Unpleasant Things


Some years ago, my dog lifted his tail, plopped his rear-end onto the rug, put his rear legs up-and-out, then dragged himself along with his front paws.  It was an improbable sight and one that left a long brown skidmark on the rug.

Surely Pine-Sol and hot water would remove the offending stain, so after filling the bucket and grabbing a sponge, I returned to the scene of the crime.  As I bent to my task, I saw a few grains of, what  . . . Rice?  Na, dog never eats rice.  On closer inspection, I realized they were segments from a tape worm.  My poor mutt.  Well this certainly explained a few things.  For several months previously, I’d noticed poor Poochie’s taking a turn for the worse.  Oh, not so bad that a trip to the doctor’s was necessary, it was he just seemed off his feed, as it were.  He was listless, laying on the floor almost the whole day and heaving the occasional sigh.  He didn’t have his usual verve, nor the energy for his usual activities.  He slept a lot.  And his fur had lost its luster.

As we all know, tape worms are parasites.  They live off their host organisms without providing any benefits in return; it’s all a one-way street, with the worms getting fat and sassy.  Like all successful parasites, tape worms have learned not to take too much from their hosts, lest the hosts die (bad for the parasite).  Indeed, tape worms don’t take too much so they can remain in the hosts’ guts their whole lives.  But what the worms take, they take and so the host suffers a form of malnutrition and while the hosts don’t die, they do sicken.  Hosts end up like my Poochie: They no longer thrive and live a diminished existence.

Even worse, the worms’ infestations are so insidious the hosts aren’t even aware of them.  Indeed, like Poochie, the hosts will often resist being wormed, fighting and struggling against the pill.

Having seen this, I began to reflect on the socio-economic conditions in this country.  The filthy rich in our country see their incomes shoot to the moon on accelerating curves, while the poor working stiffs languish, their pay remaining flat — or actually going down.  Much like what happened to Poochie with his worm.

The filthy rich have become, and remain, the filthy rich, not by dint of their own labors, but by sucking a bit out of each member of the 99%.  The filthy rich will make sure they never kill off the 99% for they need the 99% to sustain them.  But what they will do, in sucking the life out the 99%, is cause them to weaken, to lose their joy de vere, to become listless and apathetic.  But like the tape worm, the filthy rich will not suck out so much that the 99% will finally realize what’s been happening to them, take the medicine to expel the worm.

Because we, like Poochie, are unaware of our infestations, we blame our ill health on everything but the worms.  For example believing they’ve hurt capitalism, we’ve emasculated our labor unions.  With Globalization and the staged recession of 2008, we too have become listless and apathetic.  We scramble for the few remaining livelihoods, even though they’ll pay less than the year before, and even less than the year before that.  Like poor old Poochie, we’ve become enervated and indifferent to our own suffering.

Parasites do not want to be dislodged, so they have evolved protective measures.  With tape worms, it’s a heavy wax coating that prevents it from being digested.  With the filthy rich, it’s a program of propaganda and corruption that directs our attentions elsewhere and gulls us into believing what’s happening is OK.  Not only OK, but that it’s wrong for us to reverse course and get more from our labors.  Second, the propaganda distracts us with specious nonsense about issues like abortion, gay marriage, creationism and prayer in school.  Third, corruption such that no office holder, or candidate for office, dares cross the filthy rich for fear the bribes . . . er, the campaign contributions, will be cut off.  Not only that, but the filthy rich promise that should the worst happen and the corruptee be turned out of office, suitable emoluments await working as lobbiests and consultants.

And so the filthy rich go from Cadillac to BMW to Mercedes-Benz to Bentley while the rest of descend from Buick to Nano.  The filthy rich get a new multi-million dollar home each year while the rest of us get canned and have our 3-bedroom ramblers foreclosed.  The filthy rich spend more on lunch at the club than most of us make in a whole month.  The “trickle-down economy” with which we’ve been hornswoggled by the filthy rich, has turned out to be a torrent flowing upward.

Make no mistake, the filthy rich operate on the same philosophy as a parasite: What’s your’s is mine and what’s mine in mine too.   No indeed, dear reader, the filthy rich are tape worms in America’s guts.

-Merlin-

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