The Great Plotnik

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Mulling About Politics 2: Shave the Wales

As Plotnik has been reminded, progress is not a road that goes directly from here to there. It's a bus to Bolivia with lots of unscheduled stops, switchbacks and pissed-off people on the side of the road.

Last night Plotnik and Ducknik were driving to Berkeley to see an interesting new one-actor show at the Aurora. It was Friday night, which means traffic, which means hurrying to try and get across the bay on time.

An Amtrak bus went by. Not an Amtrak train, an Amtrak bus, the kind of bus that serves as train transportation in so much of America. Plotnik wondered aloud about how he wishes he had a chance to vote for quality of life issues, such as cutting train service and bus service and library hours and the amounts of people working in a hardware store, instead of voting for people who mostly follow party lines so they can use the party's funds and mailing lists.

He posited that if the upper middle class-and-up in America amounts to, say, 15% of the population, and close to 100% of lawmakers and lobbyists come from that class -- then 15% of the population is making the laws for the other 85%. And therefore it's easy to cut bus service -- heck. We drive our kids to school.

Up With Plutocrats!

Unfortunately for Plotnik, Ducknik is an economist, and economists don't like to let statements like that lie. She reminded Plotnik that the reason we have trains at all in America is because the railroad barons were granted huge tracts of land for free in the 19th Century, and they got obscenely wealthy off that land, and incidentally built trains that helped propel America into the ranks of a world power. So it was win-win for the country.

(...except for these two, who were not waiting for the train, or the bus, and whose lands were appropriated, and ways of life destroyed. But hey. Collateral damage.)

Plotnik has always been in awe of the Big Thinkers -- the people who can see long periods of time, trends that are true despite momentary setbacks.

We WILL have national health care. It is inevitable, because the people will someday demand it. Right now the debate is not over health, but over the poor, and especially poor people of color. America does not like to admit it has a large underclass of under-served people. So why grant them health care, if they're not really there at all?

Crappy schools. Why? No money. Why? Money spent elsewhere. Where? Who the HELL knows. But Plotnik did not vote for crappy schools. And no one he voted for ran on a Crappy Schools policy.

Violent kids. Why? Blablabla, nobody knows. But how about this: Mom is sick. She's 350 pounds and has diabetes. Dad is in jail. He has a fourth grade education. Why? Crappy lives. But Plotnik did not vote for crappy lives for his fellow citizens. And no one he voted for ran on a Screw the Neediest platform.

Education is over-rated anyway. Why would anyone want to shave a country? Oh, SAVE the WHALES! Oh!


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