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USA Most Unequal In the World?

Nov 9, 2008
Michael Hogan

You may think of me as a surfer dude without the water. Echostar (DishTV) software makes channel surfing easy. When I need entertainment I often turn to C-Span. There you will find America\'s monkeys. There are some who will say I am insulting monkeys. Of this, there is no doubt. Our senior national officials make monkeys out of themselves on C-Span every day.

Whenever I see Vermont\'s Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, I stop surfing. Why? Bernie is the only public figure in America to be concerned with redistributing income and wealth in America. This makes Bernie different. Difference is diversity.

We in the Church of What\'s Happening Now revere diversity. Only God himself (or herself, as the case may be) could create an infinitely diverse universe with an unseen harmony. Therefore, the Socialist senator from Vermont is diversity itself. When Bernie\'s mojo is in full flight, there is nothing quite like him in todays world.

When C-Span and all other news networks label Bernie an Independent, don\'t believe it. You see, the word Socialist has been banned in America. It\'s not a de jure book banning. Rather, it\'s a de facto banning, where Americans agree to never mention the word Socialist in polite society. Those who use the word Socialist, commit a faux pas or social blunder. Bernie himself is an ongoing social blunder. He doesn\'t know the right questions to ask. He asks questions that make polite folks uncomfortable.

So it was the other day when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was testifying before the US Senate and he was being questioned by Socialist Senator Sanders. The Socialist Senator blundered with each question he asked. His most serious Socialist blunder was when he asked Ben Bernanke (BB), if there were any developed countries where the social inequality is greater then in America? The Fed Chairman assured the Socialist there were developed countries more unequal then America. BB did so as only a former Princeton professor could.

Your average well behaved neo-liberal would have left the matter rest with the assurance of America\'s finest economic mind. But, Bernie is a Socialist social blunder who doesn\'t know when to politely quit. So, Bernie asked BB for the names of the developed countries that are more unequal then America. BB\'s answer was simple, short and straightforward:


The social fabric of America is more equal then Brazil, according to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. Somehow, this did not appear to be the reassurance Socialist Senator Sanders was looking for. I was not reassured. Why is America a place of the greatest inequality in Western Civilization? The answer arrived today at the Post Office as I stood in line. My neighbor was concerned Universal Health care might mean waiting for elective surgery.  This is selfishness, plain and simple.  Rather then wait for elective surgery, my neighbor would rather 60 million Americans be without health care (for some part of the year) insurance and access to health care.

This is the essence of inequality; the "I\'m alright Jack" syndrome. Americans are without a sense of solidarity with each other. There is no Fraternite\'. Allow me but one anectdote.

Max Powers (an Internet pseudonym) is a resident of Westwood who believes class does not exist. Certainly, class exists in the Western world\'s most unequal society. Yet, Americans like Max cannot see the inequality before them. It is as if Americans are blind to the existence of class. This is because our cultural screen does not often show examples of class. Most entertainment revolves around the lives and loves of only one class - the middle class. This makes sense for movie  and video game makers because the middle class has the money to spend on seeing reflections of themselves.

In an effort to help Max Powers and other Americans put their blindness to rest, allow me to recommend a visual experience called: "Hustle & Flow." It\'s a movie about a black pimp and his crew of prostitutes and much much more. The characters are extremely well drawn. It may be the best American movie I ever saw. "Hustle & Flow" is on a par with the finest movie making in the world. It\'s about a class of folks we may not get to hang with very often. It\'s an appreciation of diversity and humanity.

Please remember that diversity and humanity are the twin pillars of the Church of What\'s Happening Now. It\'s Flip Wilson\'s old church. Brother Flip, himself, was the very essence of diversity and humanity.
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