I went through the Heartland for a few days. Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, even Kansas (though I didn’t venture out of Lawrence, and never do if I happen to be there.)
What I saw completely baffled me.
Everywhere I looked, roads were crumbling. Kansas, which used to have an outstanding highway system, is especially noticeable in this regard. I also found that driving 90 miles an hour on the pieces of the Interstates that aren’t yet crumbling is no problem, because patrols are much fewer and farther-between than I have seen in the past.
Lawrence, some would say, isn’t REALLY Kansas, and this is correct: as a college town, there are more youths there, and a lot more tolerance for diversity than anywhere else in the place I fondly refer to as Klansas. I thoroughly enjoyed the Buckethead show at The Granada on Friday evening, and my encounters with Lawrence residents don’t usually leave my head hurting. But, as the Rushpubliscums continue to slash away at higher education budgets, I have to wonder how much longer Lawrence will continue to be special. It will be a shame if Rushpubliscum persecution of education eventually weakens this one bright spot in a state that has largely gone to hell otherwise.
I also visited Kansas City, which was once a bustling rail and manufacturing hub. Kansas City was the very definition of Midwestern industriousness: hard working people made things, which meant that a lot of freight left the Kansas City area, and a lot of corporate offices could be found downtown. Some of these things still exist in Kansas City, but the devastation of Rushpubliscum policies is easy to see in any direction you look. “Free” trade, coupled with the steadfast refusal to ask the rich for even a scintilla of sacrifice, is taking a heavy toll on what was once the greatest city of the Heartland.
And we come to what’s baffling me. I can look around the formerly industrial Midwest, and I can see plain as day the devastation caused by Rushpubliscum policies that are designed to protect the rich and the huge corporations. Thanks to idiotic rules like “deferral,” it is beneficial to a corporation to move as much of its operations as it can out of the US, and most multinationals have done so. When you compound that idiocy with the additional burden of slashing tax rates for the rich, it is easy to see why our bridges are failing, our jobs are disappearing, and our cities are broke.
I should have said, it’s easy for ME to see it. For some baffling reason or other, a hell of a lot of other Midwesterners still don’t get it. They continue to send the same Rushpubliscums who gutted their cities and destroyed the futures of their children and grandchildren back to office in their States, and to Washington. In spite of the fact that the devastation can be traced straight back to the ascendancy of Saint Ronnie, these people continue to send those who are even worse than Saint Ronnie back to the corridors of power. They still buy the lie that if we just give everything to the rich, the rich will happily spread that money around and create oodles of new jobs, which means that Government will have even MORE money, ’cause we’ll all be fat and happy then. We’ve tried those policies for 30 years now, and a whole generation or two have seen what they lead to-but people STILL believe this bullshit? Instead of getting pissed at their “representatives,” who wrote the rules that allowed the rich to pay no taxes and strip them of their livelihoods, they get mad at TEACHERS? FIREFIGHTERS? ROAD CREWS?!? How much MORE devastation has to occur before they get it?
There was, once upon a time, a commonsense element to the Republican Party in the Midwest. I still remember Republicans like Charles Percy, Bill Saxbe, Bob Dole, even John Danforth. Those Republicans could be talked to, and would come to agreements that were beneficial to the nation as a whole. Those guys have been replaced by Rushpubliscums, who only talk to Grover Norquist and can be relied on to enact policies that benefit only the ultra-wealthy, no matter what happens to the country as a result.These Rushpubliscums aren’t “conservatives” at all; they are servants of the super rich, and they are also (largely) idiots who don’t really understand what kind of damage they’ve done, and are still doing. While they prattle on about the evils of a gay couple, the people who own them continue to bend us over and rape us.
Why is it impossible to clean them out? And why don’t we have a Democratic Party with the intestinal fortitude necessary to back them off?
Some of it is a failure of our educational system-these days, people aren’t taught to try to figure things out for themselves. But some of the blame also goes to our media, which has become a Plutocratic mouthpiece, so skewed to the corporations and the super-rich that they can’t even tolerate a center-right Presidency like Obama’s. And, of course, we can’t forget about the role religion played in destroying us, since the preachers don’t seem to know about any of the teachings of that Christ guy that they all claim to love so much. In the Midwest, the preacher crying about the evils of SOSHEEELESM is the norm; the minister who actually preaches the teachings of Christ is considered to be some kind of a heretic fringe nut.
There is only one real answer for the Midwest, and that answer is to raise taxes in the rich. Government is a far more efficient spreader of money back into the economy than the rich ever were, or ever will be. Government construction projects, and educational programs, are beneficial to every sector of society. Those programs are needed more sorely than ever in the Midwest, but we have some of the shittiest Rushpubliscum politicians in the country-and they are presently in office. By the time they get done, will the Midwest have anything left to save?
I may be able to report that to you in a few years. But, given the decay I’m seeing, the roads may not be good enough for me to do that.