Citizens Untied

Mar 23, 2011 at 5:00 am

I’ve got some bumper stickers on my truck I think are pretty cool, but in all likelihood, they are just as stupid and meaningless as yours.

Intended as tiny alerts to other drivers of your cultural, political, spiritual, musical or corporate allegiances, your bumper stickers generally succeed only in making you appear to be a two-dimensional mope crying out for attention in a world where distinction from the maddening crowd is most easily achieved by the illusory power of purchasing cultural artifacts that define you as a member of a group.

All that being said, every now and again, the English language and our power of associative reasoning conspire to make a few words on your fender that may stir up an actual emotion or thought worthy of further consideration.

A while back, a few friends and I decided to print up a couple hundred simple blue stickers with plain white letters that read “Visualize Class Warfare.” Our obvious and intentional association with the “Visualize World Peace” message, whose ubiquity has rendered it close to meaningless, seemed to us a brief, pitch-perfect though decidedly bleak commentary on the disunity and suspicion that was mounting then and is now sadly and clearly abundant.

Whether it counted as a worthwhile bumper sticker is beside the point. I haven’t put one on my own car, and, frankly, I’m physically repulsed when I see them around town. The messages wrapped up in those three little words ring too true, sting badly, and give me the damn creeping willies.

That the imbalance of political power and efficacy in this country will lead to some expression of real, probably violent, civil unrest with lasting implications on whether We the People are governed or govern ourselves has never been a question for me. I’ve always figured that it’s only a matter of time, and, like it or not, tensions are ratcheting up tighter than piano wire.

Here’s a brief Raised Relief review of some recent highlights in the Fleecing of America. Please do let me know if I’ve missed something:

The goons who made piles of cash swatting your crappy flexible mortgages back and forth like a trillion-dollar shuttlecock, that Coven of Rapacious Vampires who brought the planet one step closer to complete economic collapse, those Captains of Industry who lunch over French martinis with Mexican hookers while one out of every 10 American workers has lost their job as a result of their filthy little dalliances, and who can now phone in decisions to their Supreme Court Justice pals, and who swap public opinion like hockey cards have determined that, because they want more money and power, those American workers still standing will just have to toughen up, tighten their belts, and forgo the right to collectively bargain for contracts, and that this will be done by force if necessary. Does that pretty much bring us up to speed?

What creeps me out about the most recent power grab by the Titans and their minions is the way it’s being conducted in broad daylight for all to see with very little power to address. For my money, the dagger that fatally lacerated the artery of American Democracy was the Citizens United decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The decision basically ensured that corporations and special interests have the right to free speech in the form of anonymous campaign donations that allow them to buy and sell politicians and public opinion. AIG and Halliburton now enjoy the same constitutionally protected “free speech” you do. Guess whose voice is going to ring out loudest in the election seasons?

Supporters of the Supreme Court’s decision have touted the political-donation-as-speech that can now be enjoyed by small businesses, unions and concerned citizens alike. Supporters of the decision also are total dip-shits who need look no further than Wisconsin where, literally not figuratively, a governor bought and paid for under the legal protections established by Citizens United just succeeded in a union-busting measure that has John D. Rockefeller roaring with triumphant delight in his gilded coffin.

I believe it was Kentucky’s Madman Laureate Dr. Hunter S. Thompson who said, “There’s no such thing as a conspiracy anymore, son. It’s all true.”

That could make a good bumper sticker. I bet I could sell hundreds.