My father was a very smart and courageous man. He lived through the depression, served his country and received a Purple Heart in World War II. He deftly navigated the charters of the corporate and social world of New York City, and then reinvented himself at the age of 72. At almost 90 he looked at the financial landscape, and I think looking back at the different things that we talked about, he knew on some very profound level, that economically things were going to go into a tailspin. And he was tired. He was ready to go.
He knew exactly how he wanted to go and was very clear about it (I had hoped that he would make different choices, but he did not), and what I discovered was that, pretty much, aside from myself, no one was listening. But my Dad was very much in control of his own destiny, and things did go the way he wanted them to go, whether anybody wanted them to or not. And frankly, his timing was pretty good.
And what I see today is that President Obama was always very clear in what he would do as President of the United States. Either many Americans weren’t listening, or they believed that he wouldn’t go though with it, that it was only “empty campaign rhetoric.”
And in some ways it seems to me that the wealthy (Rush Limbaugh, by his own admission, is no exception) are furious that he intends to actually go through with what he promised, ie that they are going to pay higher taxes. And it seems to me as if we are on some level, this was actually articulated by some cable TV shows last night, playing a game of chicken, or witnessing a power play, between the Obama Administration and the wealthy. This is what I think. That they want his administration to fail because they don’t want to be told what to do by a man who is Afro American, and they do not want their taxes to go up, and they don’t have, it seems to me, much empathy for the folks that have less money than they do.
They are staging a weird sort of protest against what they, I think rightly, see as a reorganization of a social order. The wealthy white man might no longer be in control. Better to humiliate President Obama, take a loss for a certain amount of time, send the Democrats permanently into the wilderness, and return to a free market economy, hopefully with no or little restriction, business as usual, just like the good old days of the last eight years.
This is what I am thinking and hoping. That because they haven’t been listening, and they are so intent on their own agenda, that they have misjudged the new president, severely. President Obama is very clear on what he wants to happen. And I hope, among all the noise, and smoke and taffy, that the old world order of the wealthiest in this country getting pretty much a free lunch, compared to the rest of the country, is dead on arrival. And that we continue to see a new America emerge and once again reinvent herself.