HEARTLAND PART 2
While on my sabbatical of sorts, I interviewed many people on my journey. Recently while traveling in Nebraska I stopped at the Shoemaker Truck Stop along I-80. It was a classic truck stop and it was obvious to see it’s been around for many moons. The trucker was still revered in this vintage haunt. The walls were covered with pictures depicting the golden age of trucking, farming, Ole Route 66, and other forgotten or ignored aspects of humble USA history. Curios of a wide variety filled the shelves, all depicting Americana from the early years to the present. From trucking to farming this place had history and memories for all to see.
As I sat in the drivers lounge I could not help but listen to the drivers and other travelers discuss their personal plights. The primary subject was the steady rise of fuel costs. Drivers complained about the unfairness of rail road owned trucking firms and all the subsidies they got from the government. The land that once expounded and personified the “rugged individual” now turned on these independent truckers making it all but impossible for them to operate against the corporate owned firms. One driver told us that when he finally ran out of money to operate he was simply going to but a sign on his truck, “Out Of Fuel” and walk away. Others hoped America would take notice of their situation if the rally and protest in Washington D.C. got any media attention at all. Sadly I heard barely a peep about this demonstration. Fact is, the media poked fun at these desperate American’s.
The farmer faced an equally daunting challenge with these corporate farms as well. The price of fuel has placed them on the endangered species list. It took fuel to turn the soil, plant the seed, harvest the crops then ship to market. Sadly, speculators have entered the arena of produce futures and will soon devastate this industry as well. As we all know, speculators, not supply and demand has dictated the steady rise of fuel costs and food is on its way up also. The farmer does not see a dime of the inflated prices, investors do. The corporate farm buys fuel in such bulk the little farms have no competitive edge what so ever. The American Dream has turned into the American Nightmare as farms belly up erasing a once proud and competitive industry. Like dominos, small town after small town across America fill with tumbleweeds as coops and cottage industries fold up in the wake of corporate greed. It reminds me of when the government decided to build the interstate system. With no regard for the townships that made their bread and butter along all these trucking lanes, super highways were built. Eventually all that remained was the skeletal remains of townships that once flourished. All that remained where stories of Route 66 and other highways. Sure the interstate system streamlined commerce but they should have included the Americans who made their living along the older route. Ah what the hell, it was all about the money and progress eh. One should have asked, “Progress for whom?” for it was not for the people, it was for budding corporations and the bottom line. If only we would have heeded the warning. What a fateful sign of things to come a half century later.
Many people have long since died who were overlooked by the federal government back then. But I remember the uproar they made over the destruction of their way of life. The media played it off and their pleas were simply ignored. They simply lost everything they owned while insiders and their cronies bought the property for pennies. Corporatism has been here for a long time.
Like the Romans did, divide and conquer, the USA seems to be at odds with one another these days. Smokers against non smokers, the racial circus, environmental and progressives, the list goes on and on. And here sits the media fanning the flames of dissention. Like the instigator, the media has played up every story to foster hatred. We have declared war on smokers since they can cause cancer with second hand smoke. The sad part of this story is the real culprits of pollution keep on polluting and causing cancer. But boy oh boy we sure got them smokers on the run. Los Angeles has the worse air quality on record. You can get your fill of carcinogens by simply walking down the street. That whiff of a cigarette may be offensive but it surely will not kill you, lets be honest. The real killers are laughing all the way to the bank as we fight amongst ourselves over trite and trivial things. The pharmaceutical companies and their bogus drugs are killing every day. The processed poisoned food industry has been pushing their crappola down our throats causing cancer, diabetes and other deadly ailments. That reminds me, I wonder if the FDA finally weeded out the drug testers who were also being paid by drug companies. Hmm, I wonder. We must realize the media has become the operative of corporations. News stories are strategically places to keep us divided as a people. This is not only an American issue, its world wide. After all, its corporations who are running the show these days.
If only I could take you on a cross country trip. You would hear how American’s from all cultures are dismayed over the American government’s love affair with corporations. Though you might not interview the people along the way, you would listen to the local radio stations. From the Heartland of Nebraska I heard radio shows speaking as if they read my stories. Fact is they were much more radical with their total hatred for the corrupt government we have today than yours truly. From the pork belly and harvest reports to the closure of more local businesses, Americans are up in arms. Divide and conquer has become the axiom of the corporate run government. Keep them at odds with one another and we can do as we wish. Toss in some mind altering drugs like fluoride and there you have it, the perfect corporate stew. Remember the Ka Ka Water story?
The scars of corporate globalization are apparent everywhere. City after city are filled with the skeletal remains of industries that have moved to other countries. They are the industrial ghost towns of hidden America. The new homeless are everywhere and they struggle to maintain their dignity in the face of absolute poverty. Once on the top of their game they find themselves jobless with their unemployment running out. With foreclosure just around the bend they are on an odyssey they never fathomed. Yet an absolute minority is gleeful as their strategically placed stocks rise. We the people listen on the news how the USA is dumping cash in Iraq. But the stark reality is the money is going into the pockets of corporations, not the country as the news alludes to. The money goes into the pockets of Halliburton, Boeing, Big Oil and the like. What ever…
Then there was Lori, a waitress at the truck stop I mentioned. She fed many Americans who’ve lost it all simply because she did not like seeing people go hungry. Ironically she fed people with her tip money, people who’ve looked down their noses at a “mere waitress” at one time. Get over it, you know the deal. People looked down their noses at truck drivers, farmers, waitresses, dock workers and the like for many years now. People have become superficial for the most part and image has become their axiom. “Got to look good”
Lori told me she never had big money nor did she ever consider it. She liked her job since it paid the rent and all her bills. She enjoyed life and appreciated the simple things. She could not bear to see anyone go hungry so she shared her tip money to fill a few bellies. For me, she was a breath of fresh air because she was a genuine human being. I ordered the veggie omelet by the way, and it was to die for. To me, Lori was the epitome of what America used to be, she was a picture of a foregone era. She possessed something called humanity.
Don’t you find it odd our politicians are always finding new and more restrictive laws? Every day we are loosing more and more civil liberties, “for the greater good” This culture has become unforgiving with absolute rule garnished with heavy penalties and no room for forgiveness, for the common man. BUT, if you were one of the elite class you were forgiven or simply censored. Remember our bathroom romance, toe tapping senator (Craig) or the other disgusting and infidelitous antics of the elite class? They get a slap on the hand. Others would have lost their jobs, paid big penalties and incarcerated. Remember the African American kid who won some contest only to have the prize removed because he was busted years back for smoking pot? Quite a double standard, don’t you think? It’s in your face, how arrogant is that eh?
Then there are the politicians who’ve taken to raising speeding tickets and other municipal infractions simply to bolster the cities coffers. I think it is in Virginia where a speeding ticket was raised from $300 to $3000 bucks a pop simply to get more monies from the taxpayer. Some whizz-bang politician in California wants to raise the liquor tax 1400% to offset the states budget crisis. But do we really pay attention to what is actually happening around us. For the most part, naw who cares, it only happens to others. Be forewarned, totalitarian rule has already taken hold. We’ve been divided and conquered. And it’s all about the money Paisan, it’s all about the money, Capice?
Your Devil’s Advocate
Creativity is the byproduct of a fertile mind