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MAD AS HELL . . . 7/4/09
7/3/2009 7:33:02 AM

Nearly everyone I know suffers, at one time or another, from the Howard Beale syndrome: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” And, surprisingly, although it’s usually political, it’s not really a Republican versus Democrat sort of thing. Well, almost not.

It’s more a Have vs. Have Not sort of thing.

The country is being undone by money—either the lack of it or its abundance. Taxes, unemployment, bailouts, tuition, health care, cost of food, fuel and foolishness, insurance and banking upscrews, stock market nightmares, nuclear madness, wars, upheavals in religious and socio-economic strata—the list is unending.

And all the American public has said so far is, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Fine. But what are you seriously going to do about it, besides pontificate and make like a pundit with a line from a 1975 movie?

Republicans say it’s President Obama’s fault (conveniently forgetting on whose watch it all began.) Democrats contend that even if all the people who didn’t vote for John McCain because of Sarah Palin changed their minds, Mr. Obama would still have won. However, had the hapless senator been elected, what difference would it have made? Both sides agree he was still the wrong man at the wrong time.

No, dear Brutus, even on the 4th of July, the fault lies not in our stars. The missteps have occurred because of complacency, because of our contentment with the status quo—our national debacle as happened simply because we let it. It was the easiest thing to do. Like munching pop corn while watching Peter Finch in “Network.”

1975, really, was not that long ago. We have been riding the crest of success on a surfboard of papier mâché since the end of World War II, and now a wipeout is occurring as the illusion of solidity disintegrates beneath our feet. Fortunately, some of us will swim to safety, but others—many who cannot swim—will disappear beneath the waves before they can be washed up on the beach (or eaten by the sharks.)

“I’m mad as hell . . . ”

Of course you are. But so what? Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Shaun Hannity aren’t. And why should they be? Collectively, they command salaries of 50 million dollars +, and for my money, they’re worth every penny of it. Where would they be if it were not for you and me and your predicament? Good heavens, where would they be if Barack Obama had lost? What would they have to whine about if John McCain had moved into the White House?

Limbaugh, perhaps prophetically, is called “Godfather.” Interesting.

“ . . . and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Good for you. But what are you going to do? What can you do? Open the windows and shout it out to the world en mass? Just like in the movies? I don’t think so. Go ahead. Who do you think is listening outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Congress? Get real.

We, as Americans, have only one course to take, and it is the course of cohesiveness—collective togetherness. We must stop the whining and maligning because everything is not happening as quickly and as neatly as we would like it to. We must begin to rely on patience; we must offer and take advantage of whatever form of support is available to us.

We are in this together—Democrat, Republican, liberal, right-winger—whatever. We cannot allow ourselves to be annihilated as Howard Beale was—actually murdered on the air in a plot orchestrated by the overwhelming greed and corruption of an American enterprise caught up in domestic and international conspiracies.

“Network” deservedly won or was nominated for every award show business could concoct, and the scenario is being replayed by every modern-day Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duval and Ned Beatty we have come to idolize. Ironically, we even have a TV network in operation that could only have come from the satirical genius of a Paddy Chayefsky.

Are you really as mad as you say you are—and are not going to take this anymore? I wonder.


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Black Leather and Blue Denim, A '50s Novel by Jay Dubya

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