on King Cotton, wilted without indentured and slave labor. The South suffered through basically no economic growth until the end of the Second World War -- basically a Depression of over 75 years (four generations).

You wonder why southerners from that generation hated Northerners? It may have been unjustified to a certain degree, but think about your parents and grandparents etching in your mind about your uncles dying and losing property because of the Depressed Economy and having your community occupied by northern soldiers and administrators. Think about the plight of most southern common folks, living at a subsistence level for generation after generation and the poverty that came along with that. Do you wonder why there was this animosity?

The old Southern plantation owning Elite, who were able to survive the Civil War and Reconstruction, moved their assets into the Industrial model. Instead of shipping cotton to the North for textiles, why not produce those finished goods/products here in the South, "we've got plenty of cheap labor here." At the same time, they told the commoners that it was all those Republican Northern busy bodies that were keeping you poor. See the old system worked better. And this ends up pitting the poor White Man against the Poor Black Man.

After Reconstruction, with more of an Industrial model set up here in the south, and the Elites from before the Civil War reclaiming their power, the White Sharecroppers were moved into the factories and the Black Slaves were moved into the sharecropper role.  I guess they considered that upward mobility. None of these poor common people really received freedom. They just received a new brand of indentured servitude, but I guess that was better than the hand-to-hand slaughter the Elite had sent them into from 1861 to 1865.

My grandmother told me about how her family was fortunate. My Grandmother's father died in 1918 when she was four years old. He was a doctor and was going around taking care of patients when he contracted an illness,  the flu epidemic of that year. Being a doctor then was completely different than today. He basically bartered his services for the poor. Doctors, though having more wealth than most, didn't have the wealth compared to the general populace that they do today. And their job was a lot more precarious then than it is today with modern medicine. So when he passed, my Great Grandmother Bessie had the debts that my Great Grandfather had accrued, but like most women then she didn't have a job,  and she lost the home and the entire family had to move back to that main farm house with her family.

My Grandmother Martha grew up with rheumatic fever and subsequently had to miss two years of school. She told me stories. The kids didn't get shoes all that often, usually to start the school year they would get a pair. Well, not long after one school year started they were walking home after school and playing around and she had taken off her new shoes to play. A storm came along and washed the shoes away down the drain culvert. She told me about how she went and hid, but she couldn't escape the spanking she was due for losing those shoes and she never forgot about taking care of your stuff afterwards.

She also told me how they were so fortunate, because they lived on that farm. She said, we didn't have much money, nobody did, but at least we had food. Mama (my great grandmother Bessie) would fix them Hand Biscuits with Cured Ham or something else like that for them to take to school. My Grandmother would trade those biscuits for what the kids were eating at school, because those kids cherished that type of food that was a luxury to them.  The school meal generally consisted of something such as soup and a cheese sandwich. The school meals were along the lines of getting something in the kid's belly and they weren't worried about the food pyramid. That was the type of person my Grandmother was and that is the way I was raised and why I don't understand the gluttons I have come across in my life.

I remember my Great Grandmother and her family well and I remember that food well. I got to know what real baked Macaroni and Cheese was made from real milk and real cheese, not that processed corporate bull that they call mac and cheese today. When the older folks died, the farm was sold off to a developer and all of that history is basically gone now.  My Great Grandmother Bessie died in 1975. She was born in 1879.  My Aunt Lela died in 1986 at the age of 93, she was the last from that generation left. We aren't that far removed. My Paternal Great Grandfather was born in the 1850s. These people lived through all of this.

I know that some of you find it hard to believe that this country is going to head backwards or towards an economy with no growth that lasts generations, but the writing is on the wall. It will be different this time, because no one is used to living at a subsistence level to the degree that they did in that period from the 1860s to the 1940s - hell, it really goes back further than that.

Preparation and survival are the name of the game and when I see the few hours of television that I watch every week, I don't get a sense that the Powers That Be want the general populace to take notice of this slow slide backwards that most of us have experienced over the past decade. They don't want you to prepare. They want you to see those $60,000 cars and million dollar homes and pop a pill culture, thinking that if you just stay in the Rat Race that it will all be yours some day. So go get that 7-year loan for that car and take out another mortgage on that house cause happy days are here again. That is until the next bubble bursts. The fact is that for the most part, you don't stand a chance. You need to be preparing as though you may not have a job tomorrow, because you may not have a job tomorrow.

When we look to how things are different today than the post Civil War South, we see that many of the concepts we have today have evolved. Where we had Soup lines back then, today we have the WIC program. Where we had indentured and slave labor then, today we have immigration issues to keep the wages suppressed. We still have the Elite, who no longer own plantations, but have Investment portfolios that support the same principle. Mainly the principles of greed and cronyism that have always been prevalent to the culture. They hide behind the theory that it is Capitalism,  but it is only Free Market Capitalism when it suits the people on top's interests. When the people on top get in a bind, they don't mind manipulating the Public Trust to help bail themselves out. And we all know the true definition of what such a Political, Social, and Economic Model truly is.

The Economic model of this nation after World War Two wasn't perfect, but it was always enough to propel us forward. It was always enough to support the egalitarian principle that through hard work that one could attain upward mobility, but slowly that is withering away and as this happens to our Economic Engine, the growth of this nation is coming to a standstill.

Our young people are heading towards becoming cannon fodder for the elite, as has happened before. We aren't creating enough jobs in the private sector to support a labor model of growth. The oldest generations aren't retiring and leaving the workforce, because they can't afford to and maintain the Standard of Living they have grown accustomed to. So the middle class and poor  youngsters aren't going to have any other choice, but to go to the military or join some soon to be created civilian domestic force. By any other name, that is a new model of indentured servitude.

At the same time, we have also outsourced the cheap labor model to the Third World nations leaving us Economically vulnerable in a multitude of ways. This has become a National Security issue when it comes to United States Sovereignty. To keep the growth coming to the very few, we turn a blind eye towards the slave like practices happening in other countries that we would never accept here. The elite are essentially telling us that if we would accept some of those practices here that they would be willing to bring some of those jobs back home. To that I, and the vast majority of us, would say No Thanks.

You see, there are many of us that are not going to lay down and accept some fate that someone else has chosen for us. I'm not better than anyone else and no one else is better than me. That is what the foundations of the principles of liberty are based upon. The politicians can continue to participate in this crony game, but this will end very badly. If you aspire to greatness, you will get closer to it than if you push forward this notion that most of us should resign ourselves to accepting less of a life. If you aspire to me, me, me... Well, throughout history, all of the great Dictators and Tyrannical systems that aspired to create a pyramid of perfection through authoritarian control have failed. What makes anyone think that a new system of self indulgence is going to succeed where these others have failed? Greedy control mechanisms always collapse in the end.


James Thomas Shell said...

I edited the part about my Paternal Great Grandfather. I had said Great-Great Grandfather was born in the 1850s. It was my Great Grandfather. It was a typo and sometimes I don't catch these things when I proof read.

My Grandfather Leroy Shell was born in 1920 and he was the youngest child in his family and his father was in his 60s when Pappaw was born.

Anonymous said...

I like the way your Grandfather thought Thom. And I don't think he was wrong in what he thought or why. His disdain for the Republican Party is something to respected. Sure there are exceptions, you being a notable one. But my in large, look at the overall. The Republican Party is just as far right now as the Democrats were left at one time. There is still an old guard faction within the Democrat Party that would make Marx shudder, but for the most part, the party is back to a centrist equilibrium; where it should never have left.

Your Grandfather knew though; knew through living what the Republican Party was about. Saw it in action and suffered because of it. They've never changed their message, simply the verbiage and how it's delivered. They will always cater to the Country Club crowd on the backs of everyone else. All for them and nothing for you and I.

James Thomas Shell said...

You are killing me Tal. A prime example is here in NC where we went from the Easley Purdue era with all of the flying around on airplanes and getting prime beach property illegally to a legislature driven Republican machine that is greasing the skids for fat cats like Jerry Richardson to bilk the public out of $65 million in one fail swoop.

I swear I'm watching the world ping-pong championships from Hong Kong. Let's be honest, this State is as crooked as it gets and it starts at the local level and percolates up to the sewer in DC.

James Thomas Shell said...

And the point about my Pappaw was that he had an envy based on a disdain caused by an illusion. The Democrats ran things around here and they wanted to keep control. They did zero to help the blacks and poor, except throw out a few welfare crumbs. That system was instituted to keep those people down.

Those Democrats didn't bring about the Civil Rights. And when Civil Rights was finally passed with the help of mostly Republicans, then eventually some of these "leaders" finally switched to the Republican party and we have what we have today.

What Party was responsible for passing the Emancipation Proclamation? The 14th Amendment? The 15th Amendment?

And they were hated and reviled in the South for doing that and ensuring that the South stayed in the fold. And now that party has done a 180, while the Dems have barelt changed at all.

You can choose to buy into the World Wrestling illusion or you can come on over to reality. Both parties are bad right now.

Anonymous said...

Pat McCrory et al, "The good of the few outweighs the good of the many." You get a better return on greasing Richardson than you do greasing a bunch of poor people. The poor don't need lobbyist firms and influence; they just need food and shelter. Insofar as Easley and Purdue, a crook is a crook, no matter what letter is behind their name. One just feigns a bit more compassion for some people than the other.

Up until the fall of 1929, I'd say you're pretty close on Southern Democrats. And that animosity festered from the time of the Civil War. But from 1929 until after WWII, poor whites suffered right along with the poor blacks. Equality really didn't start until the early to mid '50's and it came about through Brown v Board of Ed. Earl Warren, although a Republican, held centrist to liberal views(his biography). But the real shift came in 1964. LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act, a Texas Democrat. Right after talking to a Georgia Senator that all but threatened him with losing the South forever to Democrats if he did. He did and the South did. Take a look at what I like to call the South Atlantic/Gulf Coast ring of fire.

But what I see your Grandfather trying to convey are the same lessons my own familial patriarchs tried to convey to me. Republicans don't care for ordinary people. They want obedient workers. All the poor want is a handout. They get these ideas of decent wages and benefits and that cuts into the bottom line and drives up prices. Ideas they wouldn't have if we didn't fund the education system and provide school loans. All they have to do is work, make money for their overlords, and go home and eventually die to be replaced by someone else. That's thier lot in life. So that's the giant rift in our outlooks, but I'm relentless. Even though you have cookies over there on the dark side, I'll still try to convince you to back to the light!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and now, the Republicans are doing the same thing the Democrats did, as you so stated. No matter the rumor, the lie, the falsehood, they'll tell it to keep their grip on Catawba County and now, North Carolina. Practically every piece of legislation Pat McCrory has signed since he's been in office has been a direct assault on the poor, unemployed, and people pretty much helpless. It used to be about race. Now it's about social class. And it all goes back to a little philosophy I've seen discussed here and heard called divide and conquer. The keep us arguing the micro issues and they win the macro battles.

James Thomas Shell said...

and remember that all but two of the Charlotte City Council members who introduced giving Mr. Richardson his $65 million are ... you guessed it... tada ... DEMOCRATS!!!

and the two Republicans publically proclaimed that they had reservations about doing so and it should be left up to a vote of the people.

So it is an outlandishly awful joke to say that the Democrats support the poor and the Republicans support the rich.

It is all crony capitalism, another word/phrase for Fascism, that is ruling the day and it is Bipartisan. But, you go on and hold on to that notion that there might be a few bad apples in the Democrat party, but all the Republicans save a few are bad and I'll continue with what I am espousing that both parties are rotten to the core and neither care about the poor or middle class unless it is politically convenient to do so. It's all about me, me, me politics.

James Thomas Shell said...

And I don't really think Bev was crooked. I think she was a figurehead that was naive and always in over her head, but she was surrounded by the same ole Eastern North Carolina Good Ole Boy network that has been running this State into the ground for years. They are a combination of incompetent and/or greedy and/or crooked.

Anonymous said...

And that's because Charlotte is, well, Charlotte. Charlotte could give two squirts less about everyone or anyone else, as long as they get what they want. And despite what the two desenters say, I'll bet you they are behind it all the way in private. Even the Chair if Charlotte's Chamber supports a public/private venture to the Panthers and Panther stadium. Wanna bet what party he belongs to? And look at how Bruton Smith played with Concord but he got what he wanted, to his profit and benefit.

And we see how those same ideas and practices work right here in Hickory by people of the same ilk. One slimy paw smears slime on the other. Given the context of what we're talking about, I certainly couldn't use wash. Because I dare challenge what it is they do and bring it into the light for all to see, those same people will read what I just said and curse me into the depths well below the bottom level of the Inferno. And you for allowing me a place to say it.

Government needs to stay clear of such ventures. It's not what Government does or is supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

The Charlotte Council wants to make sure that the Panthers stay in Charlotte. They like the idea of all that traffic flocking into uptown to spend money, independent of political affliation. So they are willing to pony up tax revenue to ensure that happens. Richardson ain't no spring chicken and who knows what will happen when he passes. Bruton Smith has indicated he'd like to buy the team and we know how well he plays with government by how he pouted and threatened Concord to get his way. And Charlotte has Charlotte in mind. McCrory and Tillis are fans of fees. So fee government pays for actuals along the way while tax money can be used as venture capital.

There's plenty of rotten to go around. I don't deny it; I can't. But at least the democrats pretend at least to have the little guy in mind. The Republicans say they do, but that really isn't their history, is it? If all things were equal across the board when everybody sat down at the table, it might be different. But it isn't. Whoever holds the money and the power sets the agenda in business, a majority in government, and that determines what happens in life. So we'll both pretend a little bit I guess. But we both know how those things affect people and we can't forego the people as a commodity to be bartered with and trivialized.

Bev probably wasn't, but she was easily manipulated. Her deal was education and that was the only thing she actually stood firm on.