America, if, in fact, it was ever any different, is officially now a land of vultures. Virtually everything a human being can do to live his life today is subject to cons, snow jobs, theft, dishonesty, misrepresentation, fraud, and deceit. And our new executive branch just made it worse.
The race to steal your money has become so rampant, we’ve almost conceded its victory – a fact of life in the second decade of the 21stcentury. Consider this:
- Your cable/phone/internet provider is gouging you royally.
- Your utility companies are doing likewise.
- Your insurance company will, if you need them, forget they ever knew you.
- Your bank, you know, the one that treasures you as a personal friend, lies in the small print, and will sic the dogs on you if you’re in trouble.
- The last politician you could trust was . . . um, . . . . well . . . . moving on now . .
- Your car dealer hides behind a mountain of gobbledy-gook, jargon, and option overload and is superbly skilled at convincing you to pay more than you should.
- Your doctor and dentist will happily introduce you to the concept of astronomical fees.
- Taking a sick car to a mechanic is akin to walking the plank – you’re doomed.
- If you have a pet, a visit to the vet is more costly than a new BMW.
- Your grocer sells you stuff he knows should not be on the shelves and is crassly dishonest (and dangerous) when it comes to anything from the meat department.
- Your accountant MAY be the only one you can trust and, for the lucky, your lawyer, although the law profession lives in a world of deliberate obfuscation designed to make the average person think only a lawyer can solve a problem that, in all likelihood, only required common sense and a modicum of good will.
- Any call for help to a plumber, electrician, or handy man, is an invitation to severe financial setback, all without being sure a) what they did and b) what was really needed. If you’re a senior living in a retirement community, there’s a neon light over your house identifying you as someone who can REALLY be taken to the cleaners.
- Airlines say (and surely do) they want your business and then conduct their affairs with you as if you were a wad of pond scum.
- Your post-secondary school fleeced you but good for something that will never pay off unless you undertook a liberal arts degree and then the pay off is personal (Which, come to think of it, should be its purpose anyway, unless it’s a trade school).
- Your computer supplier will afford you a brief window of free service; then it’s back to the money treadmill to deal with problems that weren’t problems during the inaugural freebie.
- Your government (at all levels) is convinced you are a moron and wants you to shut up and keep paying your taxes. They may be the only thing keeping the Barbarians from our gates, but sometimes the distinction is confusing.
- Advertisers, emboldened by decades of endlessly gullible consumers, now practice their dark art as if no lie is too monstrous to peddle. Their bullshit is so pervasive, the ratio of content to advertising has gone from 80%-20% to 60-40 and getting worse every year.
And now we have the most duplicitous and ignorant person walking the face of the earth as President. His first job? Appoint a whole bunch of cronies whose claim to infamy has been a zealous pursuit of ill-gotten gains. His second task? Officially proclaim lying as an “Alternate Truth”. The circle is complete. As if there weren’t enough crooks to worry about.
Let’s sum up what has likely happened to so many Americans in the past few years. They’ve gone from having a decently-paid job with a tolerable pension and medical coverage to a contract position with no pension and no medical coverage. They’re now paid by the hour and the hours are dictated weekly and fluctuate wildly. They still have title to a house but probably won’t qualify for a mortgage when renewal time arrives. And heaven help them if interest rates climb. Their car is 6 years old and looks it. They hope that should one of their kids break a leg they can still get enough from the sale of the car to pay the doctor/hospital bill and prevent another caveat being put on the house. Half the neighborhood is unemployed or underemployed. Maintenance on the houses and yards dwindles. Property crimes escalate and the city seems more reluctant every week to do anything to justify the property tax bill. They can no longer afford to send their kids to even community college much less university and the lure to dump them into the armed forces just to give them some kind of chance is growing. If they’re black or latino, the civics lesson they give their kids bears no resemblance whatsoever to the one given by white parents. They still like to meet friends for a beer on Friday but the PC police frown on it and the neighborhood barkeep is considering converting to a money mart.
But, hey, it’s 2019 and Trump DID say he was going to look out for the little guy. Yeah, I know it – when pigs fly. Besides, you never thought of yourself as a “little guy”. You were as gung-ho as the next American and the dream was within your reach. So shit happens, as they say. No sense crying about it. Maybe tomorrow a lottery win will change things. Sure. In the meantime, you’ve have to stay alert, on the watch for all those people and institutions committed to separating you from what wealth you do still have. Feel free to buy a helmet, some ear plugs, and a thesaurus to brush up on all the synonyms for “Thief”, “Liar”, and “Bully”. We’re all in this together so if we’re gonna be angry, let’s make sure we direct it at the proper target.
Trump wants an “alternate truth”? Everything described in this essay IS an alternate truth to him, to his family, to his cabinet, to Congress, and to the bully boys who buy them off.
Maybe the 2020 elections will ease the pain.
Robert Alan Davidson