I picked up a widely available publication from a newspaper stand in front of a Starbucks the other day. With a half an idea, I went inside, ordered a medium ice water, and went to work.
I selected five random properties in the vicinity of Ashburn, an area that ten years ago was largely undeveloped farm land and trees, now is choked by upscale living, the vary yuppies who are intent on destroying the middle class. If I had told someone to buy cheap farm land in Ashburn ten years ago, and that they would be able to sell it for a ridiculous amount of money in five, they would have looked at me as though I was on drugs.
Putting on my best W.A.S.P. voice, I called each of my five selections, asked about the average price of a one bedroom apartment in their community, and asked about available amenities, security, what have you. Although I didn't as much as say it, I let money pratically drip from my voice. On the other end of the line, though, each place had a woman answering the phone, very kind, very attentive, the kind of woman my mom wants me to make her grandchildren with, and the kind who would if given the opportunity, would have nothing to do with me whatsoever.
It only got worse from there. Some excerpts from the ads:
"Located in Scenic Ashburn!"
"Ashburns only affordable Luxary community"
The only thing scenic about Ashburn, supposedly,are the people living there. Blonde hair, blue eyes, all driving German cars. All paying their taxes and all having their small rebellions (smoking pot in the basement, watching porn, wearing naughty underware underneath jogging clothing) which the government/machine/big brother knows all about, but lets us get away with, so long as it keeps us quiet. But thongs, THC, and Skinimax will be the first things to go when it comes times to pay your dues, shortly before the draft is reinstated. As for those of us who rejected that, for those of us who can't afford it or are kept out at the gates, though, we can see that the emperor has no morals, nevermind clothes. As alw ays, the evidence is in the money. After all, how many people are on a first name basis with their rental association?
The average figure that I came to for renting a single bedroom apartment in Ashburn, including not one, but TWO tax credited communities, is one thousand, one hundred and twenty four dollars, at the base amount. This ranks as one of the ten most expensive communities to live in this country today. It also should be stated that the average salary earned by a recent college grad in a entry level position in many industries is thirty two thousand dollars a year.
Certainly lets you know who's in charge.
You do the math. To me, it's akin to the fact that ExxonMobil reported record income after merging. This isn't the first time that they had worked together. Both were branches of the Standard Oil Family, Standard Oil New Jersey and Standard Oil New York respectively. When the Standard Oil trust was split in 1892, they went into 34 different fragments, each with its own separate board of Directors. As these smaller companies get bought up in mergers, they eventually reassemble into corporations that resemble the original trust, i.e. ExxonMobil. It's only a matter of time. Last year, the oil companies reported record earnings, with a high spike during the summer. Remember last summer? This summer is expected to be worse.
Who the hell am I supposed to talk to about this? This is the legendary America, land of the free, home of democracy, and yet we can't see clearly whos pocket we're being forced to put our hard earned money into. There are publicity firms and legons of spokespersons, Human Resource departments, and tons of paperwork, e-forms, and phone calls for us to come up against to get at least a name, never mind a reason. But the reason is simple enough, and no matter how many words you attatch to it, and how deep the vault is, the fact that GREED and LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY is the largest motivative force in the course of human history is not a fucking secret.
This isn't just the private sector, either. Ever try filling out and FOIA form?
This goes beyond dollars and cents. To me, the ranting, drug and self-righteous fueled hack writer, this speaks of a larger problem: the monsters in charge of the system, and thier lack of desire to let anyone else on the inside unless their views are 100% compatable with theirs, thus cementing their place long after retirement. Before you entirely write me off, it bears noting that Cheney received a reitrement package from Haliburton worth over $33.7 million* Under public pressure, he was forced to sell company stock worth 30 million dollars on the open market at the time. When I relayed this to a member of the housekeeping staff in the course of writing this, he sneered. "Sheeeeit. What fuck they need that much money for?"
In 1789 , the National Constituent Assembly of Fransh abolished the rights of the feudial Manor Lords. They had a pretty easy solution-they went about cutting heads. If the naughty masses of Ashburn started having their lifestyle actively policed and prevented, I am without a doubt that the guillotine would come back into vouge along with bell bottom hip huggers and peasent blouses.
To the rest of us, we know we have a problem. Just like my old friend Captain Murphy said-A throat needs slitting, and we don't know where to lay the blade.
Next episode-public transit and arson.
*Robert Bryce, The Candidate from Brown and Root, in: The Texas Observer, October 6, 2000