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A Better Class of Criminal

Jose 7 Comments

Imagine a viable presidential candidate 75-100% funded by the people.

Not that that’s going to happen for a generation or two, but let’s imagine that for a second. The idea that the person holding the top public service position in the country would actually be beholden to the people which he / she’s supposed to serve is almost foreign to us. Our idea of government these days is all types of fucked up, and unfortunately, this presidential campaign has only further made me believe in the government’s underbelly of constant corruption, not of some ill-conceived change.

In the most recent Robert Downey Jr. covered Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi (a liberal writer if I ever read one) goes in deep on the two viable presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. We know without question that John McCain kowtows to the needs and wants of multi-million dollar corporations. No one would equivocate his intentions with populist intentions. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is a whole ‘nother situation.

My biggest question with Barack comes from the almost proletariat rhetoric he’s given us for the last few years. He says he wants to signal a change of the guard, disengage lobbyists and special interests from interfering with government, raise taxes, and ultimately change the mentality of the people. Great. Yet, as we look at the facts, we start to see that, regardless of who’s going to be the incumbent for these divided states, green speaks louder than any red, white, or blue arrangement.

Check the following from Mr. Taibbi:

Sadly, the answer to that question increasingly appears to be that Obama is, well, full of shit. He has made no bones about his plans to raise income by soaking the rich, promising to roll back the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000, increase the top tax rate on capital gains to 25 percent and raise the top rate on qualified dividends. He has also pledged to deliver a real stomach punch to hedge-fund managers, raising the tax rate on most of their income from 15 percent to 35 percent.

These populist pledges sound good, but many business moguls appear to be betting that the tax policies, like Obama himself, are only that: something that sounds good. “I think we don’t want to make too much of his promises on taxes,” says Robert Pollin, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts. “Not all of these things will happen.” Noting the overwhelming amount of Wall Street money pouring into Obama’s campaign, even elitist fuckwad David Brooks was recently moved to write, “Once the Republicans are vanquished, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for that capital-gains tax hike.”

He goes on in the article to discuss Obama’s main contributors, and how some of Obama’s moves came from a lobbyist or former employee of a corporation giving him a little phone call and asking him not to place some vote or change course with a previous statement. I honestly believe that Obama went into this campaign with the best intentions, but setting all-time records in spending won’t come from the 2 million or so individual donors to his campaign, but that coterie of a few hundred who gave 5-6 figures so he’d do their will.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re dealing with a better class of criminal. It’s not anyone we can see right in front of us, but the ones we don’t see. They’re somewhere on vacation off the coast of a “Third-World” country, or in a private meeting with some of our elected officials. They’re in board rooms helping to write talking points to fend us off. They’re lining the pockets of an army of people to create special effects way more sophisticated than smoke and mirrors.

We’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes, if I’m using the right metaphor. Then again, if we honestly believed that any individual would somehow usurp the system by penetrating the system without serious major support doesn’t understand what’s at hand. For the last 8 years, I’ve been reminded of how egregious the powers that be can be with their corruption. It wasn’t enough that for the 8 years before that, some of us were under the impression that all of us were doing that much better. GWBush was a test to see what we’d do if pushed past the limits of the previous generation. Our answer: not that much.

In countries all over the world, people have literally sacrificed life and limb to see to it that their governments were afraid of them and not the other way around. this country has lost that concept. Even the media, who we often criticize for not giving the full details, have slowly started to help the general populace read between the lines in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Yet, we’re still not angry enough to do anything other than draw up signs and walk down streets.

And I do mean, we. It’s not enough to just vote. We need to organize in our communities and educate in whatever capacity possible. Because if our own elected officials won’t look out for our interests, we’ll need to fend for self. I’ve become ambivalent again about Mr. Obama. Not that I’d ever vote for John McCain and his thuggery, but I almost feel like … my vote’s going to waste, and I’m just waiting for him to say and do the right thing to persuade me in one direction or the other.

If the will of 2 million individual donors wasn’t good enough to persuade him to take care of his people, then it is we who’ve been robbed.

jose, who thinks this isn’t what we need or want right now, but it’s what we deserve …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonA Better Class of Criminal

Comments 7

  1. Tracy Rosen

    I’m not …(ok, just noticing my words appearing below this box as I type – I’m easily distracted…) …where was I, I’m not American. My position throughout this election process (I canNOT get over how long an election takes in the states!) has been as a voyeur. As such, I was ecstatic to see Obama chosen as the Democratic nominee. (Must admit, this is tongue-tying me a bit…is my comment appearing on your blog as I type? That’s hot, but takes some getting used to) Why? Because he didn’t look like the nominees I usually see – neither did Hilary but there was something magical about Obama (look at that – first name for Hillary, family name for Obama…shit) that I just didn’t see in Hilary. A spark. A promise.

    Now that I read what you report here…not sure yet what to think, though I am somewhat at ease that I don’t need to worry about voting.

    Definitely looking forward to reading what others who have more invested in this election have to say. For real.

    Tracy Rosens last blog post..Taking Action

  2. Tracy Rosen

    ok Jose. Had a feeling I’d be back. You are keeping me from the beautiful sunshiny afternoon with this post ;)

    @jlvblogger Don’t be disillusioned. Progress comes from below, not from above. As Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” (can you re-tweet on a blog? well, just did – @professorkim)

    I’m re-reading your post, and re-framing it with this tweet freshly sung in my mind.

    The question that I have now is – and now what? Evidently the stories are getting out there – of where each candidate’s interests may lie (when looking at where the money is coming from).

    ProfessorKim has it right – progress comes from below. It’s why I plug away at what I do in as loud a manner as possible – demanding certain conditions for my students and myself, creating my own assessment criteria and sharing what works with everyone I know. If I wait for the perfect teaching situation to be made into policy and handed to me … well…

    Obama said it himself – we are the change we have been waiting for. (I think he quoted Alice Walker)

    How are you (I am including all American voters who are as horrified as you are) going to remind him of that and hold him to it? (Or, as your final paragraph seems to indicate, do you feel that the strings have been so firmly attached to his limbs that he can’t be held up without them?)

    That’s it! I’m free to go out to the sun now! I’m out.

    Tracy Rosens last blog post..Taking Action

  3. NYC Educator

    That’s a thoroughly depressing thought, and I can’t say I haven’t had it myself. My best retort is that we all know what McCain stands for, and at least we have a chance with Obama. Taibbi is consistently cynical, and as much as I usually like that, I really hope he’s wrong. Otherwise I think Canada is in my future.

    NYC Educators last blog post..TV or Not TV?

  4. Pingback: tweactions to my dissent ;) at tracyrosen.com

  5. Faith

    Hi,

    I just started reading your blog. I haven’t even read the Rolling Stone article yet but I feel the same way. I was taking a break from writing the next post on my blog where I mentioned similar concerns. Yes he’ll be better than McCain…but how much? And I don’t think it would be him personally, but the other silent minority. But he’s been saying it for anyone to hear about it’s up to us. If we’d give up some of our comfort the lives of EVERYONE would be better overall. Feel free to visit. http://www.actsoffaithinloveandlife.blogspot.com

    Faiths last blog post..Do Something

  6. Jonathan

    I’ve left this post open for almost a week. Harsh words, indeed.

    I don’t have a thoughtful answer, or a clever retort.

    Rather, let’s pick up from a few phrases you tossed out:

    It’s not enough to just vote. We need to organize in our communities and educate in whatever capacity possible. Because if our own elected officials won’t look out for our interests, we’ll need to fend for self.

    That’s a starting point. That’s a good starting point.

    Jonathans last blog post..New math blog: f(t)

  7. Pingback: How and why I voted « JD2718

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