It’s been most unsettling, over the last month or so, watching as the ship of state powers straight towards the reefs of financial meltdown, while the Dems and Pubs – establishment ruling class, with just about every one of them grubbing snout deep in the trough – do nothing much but squabble over the arrangement of the deck chairs, and figure out how to be the first one into the purser’s office to loot the safe. And if that wasn’t bad enough to put a dent in my enjoyment of the season: the Newton massacre of school children, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the murders in my own neighborhood, the fact that a basically decent and widely experienced candidate could be defeated in a national election by a legislatively untalented and inexperienced machine hack … all of this was depressing in itself. And don’t get me started on the State Department and the Mysteries of Benghazi. But when a credentialed spawn of academia is given op-ed space in the so-called paper of record to call for deep-sixing the Constitution as an outdated and discredited piece of paper, network television personalities can hector and abuse interviewees with regard to the Second Amendment of same, and an editorialist in a mid-western newspaper (who may be exaggerating for humorous effect, not that he would have a micro-speck slack cut for him if he were a conservative ripping on progressives by name) can call for the torture and execution of those not in agreement on a particular matter, and some fairly senior military commanders can be abruptly side-lined and discredited for playing hide-the-salami (or being assumed to have been playing hide the salami) with a woman not their spouse … well, really, one has to wonder what has been happening here. The ‘othering’ proceeds at a perfectly dismaying rate of speed, with mainstream media and assorted celebs cheerleading from front and center.
Frankly, I don’t know all the ins and outs of all of these matters. All I know is what I read on the internet in fairly centrist and non-gibbering news aggregators like this one. But these incidents give me cause for worry, and just the other day I hit on a simile which helped me make sense of it, after a fashion. It’s as if a fairly large nation-wide corporation was suddenly taken over by organized crime; the mission and purpose of the company and all of its resources were suddenly diverted by a small number of corporate managers and division chiefs at the top and directed instead towards criminal enterprises. Suddenly, all the old rules and understandings – even the same old trust between employees and the management cadre – are no longer to be relied upon.
Oh, there had always been small peculations here and there; local purchases and contracts going towards friends and family of management, pencils, envelopes and notepads diverted towards private use, company car used for personal errands, and the occasional incompetent employee tolerated because he or she is related to a major shareholder. All of this relatively minor misconduct has had a blind eye turned towards it for decades … but suddenly there is something new and malign stalking the corridors of company headquarters. The top management cadre openly flouts the rules, promotes to corner offices those with little experience, but who seem to get off on going over the top, reveling in openly breaking long-standing rules – and even civil laws of the land – and flaunting their authority. Long-time managers who won’t get with the new program are browbeaten and humiliated into retiring; lower-ranking employees are merely browbeaten and silently hate their bosses and what they are made to do for a paycheck. Those who can afford to change jobs or cash in their 401K do so with quiet regret. They don’t like what’s going on and don’t want to be a part of it, the company stockholders are as distraught as they are powerless. The rot seeps gradually through every division, every regional department. Customers are ignored where they are not abused outright. Trust is gone, suspicion is everywhere; clients and employees of the company are fleeing in droves since now the mission of the company is the aggrandizement of the executive branch rather than service to customers and profit/benefit to the shareholders.
And that’s how it all stands. Discuss.