This is Superman time: Lights, Camera, Shut-up, ACTION.
I'd do something or die trying.
Instead of posing for the camera, I'd raid the piggy banks of the 0.5%— you know who I'm talkin' 'bout— who ripped 90% of our nation's wealth.
I'd take that money and make some jobs, millions of really good ones, and I'd hand them out like cookies at the county fair.
I wouldn't have to say one word about it; I'd let my boldness speak for itself. I'd open my wallet and say, "Damn, that road is full of holes. That library's been closed all month. None of these kids or old folks have any vaccinations. What the hell happened to a "free press?" I'd throw money like flying darts at the circus.
The rich, the pin-prick of people who've hoarded nearly all the cash in this country, are not feeling any pain. They are on an economic morphine drip, oblivious. Their servants, their house slaves, are largely the members of our own Congress.
These 21st Century Plutocrats are profiting from a breakdown in civilized society— and their idea of "long-term planning" is their next line of crack. They think can get away with it by hiding in private gated communities, private planes, with private tutors, private doctors, piles of guns, their own little island of the mind. Marie Antoinette was never so deluded as this crop of THIEVES.
If I were president, the pain and sacrifice quota would get turned on its head. I wouldn't be satisfied until public welfare for the public good was number one. A life of equality, democracy, and knowledge-seeking would be paramount. You wouldn't hear me say it more than once. I'd just do it.
I wouldn't pull that b.s. stunt where you pretend environmental protection and job-creation are at cross-purposes. We could employ every man, woman, and child in this country to battle pollution and we'd be lucky to make a dent in the toxic waste dump we've created.
I wouldn't stump the lie that kids just need to buckle down, and parents need to scream more about homework— I'd fund a first rate public education for all.
I'd make phones work again.
Healthcare would be free, for everyone, and prevention in every pot. I'd fund research and investigation into all the pressing issues of our time; I'd turn to the arts in every part of public life. I'd cherish music, theater, filmmaking, publishing— I'd be so busy DOING STUFF you'd never hear me make a peep.
Take note: I am one of those millions whose grandparents starved before they were working class. Their children, my parents, made a dent into middle-class life through a nation's commitment to education and democratic opportunities that were never possible for their elders.
It was supposed to be "Up, Up, and Away, TWA!"
But now we realize it was just a blip, a deviation from the Gilded Age.
The field I work in, publishing and journalism, has been devastated in the last generation. Among my peers, we make 10% (on average) of our former pay scale. We've lost our homes, our careers, our children's educational prospects, our health, our pensions, we've out-frugal'ed the frugal. Moonshine never looked so good.
And what about our old readers, the formerly educated American people? They're rapidly on their way to becoming a crowd of the illiterate, the raptured, and the wildly un-informed. Few people read, and there's little original to be read. Yet everyone knows about Kim Kardashian! That's a free press in a Diamond-Crusted Banana Republic.
A writer or journalist has more in common with a displaced Detroit autoworker than they do with any illusion of white-collar impermeability. What white collar? There's no job— sitting, standing, running, wearing ties or pasties or hardhats— that hasn't been wiped off or whittled from the face of America.
I live in a California coastal town, Santa Cruz, where everything used to be made right here: our food supply, our toilet seats, our chewing gum. Now, virtually nothing legal is made here and the one last gem, the public university, is in ruins. This is a "pretty" town, where because there's still clean air poor people compete like dogs to wait on the rich for peanuts. If you're struggling in our town and you want a major entrepreneurial break, meth dealing is your viable opportunity.
If I had a speech to make, it'd be four words: This Will Not Stand. If the rich don't want a middle class, fine, they'll get a mob. They won't know who to trust— and why should they? Their culture of robbery, corruption, and elitism has no decency, no floor, no noblesse oblige. It's only trap doors, all the way down.
Are you poor, forlorn and hungry?
Are there lots of things you lack ?
Is your life made up of misery?
Then dump the bosses off your back.
Are your clothes all patched and tattered?
Are you living in a shack?
Would you have your troubles scattered?
Then dump the bosses off your back.
Are you almost split asunder?
Loaded like a long-eared jack?
Boob— why don't you buck like thunder,
And dump the bosses off your back?
All the agonies you suffer
You can end with one good whack
Stiffen up, you orn'ry duffer
And dump the bosses off your back.
Song from the IWW Songbook. Sung in concert by Greg Brown, Gillian Welch, and Ani DiFranco