In the Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, by Howard Pyle, a socialist took money from people who had extra and distributed it to people who didn’t have enough. It was a bold plan. Many people didn’t care for his actions, the people who had money.
In American socialism it flows the other way. We have invented a machine that pulls wealth from the labor and ingenuity of a large, mostly impotent working-class and funnels it up. If this were on a crime show somebody would have suggested “following the money.” It wouldn’t be hard, though, just look for the people with the biggest offices, paid servants and multiple homes. For the sake of the “innocent” we call it capitalism.
Either way it comes out the same, somebody has to share a little money. Robin of Loxley chose to distribute it downward, corporate America chose the opposite. Hardly surprising.
The recent pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has offered stark proof of American Socialism for the wealthy, hedge fund managers and real estate speculators One hundred and thirty five billion of the CARES (Corona Aid Relief and Economic Security)act went to wealthy Americans. 135 billion more than was allocated for hospitals and almost as much as was earmarked for local and state governments. I guess they really do care.
Not enough, however to allocate precious food and resources to food banks, some of which have seen an increase of terrifying proportions. One food bank in Omaha that typically serves less than 100 people saw 900 show up in one day. After a tornado in Jonesboro Arkansas a local food bank received less than half the donations it expected. People just don’t feel comfortable parting with the food they have. It has become so tense uniformed national guardsmen have been sent in to provide stability. Food, on the other hand, has not.
In a statement unleashed from the White House late last week the President demanded states allow churches to open, claiming them to be essential businesses, much like liquor stores, one would suppose. This is almost universally opposed by scientists and physicians, but endorsed by ministers and pastors. It is hard to pass the plate over Zoom. Almost as hard to sway the faithful to vote red.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany took it to a whole new level of confrontation when she mused during a briefing “it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed.” Interesting, too, Trump, on the weekend he demanded they open houses or worship was seen practicing his faith on the rolling hills of Mar A Largo. Who knows what those godless reporters from the White House press corps were doing. More interesting still, Mar A Lago is one of many privately owned properties raking in the bread from the Trump presidency. This vacation brought to you by you, the American Taxpayer. The sheriff of Nottingham would be proud.
Will Rogers once said “in capitalism man exploits man, in socialism the opposite happens.” Maybe he’s right and maybe he was just practicing the wry irony for which he was famous. In times like these irony might be a good balm for the scorching rhetoric we are forced to endure.
However, it seems obvious Trump has used the presidency to enrich himself, his family, and and his family of companies. While he screams for an investigation into Hunter Biden, and echoes of Obamagate roll through the West Wing we are left wondering how did we get here?
More important, how do we get out? All you have to do is vote.