Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Quote of the Day
"I'm so disgusted. I mean, no, I don't know what you do in the face of that kind of intransigence. So, my heart does go out to the President. He is dealing with a lot... The wealthy are paying less than they paid at ay time else, certainly in my lifetime, and probably in the last century. I don't know what we were paying in the roaring 20's; it's criminal that so little is asked of people who are getting so much. I don't mind paying more. I really don't mind paying more taxes. I'd rather pay for taxes than cut 'Reading is Fundamental' or Head Start or some of these programs that are really helping kids. This is the greatest country in the world; is it really that much worse if you pay 6% more in taxes? Give me a break. Look at what you get for it: you get to be American."
-- Matt Damon
If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at Damon's populist tear during an appearance at a Save Our Schools rally over the weekend. Not only did he give voice to the frustration a lot of Americans are feeling in the wake of the shameful debt ceiling fight and equally shameful deal, but he verbally smacked down a reporter and photographer from Reason TV. The two took the typical neo-libertarian asshole position that only the traditional free-market drivers -- like the fear of being out of work -- would lead someone to want to excel at his or her job, whether that job is as an actor or a teacher. That letting the free-market Sword of Damocles be a constant threat over your head makes you try harder and that that's what matters most. Damon wasn't having any of it, and let them know in no uncertain terms.
Do not fuck with Jason Bourne.
My favorite thing about that exchange: I promise you, you have no idea how much the guy with the camera hated being called a "cameraman." In the world of broadcast journalism, it's like calling a flight attendant a stewardess. That's why whenever you hear a photographer referenced on a news show it's as a "photojournalist" or some other impressive-sounding, politically correct title aimed at keeping him or her from pitching a hissy.
By the way, while we're on the subject, if there's one thing I'm absolutely through abiding in this country it's these idiots who embrace Ron Paul as some sort of messianic figure come to save our great nation from itself. The draconian brand of libertarianism that Paul and his monkey son espouse is intrinsically anti-American because it reduces the notion of a "United States of America" -- particularly as a world leader -- to an afterthought, one that can and should be sacrificed in the name of each person doing whatever the hell he or she feels like with no sense of a collective responsibility to each other or the country as a whole. If Paul's vision for America had been in place since our nation's inception, America never could have accomplished the myriad astonishing things that made us a superpower.
The free market is not America. It couldn't fucking care less about America; it exists simply in the service of itself. It has no loyalty to anything but its own perpetuation and notions like patriotism don't even enter into the picture. Say what you will, but a government of duly-elected officials is the only system beholden to no one but the people. In theory, anyway. While I'm not sure our current model is working -- precisely because so many of our leaders are on the take in one way or another -- I hold tightly to the belief that the citizenry can actually change that situation for the better. We have the power, but only if we act in concert as Americans -- not strictly as individuals who don't give a crap about the other people who make this country great.
Ron Paul and his neo-libertarian acolytes want an America with no sense of cohesion; one that's at the mercy of a system of government that's no real government; one that doesn't care much what happens to you because it's either none of its business or it simply isn't cost-effective to give a damn; one that in many ways resembles a Third-World country.