If the poor knew how to work the system, they wouldn't be poor.
-- John & Ken
This week I'm focused on anomie. I'm feeling it today because I've gotten a case of the rat's ass. Meaning I don't give a rat's ass about society this week, and I am turning that into a theme.
One of the things that's gotten my attention was a conversation I had with one of the neighborhood supermoms. We've been friendly since our family moved here and we gabbed about Obama the other night when I was picking up Boy from a party chez lui. We were struck by the fact that Obama is turning into a Democrat, whereas four months ago he was something different. He looks as if he is subtly trying to get the Clinton blessing eight years from today. In other words, he's turning into Edwards, kinda like I thought he would.
It's just that Clinton is such tool, you'd think that people would resist. But people are not resisting. People are conforming. People are losing touch with their ability to do anything different. I get nauseated, like I did at the all you can eat breakfast bar Sunday morning, staring into the immensity of tourist ass. I could feel my sodium count go up just looking at the tangled morass of bacon, the bright yellow egg mass, the woodpile of sausage, the forest of hash browns. And we ate it. And we watched Maria Bartiromo talk to a fund manager who said, 'get out of consumer products'. Well, of course. Why would the smart money be in consumer products?
I'm wondering if it makes sense, and it's going to take me a long time to figure it out, if we should try and have second-class citizenship in America. You know, officially. I mean there's always going to be a black market and a shadow economy, but as Cringely knows, credit card companies already know the size of that economy. Does it matter if you actually care about America, or is it merely sufficient that you live here? I mean a lot of people are too blind to care and don't think about it much - or have been convinced that what they think doesn't matter so they don't. There are also a good fraction of people who care but their care is contingent on things that are irrelevant to the actual meaning of the nation. Then there are a fraction of people who actually care and know what their caring means. Then there's a clever fraction who know but don't care at all because they're gaming the entire system, and of course I had laywers in mind when I mentioned that last fraction.
So if you had to pay 1,000 bucks to be a voting class citizen, would you pay? Would you care? If you got a tax rebate for selling your citizenship, would you sell out? If non-voting citizens got a tax ceiling of 15% would you give up the vote, and if voting citizens... ahh. You know what would happen. The political class would vote itself superior. We do that already. That's what you do with what you inherit. You use it.
So what if your time in America was just uncivic? If you just didn't care about all that political crap. You've got your apartment, your sports team, your TV, your job and your supermarket. All you need is a lover and some spare time. Who cares about the rest. You're just surviving right? Why would you need to care about Iraq? It doesn't matter who is president, none of that makes a difference in your life. Just don't drive drunk, pay your taxes and stay out of trouble. Simple.
Where this becomes very interesting is with regard to the Internal Empire and the External Empire.
Let's say you're the exact same person, an uncivic civilian, and you live in Iraq. Why would you care if America is the boss's boss's boss or if it's Saddam Hussein? You're just surviving. All that matters is the basic human stuff. Why does anybody need to belong to a nation? What is the point if its politics become impenetrably complex and way over your head? Where does that put anti-Americanism in an American world hegemony?
Once upon a time I said, half jokingly, that the greatest thing about being an American is the comfort of knowing that the US military will not be used against me. I'd hate to be the bad guys in America's sights. But maybe there are another billion or so folks who feel the same way elsewhere on the planet. People who wish they could be here but can't. People who want maybe a little bit more than just Levi's, Coke, McDonald's and Air Jordans. Why can't we offer these people citizenship, or half-citizenship?
I forget what it is that people who live in Puerto Rico or Guam get. They can't vote. They're right smack in the world of the American Protectorate. Iraqis are sorta in there too, especially if the state of Iraq eventually fails. And of course every illegal alien residing in the Internal Empire are right there. How to recognize them - these legions that don't really give a rat's about following the rules of full American citizenship. Those who just dig being an uncivic civilian.
We could grant them some limited rights and get a real class for them. The precedent stands. Think about it.