The Coastal Post - April, 1999

The Geltway to the Beltway

By Frank Scott

Despite the legend of our democratic system and its alleged superiority in the world, our global leadership depends more on ability to kill people or outspend them than any inherent strength of democratic values. We need look no further than our political system to see the contradictions between democratic rhetoric and anti-democratic reality.

A full year before the primary process, the nation already has a stream of intellectually empty vessels, chosen for their ability to soon to be filled with tremendous amounts of dollars from the wealthy minority that controls the nation. The campaigns have already begun, to convince people, or at least the minority that may vote, that this assortment of non-entities are just what we need for 21st century leadership. We are being primed to continue the 20th century , with some new advertising and buzzwords, but no change of any substance.

There may be a woman or even a non-white on the national tickets of the two wings of the established party, but they will represent as much difference as leaving the seat up or down in the toilet : one may be less annoying than the other, but the end result will still amount to waste. Corporate Capital Control (CCC) of everything that matters to markets and profits will continue, no matter what the sex or ethnic origin of the ruling party candidates. A different dress, preference or skin tone doesn't mean a change in the ideas that motivate the creation of daily reality.

The Washington Beltway is composed of people and institutions beholden to the American Geltway, and until that undergoes democratic reversal, sex and race won't amount to much more than cosmetic appearance in the ruling coalition. CCC gets what it pays for, and it has expanded its staff to include the over-used and under-valued term, diversity. Whether global or national in focus , whether the usual lily-white and male or the less frequent darker and female, CCC still represents the use and abuse of the earth and its people for a private profit return. That is the universe of economic and political life, and also the universal problem for humanity.

Corporate literary chefs cook their books to create tasty minority profits from the abundance of products that spell the good life to millions here and in the rest of the world. But even while many are licking their chops, the stench from their kitchen is polluting the planet. The output from CCC is not simply the delicious meal enjoyed at the upscale restaurant. It is also those reduced to eating at soup kitchens or out of food pantries, and the greater number who are driven to eat fast foods that guarantee them substandard diets and unhealthy lives.

CCC is cooking those books to show that forests are nothing more than lumber; that health care simply means moving units out of hospitals quickly; that feeding pets can be more profitable than housing humans and that incarceration deserves more funding than education. These are some of the rules that perpetuate a system of deadly waste and dangerous consumption, whose mind managers convince millions that it is the only thing that keeps us happy and safe from communism. Or crack cocaine. Or international terrorism. Or the current "rogue nations". What may be next?

The accounting practices of the Geltway are at cross purposes to humanity and its future, but they make good sense to the minority that feasts at the table set by the book cookers of capital. They tell us our economy has never been better, with more people working than ever . But during slavery, there was no unemployment among blacks in America. Does the number of jobs by itself indicate prosperity? Only the way a sick person who dies indicates a healthier population. We should not merely consider how the dollars are accumulated, but for whom, for what, and how they are allocated after that accumulation.

This can sound like economic talk that reduces people to glassy eyed boredom, but boring economics is what keeps most people from interest in that most important subject. We need to acquire some basic economic knowledge, but not the kind taught by those literary chefs and their cook-the-books institutions of the Geltway-Beltway. Our lack of interest promotes their unprincipled accumulation of wealth.

Capital plays three card monte with the lives of billions who are duped into picking the wrong card, all the time. The candidates of the political process are bought and paid for by the owners of the casino and merely act as street dealers in this scam in which the people lose, because they believe it is the only game in town. Of course, a majority opt out of the game completely, but they suffer the same establishment leadership, so there isn't much difference between voting or not voting. Unless the people can develop a political competition with democratic principles and interests, the electoral process will continue to be a rip-off that gets worse and more dangerous with each election.

The bipartisan Geltway-Beltway gang, so recently depicted as opposing forces, are one and the same when it comes to spending public funds for an idiotic missile defense program, an inflated military budget or a deflated public sector. The rhetoric and policies will differ in small ways, but the big picture remains the same. It is one of disintegrating social, political and economic futures and it needs to be changed. Just as CCC is starting the process early, there needs to be an early democratic counter-movement as well. Its direction needs to be from our house to the white house, instead of from the Geltway to the Beltway.

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