Letters to the Bouncy Banker...

Letters to the Bouncy Banker...
...from a struggling artiste.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Letter to the Bank #64

Dear BM,

Apparently some conservative member of Congress was saying something about how the poor should do their bit, pay their part, contribute their portion to the tax rolls. Probably went on to declare them—er...the vast majority of the citizens of these fair states—spongers and welfare state leeches. In fact didn’t the whole tea party thing start with some mean rant by some news commentator (Rick Santelli) about how people were in debt and being kicked out of their homes because they made stupid, irresponsible financial decisions and they deserved nothing less? What a strange inspiration for a movement, and what a nasty foundation to build a political platform on.

I am constantly appalled by the nastiness of the disconnected classes in this society. In some form or other the same disconnect is repeated in each and every corner of this planet—those born to wealth or those who have built their wealth, especially those who know deep down they have built it on the backs of underpaid, under insured workers, cannot afford to feel the depth of their own self disgust and so they separate, compartmentalize, divide, pull apart until they no longer can see their own role in the financial mess around them and can then sit back, inspired by the likes of the verbally dexterous Rick Santelli, and bemoan the stupidity of the little people who they (as they perceive it) float. In their fury (that runs in counterpoint to the fury of the working classes) they have set about to dismantle the safety nets that have for so long, in their opinion, only coddled the masses. They blame these so called masses and fortify their compounds waiting for the day when the plebeians come to demand their rights—rights the rich know, in the backs of their clouded minds, the privileged classes steadily eroded or even denied working families in their own efforts to maintain an ultimately unsustainable lifestyle.

I’ve been trolling the internet for images of protest signs world wide, specifically from Cairo where a fledgling democracy is having a painful birth but appears determined to breath strongly and deeply, South Korea where the embattled middle classes are making their voice heard as the gap between rich and poor grows, and Athens where the debt crisis is at CRISIS point. I show a random few here (without credit but this can be corrected if anyone insists) that I found visually interesting, and to which I could relate (no I cannot read Greek). I assumed I’d be finding signs I mostly empathized with but far from it. The desperate and the indignant comprise of all political stripes. The difference lies in their comprehension of their relationship to power, or their understanding of power structures. The disenfranchised with nothing to lose and those with plenty to lose will fight for their perceived rights on different platforms targeting governments or the wealthy and either way they are hoping to be heard by someone or something deep in the cloud of their wildly divergent frustrations. We live in a world where governments either merge with wealth, or clash with it and in doing so either prove themselves strong enough to impose regulations on unfettered profit motives and tax havens, or so weak they loose their clout because they  come to depend too much on the very thing that is undermining their credibility, the people with the money to vote them back in. At any point in any given day it becomes harder and harder to know who one’s opponent is, or who it is you need to educate, need to aim your frustrations at. As you know I choose you as the object of my fury and—all too frequently—contempt. You, the lowly bank manager, the petty bureaucrat, the salesman or woman, who is supposedly there to help the customer but usually is only doing the company’ bidding. I do not blame you for doing what you have to do to hold onto your job but you will suffer the consequences of being the face of unscrupulous and uncaring companies. The appalling optimist in me hopes that my letters will work on you by attrition, slowly wear down your thick skin, and eventually result in lights going on all about you that show how only if we all work together can the world stop catapulting toward financial disintegration.

In hope I wait for the current administration to prove itself as having the backbone and the vision to stand up to the corporations who currently appear to be setting the agenda, an agenda that is driving the middle and working classes slowly into the ground, and impose the kind of regulation that will dismantle heinous profits and bonuses, (neither of which ever trickle down) and replace them with programs that set about earnestly trying to create sustainable infrastructure, jobs, homes and healthcare for all.

Yours sincerely,

Your irritating conscience,

Your Chinese water torturer,

Your friend and your fiend,

Kristian Witherkay

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