Sunday, August 28, 2005

Amanda over at Pandagon makes a good point about class issues in the Iraqi war:

If any good comes out of this entire fiasco of the Iraq War, it will probably be that the class issues that allow war to happen are not being ignored anymore. Cindy Sheehan standing in the Texas heat outside of Bush's gorgeous, expensive and oh-so-comfortable ranch is a perfect symbol of this. War is not possible unless you have internal class warfare. War is not possible unless the rich and powerful feel free to demand the lives of the common people be sacrificed with the same ease you lose a pawn in a game of chess.

So of course Romney was irritated at being asked why his own children don't fight. It should be clear that war is something fought by the little people to benefit the big people--the question is naively irritating. It's like asking why rich people don't sleep in ditches. It's like asking why they don't get into the interesting new field of sewing garments in a sweatshop.

The class issues in the Iraq War aren't even well-concealed. At least in Vietnam, the people waging war sincerely believed in the stated cause of stopping communism. As far as I know, that goal never shifted. But with Iraq, the story changes every day in a desperate attempt to hide the shameful truth that BushCo got into this war to make money and control the world's oil supply. Period. The very lives of the working class are expendable in the search for greater profits for the rich.

The rest of the post is good too -- it's the one called Fortunate Son -- but it's this growing gap between Bush's sort of folk, that hyper-wealthy, and those who aspire to be or think they can be or swear fealty to that hyperwealthy class, and the rest of us, hunkered down here in the ditch, getting more desperate by the paycheck -- or by the medical emergency -- that is preying on my mind.

Class envy, the Right likes to label this. Preaching class warfare.

Well, yes. All right then. It's what we might be heading to. Who's driving us to it, though? My electric bill -- the same one that was $120 this year last time -- was $300 this month. Gas is $2.60 a gallon here, and higher in other places. I'm paying appalling amounts for groceries. My health insurance eats a quarter of my paycheck, and it does not cover all my health care costs. My pay has not increased at a rate to keep up with these increased expenses. I took on an extra section, in an attempt to cover increased expenses. Taxes eat up most of the extra I make. Taxes to fund Bush's stupid war.

Meanwhile, I look at my students, who are going stunningly deep in debt -- both student loan and credit card debt -- in order to get the education the country promised them would make them middle class one day. (Not because they're profligate wastrels, either. It's not plasma TV and bling they are buying with their credit cards, as one Right Wing commenter suggested. It's food and health care and fuel and clothing.) My life is the one they have to look forward to. My life, only with a ton of debt on their backs to start out with.

I'm getting desperate, down here in the ditch.


zelda1 said...

My husband and I, both students but he works, are, for the first time since Reagan, losing the battle to stay ahead. My medicine cost over 300 dollars a month and that is just paying the copay. We are not alone. I went to the grocery store and stood in line behind a young girl who had a baby and a toddler and she was paying for her groceries with her credit card, not a foodstamp card, and all she had was the necessities. I searched her cart for anything that looked like fun food but it was all good stuff. She said the credit card came just in time, she needed food and her husband doesn't get paid for another week, and she had applied for the card with high interest and it came. She was happy and considered it an answer to her prayers. I asked her what her husband did and she said he teaches high school math and she works at a fast food place. I told her to hang in there, things would get better. She laughed and we parted company. I wanted to give her money except I had none to give. What a way for young people to start their life out, credit cards to buy groceries.

Ol Cranky said...

Before 2001, I might have agreed with Amanda that the elitism that enabled folks to dodge the draft without penalty from Viet Nam woudln't be tolerated any more. But then, I would have also thought that attacking Kerry for his service and then protest would have backfired for a war-time president who not only dodged the draft, but served most of his National Guard time working on a political campaign.