Monday, February 15, 2010

The Republicans of North Korea

Yes. I admit it. I an Un-American. I listen to the BBC. The BBC offers a look at the world beyond the United Kingdom. That view is not entirely free of prejudice but it is almost entirely free of limitations. Partly I presume that that larger view is a legacy of the British Empire on which the sun never set as opposed to America on which, to look at our Teapartiers and other neo-fascist lunatics, one would think that the sun never rose.

I have just finished listening to a report of a BBC correspondent who visited Pyongyang, North Korea's capital for my geographically challenged fellow countrymen. He attended an open meeting with college students in the North Korean capital. One young woman confronted the correspondent and asked in fluent, nearly unaccented English if she seemed uninformed about the world, malnourished, oppressed or ignorant? Clearly she was none of those things. What she was is part of North Korea's supremely entitled and privileged ruling class. Of course she was not ignorant. Of course she was not malnourished. Of course she was not uninformed about the larger world. And of course she was not oppressed because she is part of the elite that oppresses the rest of the nation.

Hearing that report I was struck by the correspondences between that North Korean student's view of her nation and its place in the world and that of our own Republican Party.

In the Republican view, they still have jobs and are very comfortably off thanks to their unconscionably enormous bonuses paid by companies they've driven into the ground at the expense of the less privileged classes. They need no "stimulus package" and, therefore, in their blinkered reasoning, no one else does either.

In the Republican view, they have health care or can afford it if they don't. They need no public option and in fact want to stifle the competition for the insurance companies which they run or on whose boards of directors they have lucrative sinecures. So what if some people they don't know die sooner of preventable diseases or have their families impoverished so their doctor friends can buy that new titanium putter and drive up the the golf course in the newest BMW?

In the Republican view, taxes, any taxes at any level, are too high because they want all of their money. Let the rest of the population make soup out of bark or grass or dirt. After all, the Republicans great-great-grandfathers pulled themselves up by the bootstraps of slaves or non-union workers or exploited immigrants to create the trusts, family foundations and dummy corporations from which the current generation draws a comfortable living.  Therefore, the rest of the nation, every single one of them, should be able to do the same even after the Republicans have repossessed those boots, straps and all.

The Republicans pooh-pooh the disintegration of society...except when they need to do so for fear mongering purposes to distract the attention of the hoi poloi. After all, things are quite civilized in their country clubs and gated communities and they can always hire additional armed security if things amongst the lower classes get more unruly. After all, why should they put their (great-great-grandfather's) hard-earned cash into things like education, health care, jobs programs and social services that only make the great unwashed...uppity and less suitable for service.

The terrible thing about these attitudes shared by the privileged ruling classes in North Korea and America is that the attitudes arise from a lack of empathy and willful ignorance. It matters not in which country these oligarchs live they share and retain power through a pattern of lies designed to maintain their own privileges regardless of the viciousness visited on their fellow citizens.

The Teaparty movement here in the United States is only the latest manifestation of the fact that lying loudly and long enough will always convince one third of the population of your rightness and confuse another third sufficiently to provide an opening for the oligarchs to regain or maintain control.

And oh, if you are worrying about your health, unemployment or mortgage payment those of us who profit from your predicament think it's really all your own fault, but never mind...look over here...there's the Super starlet not wearing panties is scooting across a limousine seat.