Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"sticker shock"?

The American people will experience "sticker shock"? Was that the best Rahm Emmanuel (sp?) could manage to criticize the CBO's estimate that the various wars we are funding in the Middle East will cost an estimated 2.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years? I don't know if the triviality of the language -- I think of a person buying a microwave or a television experiencing "sticker shock" -- should be attributed to Emmanuel's pandering, "ordinary guy" performance, or to the inclination of television news to pick out pretty little sound bites with which to decorate their reporting. In any case, wow. The words "sticker shock" are not what occur to me. More epic, cataclysmic words occur to me, like "criminal neglect" and "national collapse," words to convey the horrific events swirling about the national unconscious. But I guess the best we can hope for from our establishment opposition is to sound off with piddling quibbles and complaints.

An establishment opposition -- which means, for now, mainstream Democrats aligned with the DLC -- is fine and dandy. Until, of course, the entire establishment suddenly careens, Titanic-like, toward an iceberg of wars, and both parties are so wedded to the corrupt ways of power that neither can raise a hand to pull the wheel of the ship of state off its collision course. Which is the situation we find ourselves in now. Isolated voices in the legislature do not an opposition make.

So on we steam. "Sticker shock" ! Shall we refer to the Holocaust as "some really bad karma" or "a bummer"? People reach for language of their leaders, hoping to elevate themselves upon it to a position from which to see the world. What do we have now? Leaders reaching down to the common speech of the people, using it to curry favor with these people, a high school popularity contest on a large scale. I can say this: Abe Lincoln would never have been mediocre enough to be this cool. His stark, elegant language would never have passed muster with current politicians and their marketing agents. "Sticker shock"!? Are you serious?

Obviously not serious enough.

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