Ploughing through A People’s History of the USA, henceforth to be known as “The Disturbing Book”, can be a very depressing experience. Just as you become utterly disillusioned about the generally accepted wisdoms concerning “The Founding Fathers”, some other evidence appears that makes the whole thing feel even worse. And I’m only a 1/5th of the way though.
Worse still, the depictions of America in the late 18th century become more and more descriptive of politics now. It’s easier to explain this with an example.
Back in the early days, after the genocide of the Indians and the enslavement of a vast number of poor people from across the globe, but before the “marvelous” revolution, the rich people who were running the show recognised that Racism was a powerful weapon to keep the poor in order. By simply encouraging hatred between the various races (who were all typically very, very poor) it would discourage them from uniting to overthrow the illegitimate rulers. The Bacon Rebellion clearly scared them by demonstrating that the poor, when united, were a formidable threat. The rich learned from this oversight. They also understood the power of the mob, and by simple manipulation managed to persuade the poor to recognise the real enemy as being their rulers: England.
Now, please don’t think I’m suggesting England was in the innocent victim here; the American revolution was a wonderful thing and the English need(ed) a good slap. But the genuine motives behind the rejection of English taxation are much easier to understand if you consider who had most to lose. The beggars, slaves, and even the skilled labourers (who were, and still are, considered “middle class” in America) had almost nothing to lose by higher taxes from England. The people who had the most to lose were those with a lot of money. It was directly in their interest to fight against the English. So they did everything they could to sow the seeds of rebellion amongst the poor and diverted frustration away from themselves and instead towards England.
200 years later, nothing has changed. The ultra-rich in America are running the show, and they have their obedient (and stunningly unquestioning) mob getting frothy-mouthed over things that can only benefit them directly. The tools of control have become more powerful in the intervening years, and the rich have become even richer. The teabaggers are the new mob, the new puppet-army of the ultra-rich, and seem to be happy to give their lives to the cause of bolstering the gap between rich and poor…despite being on the wrong side of the equation.
Expect Faux News to pump-up the race-hate in the near future.