Unlike the Plutocracies of Old Europe, that you want so much to emulate, the Middle Class of America is the sea from which One Percenters of the Future arise. Just think about that as you contemplate screwing them on the altars of the aging Oligarchs for whom you owe allegiance. Do you really want to give up your Party’s future on these shores for the likes of Donald Trump, Sheldon Adelson, and the Koch Brothers?
“Let Them Eat Cake!” or something to that effect was famously attributed to Marie Antionette, who ultimately lost her head over that attitude.
On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, we decided, not withstanding a blitzkrieg of political ads telling us how good life would be under a benevolent plutocracy, that we would rather stay a democracy of people from a myriad of nations who believe in the words inscribed at the foot of another famous French lady,
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
[Author: Emma Lazarus]
Isn’t she beautiful?
So, thanks but no thanks to all the well-meaning rich folk, who knew what we needed better than we did. We don’t want your plutocracy, oligarchy, theocracy, or any other “archy” for whatever you were selling.
We’ll just muddle through like we have always done be they natural disasters, wars, economic meltdowns, or mindless idolatry like you would have foisted on us.
Oh, by the way, please play by the rules and don’t tank our economy again, just because you are not pleased that we did not want to be your serfs.
We would rather eat from the table — not crumbs from the dirty floor that trickled down off your sumptuous banquet. It tastes better when we can stand proud and say that we did it ourselves as a caring, all inclusive nation.
In our America, there is no upper class, no middle class, and no lower class. There is only the American Class.
We are the American Class.
I am Philip Chen, and I approve this message.
I was sitting at my kitchen table this morning munching on my cereal and an English muffin (with strawberry preserves) when my reverie was pierced by the announcer on the local classical music station talking about Ludwig van Beethoven and his political activism for and against Napoleon Bonaparte. Huh? Beethoven and political activism; that doesn’t make sense – at all.
So I spent today delving into this oxymoronic justapositioning and to my great surprise I find that not only was Beethoven politically active, one of his signature pieces, “Ode to Joy” (“Ode An Die Freude”) from his 9th Symphony was a protest song! Apparently it was a plea for universal brotherhood and was written in the context of social change following the French Revolution. You can find lyrics in English here.
Given this context, “Ode to Joy” becomes even more meaningful today as the oligarchic cloud of social change looms large on our horizon.
In more recent years, we have become familiar with the use of song to protest social conditions. From the songs of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to the songs of the folk movement. There are so many to choose from that it is hard to pick out any one as my favorite. I will endeavor to post a few in coming days.
To start off with one of my favorites has been “Guantanamera” which is a song that has come to symbolize the peasant struggle against tyranny in Latin America. Although admirably done by so many, my favorite version is by the Sandpipers, especially the ethereal female vocals done by Pamela Ramcier, who was never credited for her contributions.
Ramcier’s voice comes in during the English soliloquy in the song. The ethereal quality of her voice is haunting; the fact that she has disappeared into the fog of time is perplexing.