I watched the latest Hunger Games film on the plane. To be more correct, I started to watch it. Unlike with the first installment, I did not watch to the end.
But, the film did cause me to think. Is this a metaphor for how the United States will end up with the increasing income inequality? As in the film, will a small minority enjoy too much, while the majority barely survive on too little, toiling so that the rich can gorge themselves and play at whatever tickles his or her fancy? Although highly stylized in the film, much of this already is happening. If you do not believe me, visit Appalachia, parts of which surely inspired the filmmakers....
When I see advertising on English television for companies offering “payday loans”, I wonder if the target audience is stupid people or desperate people...or both.
Then again, if I walk the streets of London and observe the increasing gulf separating rich and poor, I conclude that desperate people need cash to carry them over from one payday to the next. They do not care about the future, which includes the threat of having to pay annual APR of up to 5000%, as long as they can meet immediate needs...which might include feeding children or paying to keep a roof over their heads or to heat a room. Life is tough for people at the bottom of the totem pole...and there are plenty of bastards waiting to take advantage of their suffering.
The amazing thing is that these despicable characters can advertise their crime, uh, I mean product/service on national television. The only requirement is that they publish the APR for potential victims to see. If one is drowning, one does not question the “savior’s” methods. Sadly.
_ This is less cheery.
Last night, I watched a program on BBC, called Songs of America 1969, produced by Simon and Garfunkel. It must have been from the 19790s. It brought back many memories of that time, good and bad. The music was pleasant, but some of the visuals were disturbing.
There was footage of Civil Rights marches, migrant farm worker demonstrations in California, and a massive march of Washington to seek help for the hungry and poor. There were also shots of politicians talking garbage and telling lies.
One would think that a country as rich and powerful as the United States would attempt to improve the lot of its own people. Sadly, little has changed in 40 years, or perhaps it has become worse. Why?
The wealthy and politicians have improved their lot and increased their wealth, to the detriment of all others, especially the poor.
The program started with the song, Search for America. Many hoped and sought something better, but failed. Many dreamed of something that never existed, except for a few...and that number has become smaller. The American Dream is just that and, these days, is even more so.
I am reaching the point at which I cannot even scan headlines from the United States.
What kind of people are Republican congressmen and senators? All the adjectives that come to mind probably border on libel, so I will leave the question to be answered by others.
How can people be so greedy to desire enhanced wealth at the expense of less fortunate? None have heard the song Streets of London or look left or right out their cars with tinted windows. The decline of cites, towns, highways, and other infrastructure do not interest them. Saving a dollar on income taxes of the wealthy is more important than compassion for other people or the state of their country. How has the country reached a point where the choice is between further tax cuts for the rich and reduced medical benefits for the elderly and poor?
I do not know whether to be angry or sad. I know one thing for sure: I am happy to live a country with a more-equitable distribution of wealth and general interest in civil society.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.