Wednesday, April 13, 2011

what I'm reading now

Rainbow Pie by Joe Bageant, the author of Deer Hunting with Jesus, is both a personal memoir and social commentary on the class warfare being waged in America today. The book paints a portrait of a family struggling  to survive America's post WWII transition from a mostly agriculture based economy to an urban consumer society.  Here are some excerpts:

"For some reason, hopeful American progressives at this writing seem to believe that the thin majority of educated Democrats now in Congress led by the clearly educated and articulate Obama, can somehow affect the hearts and minds of tens of millions who honestly believe that one of Noah's chores was feeding the dinosaurs on the ark.  But the ignorance and  superstition of American fundamentalism goes back a long way, and is rooted in the lack of real education in heartland America.  As long as we purposefully refuse to fully educate the hardest working class of Americans, or allow any development of their intellectual and philosophical vistas, simple-minded fundamentalism will be back on our nation's political front porch, and scaring the rest of the world.  Especially those godless, unarmed Europeans with their free socialist health care and their liberal educations."

And this:

"And now, under Obama, the financial elites have captured one-sixth of the American economy under the ruse of the new "health care reform" legislation.  Only in labyrinthine American capitalist politics could such a Trojan horse be conceived.  The health care reform bill was never about health care or reform, and most certainly never about direct, free, and on-demand medical care for all.  It was about  insurance for all.  As a result, the government now requires 35 million, mostly poor and working-class uninsured Americans to buy private health insurance.  This will guarantee a least $70 billion in new annual revenue for the insurance industry--probably more.  Another 11 million among the uninsured will get limited government help under the plan. Of course, the insurance corporations made a few small concessions. they may no longer kick you off their plans if you get an expensive illness, and they cannot refuse you if you have a pre-existing condition.  On the other hand, they were granted the right to increase insurance rates up to 25 percent immediately, if they choose to do so--this, in the wake of four years of double-digit annual increases.  Doubtlessly, Maw [sic] would be without health care were she alive today--unable to afford either insulin or health insurance to pay for it.  She'd be worse off, really. Under our new health care reform bill, she would be required to buy private health insurance.  For a 63-year old diabetic, that is about $1,500 monthly. If she were poor enough, the government would kick in perhaps $400 of that premium.

Unfortunately, Joe Bageant passed away this year.  America has lost a writer who was able to shine a light on the politics of class and the warfare being waged on the working people of this country by the corporate elites.


Steven said...

Joe Bageant, a complex man indeed. I have his first book and it's obvious that I need to read this one. I have a link to his blog and knowing how sick he was, I was afraid to 'visit' again because I was afraid I would see the news that he had died. And so he has...

He was a brave man.

Lorna said...

You continue to fascinate me with your reading choices. Other than a biography, once in a while, I only read fiction. I'm not necessarily shallow, just retired.

Raksha said...

America lost a powerful progressive voice when Joe Bageant passed away recently. I haven't read either of his books, although I've read excerpts on his blog. I couldn't agree more with the two selections you quoted. Joe would be appalled (but not surprised) that the Tennessee legislature just passed a law allowing the teaching of creationism in the public schools. Of course they didn't phrase it that way, but that was the intent. This new crop of teabagger governors in the statehouses is positively frightening in their aggressive push to privatize public education and demonize teachers. Not to mention their attacks on unions, although they have been meeting a lot more resistance in that area than they bargained for.


Nance said...

"But the ignorance and superstition of American fundamentalism goes back a long way, and is rooted in the lack of real education in heartland America."--Entirely in agreement. I think that those of us who were lucky enough to get those REAL liberal arts educations forget how poorly most of the country is trained in critical thinking.

I feel a blog post coming on. Thanks for this, Wally.