Scrolling through TV Guide, I noticed Bill Moyers’ new show yesterday featured activist/guitarist Tom Morello of The Nightwatchman. I called down to Gary to watch it and he already had found it on his own. (Morello was and is part of the band, Rage Against the Machine.) It was encouraging to see Morello speaking and singing about social justice. It was wonderful to hear someone talk about lost potential and speak up for working people. You can find him HERE singing Woody’s song “This Land Is Your Land,” and HERE, singing one of his own, "Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine." The man has something to say.
He’s not alone. Lately a lot of people have had something to say about the way our country seems to be drifting off course.
Ironically, a better funded and more insistent voice is also speaking. I’ve heard loud claims from the wealthy minority claiming that they are the victims of "class warfare." The wealthiest people in America pay a much smaller percentage of their income in taxes, they benefit from our free market and often from our wars. Their sons and daughters do not go to war, and their homes are locked and barricaded and policed and cleaned by others. They send their children to private schools and they attack others for wanting schools as fine. They want to deduct the expense of sending their children to these elite schools, but they are quick to point out that “throwing money at it doesn’t solve a problem.”
Money seems to have solved their problems with safety, comfort, opportunity, and education. It seems to have kept them safe from war, while the poorer parents of America see their sons and daughters bleed.
Is anyone still unaware that while they are more productive than at any time in history the middle class is strangling; that the gap between rich and poor is as wide as the Pacific Ocean; that we are not inferior to any nation on the planet, but 24% of our children—our children—live in poverty? We are a wealthy nation with an embarrassing record compared to other industrialized nations when it comes to healthcare. It isn’t the poor who have benefited from this injustice.
But the wealthiest citizens in the most secure and proud nation standing for liberty and justice for all, these wealthy individuals complain of class warfare? As people demand justice and fairness, the right to jobs and decent wages and opportunity for their children—the wealthy whine about being abused?
Isn’t this a little like the fox complaining when the hens lock the gate on their pen?
ABOVE: That's the great Woody Guthrie with his guitar labeled "This machine kills fascists." Just below is Tom Morello in the color photo. My old car used to have a bumper sticker: "Art Saves Lives."