Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

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May 2008

   Before you read any further, I gotta remind ya to begin making plans to attend the June Jam next month. Find sitters for your critters and/or your kids. Make arrangements with your boss if ya have to. Dig out the sleeping bags. Find someone to milk the cows for a few days and come on down/up/over to Hopedale, Ohio for the Jam! You won’t regret it. After all, it is YOUR party and it won’t be the same without ya!

    I had the bike out a few mornings ago and my mind wandered as it usually does when I’m straddling a scoot. Usually these mental wanderings are relaxing and are a form of therapy that leaves one ready to face the rest of the day with a smile. But on part of this particular ride I was stuck in a freeze-up on an interstate, and as I moved ten feet, stopped and moved again for over an hour, I started getting cranky and my mind returned to a pet peeve I’ve had all my adult life concerning a form of judicial and social injustice that I’m sure we’re all aware of even if we try not to think about it. Bear with me as I explain:

   I keep seeing Martha Stewart’s smiling face in TV commercials hawking her new prime time TV show as she dances across the stage, bakes a cake or sits laughing as she interviews somebody famous. And every time I do I think to myself, ‘Here is this woman who was tried and found guilty of conspiracy and cheating the American public by doing some insider stock trading. She was also found guilty of lying to federal investigators about her part in it, served a few months time in a “country club” type internment facility. She was released early and not only got her old job back, but apparently due to her notoriety got a substantial career boost by going prime time. And now, I see on CNN she’s been voted the 3rd most powerful woman in America by Ladies Home Journal magazine!!’

   Of course it’s always good to see an ex-con get a new chance. A lot of people make mistakes in their lives, sometimes with dire results that affect their very futures. I’m sure a few of you out there have spent some time behind bars as a result of something you did that you later regretted. I’m sorry to say I have. “Ya do the crime, ya do the time” is an old saying I’ve found myself repeating over and over again like some kind of mantra as I smacked myself in the head and paced back and forth in a jail cell.

    What gets me is that there seems to be an entirely different set of scales that Lady Justice holds depending on who you are, who you know and how much money ya have. And the scales she holds for rich celebrities seem to be WAY out of balance.

    Look at OJ. Is there really anybody out there who thinks he was innocent? I mean c’mon, the man was even found guilty in a civil court! That means, from what we can tell by THAT court’s ruling, he literally got away with murder [after he paid some bucks]. And what about that wild thing Michael Jackson? Aren’t the crimes he so willingly settled out of court for just about the most vile and disgusting you can think of? And after THAT he was charged AGAIN for similar but different crimes perpetrated on a different victim! These were little kids we’re talkin’ about here for Chrissakes! If we can’t keep THEM safe from assholes, what are we, as a society of responsible adults, good for? I’ve read he recently decided to restart his musical career. And he’ll probably be successful at it.

   Now, Martha might not have killed anybody, she might not have molested children, but she did do SOMETHING very much against the law. It was unfair, as well as being illegal, and it affected a lot of people. Now she seems to be all the better for it. Just remember: “White Collar Crime” is STILL crime.

   I’m not even going to begin to list examples of public figures who have beaten the system due to their celebrity or wealth. Nor will I mention the countless businessmen and politicians who have “gotten over” simply because their crimes seemed by the courts to be not so criminal. Meanwhile, I personally know people who have spent long stretches behind bars merely for growing their own weed, on their own property, for their own personal use!

    I’m proud to say I’m a blue-collar type of person. All my life I’ve believed that working men and women have deserved far more than they’ve received. More pay and more appreciation from our society. They deserve more consideration from our politicians. And, they deserve more respect within our culture.

    When most of us were little kids we wanted to grow up to be firemen, cowboys or nurses. Some of us wanted to be jet pilots or policemen. Perhaps becoming a teacher or scientist was the plan. But NEVER in my life have I ever heard of a kid wanting to grow up to be a businessman or Wall Street financier. I’ve never thought of a kid wanting to be an attorney or politician. A lot of PARENTS might have wanted their kid to be President, but not the kid! What happened to that? When did we become so obsessed with celebrity, power and the almighty dollar?

   When I was a kid I used to think one of the coolest things in the world was watching construction. Watching a house or other building appear on a vacant lot after weeks of heavy equipment, nail banging, plumbing and wiring. I respected not only the workers, but also the guys with the blue prints and the architect who designed those blue prints. I considered them all to be workers: They CREATED things. They made something. So, ya see, I consider people who manage and direct other people workers too. Whether it’s in the environment of a grocery store, restaurant, factory, a newspaper, department store or burger joint. They all take part in the process of producing for and supplying our society. They’re all part of a work force, whether they literally wear blue collars or not.

    I respect mechanics, waitresses, librarians and the receptionist at my doctor’s office. I respect my garbage man. My dentist. I respect the Hell outta farmers! Hell, even the guy who tries to sell you a new or used car is performing a social function that’s important to the public and deserves respect.

    What gets me though, is our society seems to be in awe of, and make unreasonable allowances for, people who DON’T perform important social functions other than they ARE wealthy and/or they’re celebrities. They might be entertainers or sports figures, who might serve a function, but certainly not a very important one. Until just a few hundred years ago these people were considered to be the dregs of ANY society because it seemed they couldn’t hold down a “real” job. We threw them a few coins IF they entertained us to our satisfaction. Now we worship them.

   They also might be wealthy executives whose only function is to decide when to move a plant to Mexico as they wheel and deal the corporate bucks [most of which end up in their pockets] and they play the corporate game, climbing the ladder until they can retire with a huge bonus and a million dollar retirement plan, while the people who actually MAKE things work in their factories and suffer their stupidity.

    And then of course there are those who seem to live in that “other” world and are treated so differently than the rest of us because they were BORN to privilege. Paris Hilton’s only redeeming contribution to society is that she’s made a few brief bootleg porn videos. And they weren’t even that good! Yet she’s been given special treatment for driving under the influence, breaking her probation AND once again, became a prime time TV star in the same style as good old Martha simply because her family is stinking rich.

   NOW is the time to rise up brothers and sisters! DO NOT suffer the injustice of these capitalist dogs and their lackeys any longer! Power to the people! Power to the workers! Let me, Bummer, be your “President for life” and I’ll not only make sure every household has a chicken in it’s cooking pot, I’ll punish the wealthy, give their money to the workers, turn their country clubs into public parks and let the homeless live on the grounds of their estates!! We’ll fix those elitist and aristocratic bastards!!!

   OOPS! Sorry about that. I guess sometimes I DO get a little carried away. It must be all this political crap about the downtrodden “middle class” that I’ve been hearing for the past few months. Whenever the high and mighty start talking about the “little people” in condescending tones I always get pissed. Call me stupid and naive, but I thought we weren’t even supposed to HAVE class structure in the good old USA.

    Well, like Steve Martin has said, “EXCUUUSE ME!”. And like Rosanne Rosanadanna USED to say,

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