Sunday, November 6, 2011

Robert Reich And The Coming Of Shadows

Caption: A dying Emperor Turhan gets the bad news from Kosh in the Babylon 5 episode "The Coming Of Shadows".

Image credit: Screenshot by Cujo359 (see NOTE 1)

Emperor Turhan: How will it end?
Kosh: In fire.

That bit of dialogue, from the Babylon 5 episode "The Coming Of Shadows", has been playing quite often in my head lately. It occurs between Kosh, the enigmatic but seemingly all-knowing alien, and an emperor who is trying to at least begin the process of establishing peace between his own world and an enemy race before he dies. While he might not have meant it to, Kosh's prediction no doubt breaks the old man's heart. Before the end of the episode, Turhan is dead, and thanks to his foolishly power-hungry political allies, the two races are headed for war.

Robert Reich tells us why I feel this way as he describes how things have been going recently on the economics front:
President Obama, meanwhile, is out on the stump trying to sell his “jobs bill” – which would, by the White House’s own estimate, create fewer than 2 million jobs. Yet 14 million people are out of work, and another 10 million are working part-time who’d rather have full-time jobs.

Republicans have already voted down his jobs bill anyway.

The disconnect between Washington and the rest of the nation hasn’t been this wide since the late 1960s.

The two worlds are on a collision course: Americans who are losing their jobs or their pay and can’t pay their bills are growing increasingly desperate. Washington insiders, deficit hawks, regressive Republicans, diffident Democrats, well-coiffed lobbyists, and the lobbyists’ wealthy patrons on Wall Street and in corporate suites haven’t a clue or couldn’t care less.

I can’t tell you when the collision will occur but I’d guess 2012.

Washington Pre-Occupied
Note how he doesn't make much of a point of talking about the difference between the two political parties at this point. It's clear to Reich, a former Clinton cabinet member and a politician in his own right, perceives that in this area there are no real differences. This is something I've been saying for some time, of course, as have many others out here in the land beyond DC. It's becoming apparent to folks who just recently moved into our neighborhood, now, that this is true.

The other point is more unnerving - Reich sees that in the near future things are going to get ugly. I'm afraid this is true. My guess is that it will be in 2013, particularly if Obama is re-elected, because it will instantly become clear that nothing is going to change. Should a Republican be elected to the White House, a distinct possibility at this point, It might take a little longer for the realization to set in, but it will nevertheless.

At that point, no one with any sense will enjoy being in this country.

No one in DC who has the power to change things wants to. They think they can just keep a lid on this thing, I'm sure, until the rest of us just learn to accept the way things are now.

I'm afraid that they're sorely mistaken. For us, this is becoming a battle of survival.

This is why I keep on trying to make the point that we need to demand of our politicians, all of them, that they do what's needed. If you're willing to pat them on the head and give them your vote, then you're doing nothing but perpetuating the problem.

NOTE 1: You can recite this in your sleep by now, can't you? Screenshot of the episode by Cujo359. Babylon 5 is the copyrighted work of J. Michael Straczynski, Warner Brothers, and a bunch of other people who had absolutely nothing to do with this article.


lawguy said...

I don't think it is much different here then it is in the rest of the developed world. Watching Greece and its politicians do their thing simply convinces me that although most of the west has what is callend democracy it is no more democratic than China or Russia.

I read comments on some of the more popular blogs and there are still a fair number of people who insist that Obama is so very different than any republican.

No matter who gets elected I suspect that if we live long enough we will be telling our great grandchildren that there really was a thing called the interstate, and you could drive a thing called a car from Cleveland to Columbus in 3 hours.

In other words I suspect we ar doomed and that there really won't be much resistance after all.

Cujo359 said...

We certainly are not the only country dealing with this sort of folly (perhaps failing to deal with it is a more accurate way of putting it?)

I'm not quite as pessimistic. I suspect that the U.S.'s time as the dominant power is about done. If we continue as we are, we will be a third-rate power before long, but somehow I suspect someone will get a clue someday. Out of the mess we've left them, some future generation will build something better.

I'd love for it to be we who started to build it, but that's more optimistic than I can be at the moment.