Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Isolation And What Follows

Here's an example of why I was interested that Chris Hayes now has his own prime time show on MSNBC:

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In it, Hayes interviews Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein and three people you've probably never heard of about how the sequestration is affecting Americans who don't live in DC. In addition to the extraordinary step of interviewing people who have some local knowledge of how it's affecting them, he also got some intelligent commentary out of Ezra Klein.

What struck me most about this conversation is mostly contained in the second segment, where Hayes mentions that one of the things Congress is complaining about is that the White House has cut back on tours. Of all the things we don't need. Then, one of his guests, Heather McGhee, stated what is probably obvious to most of us who don't live or work in the vicinity of DC:

"The issue behind this is the donor class in Washington, and that little goody [the White House tours] is what goes to donors."
And later:

Hayes: "Is there a point where the effects of austerity go from being invisible to being visible, where the folks in DC wake up?"

McGhee: "It becoming visible to people out in communities is one thing. It becoming visible, beyond White House tours, to the people who are decision makers is a completely different thing. What more visibility do you need than 20 million people who are un- or underemployed?"

[Those are my attempts at transcription, by the way, not MSNBC's.]

It really is, as she concluded, a democracy question, as in how much longer can our country go on when the needs of its citizens are so clearly beyond the attention span of the people who run it? At Corrente, Lambert Strether refers to DC as Versailles, the isolated and largely dysfunctional seat of the French government at the time of the revolution. That isolation has been a subject of discussion here a time or two, as well.

And no, I don't know the answer to my question. I hope that when change happens it won't be of the sort that obviated Versailles, but at this point I'm not optimistic. Too many people need to learn too many things for that to happen.

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