Tuesday, September 23, 2008
A guy bought an old house in, let's say, upstate New York. He got it cheaply and sight unseen, knowing it was a fixer-upper.
As it turned out, "fixer-upper" was an overly optimistic euphemism. The main timbers, door surrounds, and window casings were dry rotted and mushy. Windows were cracked, broken, or warped, and the floor full of soft spots, rotted carpets, and loose boards. The roof was all patches and shambles; the brick fireplace and chimney crumbling.
But the foundation was solid, and in the end there was nothing to do but tear down the entire decrepit superstructure and have it hauled away. Starting with a time-tested and integral foundation, the property owner built a new, modest, but functioning house and lived in it the rest of his life.
If we look at the current incarnation of American government, how can anyone doubt that this enormous and rotten system of patronage and payoffs, this swollen bureaucracy of executive departments and do-nothing agencies (did you know the Fed has and Energy Department that's supposed to give it a handle and some control over our energy situation?), this gargantuan and parasitic war machine, this incipient dictatorship and secret police apparatus, needs to be demolished and utterly swept away, right down to its foundations.
Our foundation -- our Constitution -- is solid, and could serve as the basis for a new government. But it needs to be shored up by a constitutional convention which acknowledges and deals with new realities that didn't exist in 1787 -- the rise of big capital and of big capital's illegitimate, quasi-governmental power, and the advent of the ubiquitous electronic media that plutocratic rulers since Mussolini have eagerly employed to manipulate gullible and vulnerable populations with a relentless blanket of fascist propaganda.
This country was founded on the idea that the welfare of the people is the object of government, and that it exists to serve us. Jefferson believed, and so do I, that when a government to longer serves its own people and oppresses them instead, it needs to be demolished, and another government erected in its place.
We still have some valuable real estate (although its value has been undermined somewhat by the global warming enabled by this corrupt and now insolvent government). We still have a solid foundation. We still have an educated and skilled work force, willing and able to scrap the so-called "service economy" and return instead to making things of value for a living.
But we've reached the point where things absolutely must change fundamentally, and we can no longer tolerate the oppression and tyranny of this rotted and insolvent government of plutocrats, fascists, Wall Street swindlers, and terrorist warmongers.