Friday, March 13, 2009

Cowboy Poetry

Home on the range, and Bob Wills' Swing and the idea that in 1985 when times were tough "a group of folklorists launched the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko," Nevada, all came together this week for me as I read my Thursday morning LA Times.

"Stock Exchange" to them is to trade a horse or cow:

their market is the Sale Barn while on Wall Street it's the

There's never been a program to bail out the livestock man;

when things get tough their motto is to "Hang on if you can!"

Yvonne Hollenbeck draws praise for her stance and applause for her words but I wonder if she appreciates the irony of her case? There are over 2 million definitions and examples for irony available through a Google search but I like this one from Wikipedia, "ironic - Both coincidental and contradictory in a humorous or poignant and extremely improbable way" because it lays out for me the simple truth behind the poems that took the day at this year's convention.

I can appreciate that when she says we are all, the independent individuals that make up the working class, heart of America, in this together, and then sets up an us versus them scenario. The question is though, who is them? For that matter, who is us?

Remember in the 80's when the markets were so low,

and interest hit an all-time high?

There was no bailout dough.

Half the farms and ranches were foreclosed on and were lost;

no bail-out plan was offered and the small towns bore the cost.

Then more were lost in '96 when blizzards swept the range

and then came several years of drought but still there was no

in attitudes in Washington, they didn't even seem to care,

I doubt they even knew there was a problem way out there.

So there's Them - the rich-don't-tax-me one percentile. The Mega-corporations that get to act and be taxed like an individual but really are made up of thousands of individuals backed by thousands more stock holders, etc., etc., . . . The "Stock Market" whatever that means. The banks, the politicos, the war-mongerers that put us into a three trillion dollar war. Both political parties who let thirty years of de-regulated "free marketeering" go on and on and on. The real estate gurus, Trump and Kiyosaki, et al, who advised everyone who would buy into their program to USE OTHER people's money (read borrow to gain leverage to the hilt).

And then Us - The more than 16 million unemployed. The single farmer/rancher/employee/independent contractor/small business owner losing dollars by the day as the economy tanks. The fifty-five percent of the voters who put Obama in office to stem the tide and change the circumstance and believe in the hope of a turn around.

Well, here's the irony in that folks. This is exactly the fertile ground in which the hate-mongerers like Limbaugh and Coulter plant and grow their seeds of distrust. Right there in the interstice between the way we feel and who we blame for it.

No one helped/helps me cries the farmer/rancher/little guys and girls/finacially crushed US.

So don't help anyone else. Leave my tax money in my hands and I'll figure out how to make it through to next year.

Yet, in cities folks buy houses that are bigger than our barns,

when they cna't make their payments, Congress says, "Well, darn!

We'll gather up some billions so they can pay their debt,

and let their dandy banker get his biggest bonus yet!"

And as true as that is, it is also false because the irony is that the farmers and rancher weren't immune to this financial bubble's lure. They too bought into the big pile of manure.

The final irony, the very reason people need help is the very reason they won't get it. 'Cause, as Bill Maher has often pointed out, we quite often have demonstrated a mind-boggling ability to vote against ourselves. The Black Swan effect to the max.

No comments: