Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't need no Steinbeck to survive this Depression

"If Americans had listened to Steinbeck, would things be different today?"

That's the question asked by a headline writer in The Denver Post -- metro Denver's only major newspaper these days -- atop an op-ed-page column by Rachel Dry from The Washington Post. In the piece, Dry reports that reading John Steinbeck is again a popular pursuit.

Especially since current times are so tough, Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," the story of a Depression-era family picking up stakes in dusty Oklahoma and moving to California where life wasn't much better, resonates again with many readers, Dry reports.

But Dry suggests that Steinbeck's later writing is even more apt for today's readers. "At the end of his career, Steinbeck's main subject was his extreme distaste for materialism in America," she writes. Two non-fiction works of the late Steinbeck, "The Winter of Our Discontent" and "Travels With Charlie in Search of America" (which I read), "have it all," Dry says.

"Apathy, greed, moral decay, a dissection of an America gone soft."

Well, I know I've gone soft because I spent 18 months trying to cure my body of colo-rectal cancer, when I could not exercise properly.

I know, too, that I cannot say I've "gone soft" Dry-style, or Steinbeck-style.

I am actually going back to the church of my youth, I'm not apathetic enough to keep me from writing my opinion in this newly started blog, and, though I would like to make much more money than I am making now, I still don't make enough to be able to describe myself as greedy.

And I suspect many, many more Americans are like me.

They decry the near total destruction of the American middle class by high-flying and high-powered corporate forces under the guise of free-market democracy -- just as I do.

And they can only hope -- because its the only thing we can afford -- that the current Depression will end in a way that our government rebuilds the nation's middle class along the way.

That's my opinion.

To be frank, I don't much care whether you like it or not.


  1. I am confused about your reference to a free market democracy. I did not realize we , as Americans, live in a democracy. The people have been indoctrinated with that idea since I can remember. The government up until the Civil War was run as a Republic, the way the "Founding Fathers" originally established it. There is a huge distinction between the two. I am posting two links to read or listen to which will clarify this distinction. You can skip through the first 5 minutes of the You Tube video for the quick version. I do recommend viewing the whole video since the visual aids are excellent reminders of the past. The other link is for the intellectual reader who prefers the written word.
    The word "democracy" does occur in the US or any of the 50 State Constitutions nor the "Bill of Rights".

    When examining many of the political decisions made over the past forty years the political structure known as "Oligarchy" becomes more apparent for Americas future. Engels and Marx wrote extensively on this subject. The "elites" rule and the rest of us merely exist for their benefit and gain. I believe that the destruction of the American middle class which you and I agree is occurring is representative of this belief.

    "Free Markets" have never destroyed an economy or a nation since the beginning of recorded history. There is numerous evidence in 3000 BC of Greek trading vessels and Middle Eastern merchants growing and expanding cultures. History indicates that acquiring wealth has always been beneficial to all. It is the control of wealth that creates wars and social injustice. Control by governmental mandate is the worst injustice a society can have inflicted upon it.

    I speak of society as a whole the economy being only one component. Once a society becomes complacent and places all their faith in government they lose their identity as individuals. You quoted someone using the term "Americans gone soft". Obviously an aggressive political term from the "far right". Away to keep the debate off point.

    Politicians use the economy to get elected. People vote with their pocketbooks and continue to be less educated on the political process. The main reason Lincoln began the Civil War was because of the economy. The GDP of the south was 70% of the entire US at the time. The north could not afford to lose that. Lincoln made many derogatory statements concerning slaves to get elected. It is all mis-direction now as it was then.

    They wanted "power and control" of that GDP so they could further their agenda. Their agenda has now manifested itself into the near "Oligarchy" we have today. The same power Lincoln's army fought for is now chastised for the current economic turmoli we have. Why? Because the government now wants to control and micro-manage the monster they created as it moves towards a "Nationalized Socialist" state. Now is the time to pick the low hanging fruit.

    Americans are hurting. In comparison to what? We have still to reach the levels of the recession of the 1980's. Interest rates are at record lows yet the banks will not lend money we have entrusted to them with no conditions. The unending mentions of the "Great Depression" is the "politics of fear" which GWB was constantly accused of. If something such as WMD or a Great Depression do not exist how can a person fear it? The strong possibility that it may exist is what creates "fear". Fear being an emotion government can easily control is also one of the stongest within the human condition.
    The EU nations are now denouncing the reckless proposed spending being authored in the proposed 2010 budget. I suggest you read more of the Euopean, Russian, Chinese and Israeli publications to really see how the world is viewing us.

    The congress over the past forty years has passed many laws forcing the "Free Market" system to fail. Repealing Glass-Segal, affirmative action, mandating Fannie/Freddie to rubber stamp any loan, de-regulating trade. Passing law after law forcing American companies to be non-competitive globally. The list is limitedless.

    What was a derivative in 1960??? They never existed. Leverage caused the 1929 crash and derivatives are a highly leverage form of investment. Now today I hear that that the congress is proposing ledgislation to regulate them. Regulate !!?? Why not prohibit?

    Now a person becomes president, it did not matter who won, who has no clue of how to govern a Republic. He only knows what was spoon fed to him by association and an educational system which has indoctrinated him with socialistic ideology. There is no room for other ideas or counter arguments. He is NO differrent than the past four adminstrations. Hell, John Kennedy would be labeled a right winger today.

    Your middle class wish will not have air to breath under BHO. Accept it. The only solution is to establish a a 3rd party. A "Reform Party" with those who respect the original Constitution. The country can then heal. The public will begin to understand what we were found on and how we became what we were. A country everyone could love.

    LINKS to explain what a Republic is.

    E. Nowak...Spring Hill, FL

  2. Ed,

    First, thanks for responding -- and especially for sighning up as a follower. Tell me by e-mail what that means. Are you notified when I post something new? Or are you notified of a comment like this that effectively responds to you?

    Those are all things I'm still learning about these bogging functions.

    About your comments: I tried the links and enjoyed the 10-minute video clip, but barely could get through (yet) the printout of the text piece. That's pretty heavy lifting, dude (or in your case I should say Dude), but not much heavier than your comments themselves. You say my poems look depressing on the website, but the length and deep intellectualism of your remarks are almost depressing as well, especially considering the medium (this electronic blog) is geared for short, quick communication that doesn't support heavy-duty topics and discussion.

    I liked them anyway, and hope you continue reading and writing. Thanks again,