I take a nap almost every day. I become torpid from eating a full meal at midday. Before and after my nap, whether I am at home or at work (Yes, America, you too can nap at work!) I am likely to spend an hour or two reading news on the Internet, which is lately about the impending demise of newspapers. Today, I’m watching Arianna Huffington’s presentation on the subject to Sen. John Kerry’s committee. Fortunately, La Huffington delivers more stimulating product at the Post than she does at the podium. Most of what HuffPost delivers is essential for an informed progressive-minded person to know, but not all.
I can let the C-Span video run and surf on, this time arriving at a post so outrageous that it almost causes me to stop breathing as I read, so entirely am I offended by it. Growing up in agricultural regions of the United States, and reading about the hunger experienced in much of the Third World, and in war-torn regions of more developed and developing parts, I have ever been conscious of a vague guilty unease, knowing that only greed and politics stand between a well-nourished humanity, and that very different one of our experience. At least, I consoled myself, I was fortunate enough to be born into a country where babies didn’t have to go to bed hungry.
So today, as I perambulate the pages full of stories about the trillions going to so-called “defense”, and mega-billions to bailout banks and insurance companies, and millions being skimmed into the pockets of government contractors and office-holders and bagmen and bosses in every big industry, I must also read that millions of American children will, indeed, go to bed hungry tonight, and tomorrow night and every uncounted night that selfish, greedy, arrogant xenophobes in high places continue cockroaching about in the utterly self-absorbed orgy in pursuit of authority and material gain.
There is a criminal conspiracy between corporatists, authoritarians, social conservatives, anti-intellectuals and religious obscurantists that together are the cause of these pestilential practices that have brought our once-robust country to the brink of total dysfunction. If almost one in five American children is experiencing even one day without adequate food, then exactly what makes the United States of America so special after all? I encountered former US Secretary of Agriculture Cecil Andrus outside the offices of the Snake River Alliance in Boise a few years back, and I asked him if he was happy to be back in Idaho. He replied that, Yes, he was, because he ran into a lot fewer people in Idaho that needed to be watered daily. Looking back on the moment, it occurs to me that we should have stopped watering them long ago, in the hope that the most noxious would simply dry up and blow away. Replace them with varieties of human cultivars that bear more heavily, so that when outsiders inquire how things are back in the USA, we can say at the very least that “Things are still all fucked up by politics and greed, but at least everybody eats!”