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August 1, 2011

Gordon Gekko F%#$3d us all…

Filed under: — sbj @ 9:06 pm
To be fair, Gordon didn’t really do anything to anyone… all he did was call attention to an unsustainable societal ill; a warning most of us chose to ignore.  The result of our indifference?  The debt ceiling stand off comes quickly to mind.
When people come together seeking common ground and compromise, the seemingly unattainable is usually soon within reach.

When those people come together looking to advance or protect their own agendas, no barrier is too small to prevent progress.
The “me first” generation(s) in this country, the people currently steering the ship, are immersed in a sea of self-gratifying agenda driven politics that bear no resemblance of government for by or of the people (unless by “people”, of course, you mean CEO’s, corporations, and other affluent and powerful entities).

I want to be clear, because some of you may be expecting an full frontal assault on the Republicans, or the Democrats; however, the reality is that no one is innocent here and I have no intention on blasting one side or the other.  Democratic leadership is, in my opinion, no “better” or “worse” when it comes to partisan political wrangling than their counter-parts in the GOP.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of elected officials today are beholden to a political party agenda, an overly-influential funding mechanism, and an increasingly propagandized constituency (the majority of which can be fairly divided into the categories of  ignorant, ambivalent, or both. Aside: the “both” category is the preferred one here… ignorant people who are engaged are dangerous).

And there’s your circle of political life…

Elected officials regurgitate the party line every chance they get… predefined sound bite by predefined sound bite.  Good little party supporters (AKA voters) eat these “informational” easy-to-swallow-gelcap-placebo’s up and seek out candidates committed to the cause… electing them to accomplish the ambiguous and pointless agenda manufactured by the parties.  The party then announces that the electorate has issued a mandate for change (or staying the course… or whatever buzz phrase sounds good at the time) and that the party will follow the clearly spoken desires of the American people (the same desires said American people were spoon fed by the party three sentences ago… for those of you keeping score at home).  Naturally, the politicians then race to give speeches outlining their plans to execute the will of the people.

The problem in Washington is not pork, its bull; the overly-generalized-substanceless BS being spewed as political ideology, designed to stir the general public into creating an artificial manifesto few, if any, of them even understand.

… and the whole thing starts all over again (“oh no… oh yeah!” that was a special bonus clip for schoolhouse rock fans; 1:57 in this video if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

So who drives this system?  The Gekko disciples (AKA the greedy ones), thats who.

You see the entire system is propped up on financial scaffolding that is in about as good a shape as the physical infrastructure of this country (our roads and bridges etc. – which, in case you are not aware, are in abysmal condition).  Special interest groups have created a system of dependency for elected officials.  Elections take millions of dollars to win which seems like a lot until you gather a bunch of PAC’s around the open fire of a political platform, pool their money together toward the “common good” and direct those funds toward broadcasting the afore mentioned party line using the party chosen mouthpiece (err… umm… candidate) do deliver the latest panacea for the political process.

What becomes “policy” and planks on the party platform you ask?  Things that make organizations, corporations, or people money… lots and lots of money.  Things that feed the need for greed.  Things that make people counter the old adage “there is no I in team” with the response (commonly attributed to Michael Jordan) “true, but there is one at the center of every win.”

Decisions are made today with more of an eye to personal survival (here defined as “continued meteoric success”) than the best interests of the country (state, county, city, etc.).  When I look at the people “working” on the debt limit, I do not see folks looking for common ground or compromise.  What I see are people stretching the bounds of brinkmanship (is the even possible?) in order to get every conceivable concession favoring their agenda.  They do this because they know, if they don’t, they won’t be back again after the next election; and making that sacrifice – even if it is what’s best for the nation – is just not Gordon-like.

The problem here is the end game.  As this little adventure plays out, it becomes more and more polarizing and simultaneously less and less tolerant.  Because people are coming to negotiations bent on fulfilling agendas rather then reaching compromises (AKA sustainable solutions) these meetings are less and less productive and increasingly frustrating.  This frustration erodes the respect for the person across the table; and, as goes respect, so goes accord.

I fear that the debt ceiling is not the real crisis facing this nation right now (that is not an original or unique thought by the way); what keeps me up at night is the collision course we seem to be on with pre-adolescent behavior.  The relative inability to simply get along and put the needs of the many (or the future) before the needs of the few (or the “right now”).

Greed will do that to you, it will blind you to what is going on around you and strip you of your humanity.

So, with all due respect to your (fictional) success Mr Gekko, no, greed is not good… greed is bad; and I’m a little pissed at you for selling that bill of goods to the last two generations of Americans.  Why? because it’s a lot easier to be mad at you for saying it that at myself for not doing something about it when you did…

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