Pimping Dreams of Riches for Everybody

When I hear Democratic legislators pandering to voters on the price of gasoline, I remember why I don’t really consider myself a Democrat despite the fact that I vote almost exclusively for Democrats and only give money to Democratic candidates.

However, I’m not naive enough to go along with Democratic politicians who suggest the solution to high gasoline prices is to investigate whether big oil companies are gouging the public. Of course they are, that’s why Exxon earned record profits last year and could afford to send their CEO off with a 400 million retirement bonus. I doubt, though, they’re going to be found guilty of illegally fixing prices — though I‘ll admit I never thought Enron fixed prices on electricity the way they did.

The American voters don’t really want to solve the gasoline crisis. Instead, they want to continue driving gas-guzzling SUV’s and oversized Pickups and pay $1.50 for a gallon of gas. Heck, if they were as old as I am they’d be demanding $.32 a gallon gasoline.

Politicians get elected by maintaining the illusion that Americans can have everything they want and more without paying a price. History would seem to tell us otherwise, but Americans are more interested in building a glorious future than in learning from the past.

Little wonder that someone as savvy as Clinton chose Fleetwood Mac’s upbeat “Don't Stop“ thinking about tomorrow as his theme song rather than Bruce Cockburn’s melancholy :

CANDY MAN’S GONE

Sun climbs toward high noon,
Glints metallic off the bowl of the spoon
Sliding through the air toward parted lips
Watch the expression when the straight taste hits
Face crumples, tongue's quickly withdrawn
I hate to tell you but the candy man's gone

Oh sweet fantasia of the safe home
Where nobody has to scrape for honey at the bottom of the comb
Where every actor understands the scene
And nobody ever means to be mean
Catch it in a dream, catch it in a song
Seek it on the street, you find the candy man's gone
I hate to tell you but the candy man's gone

In the bar, in the senate, in the alley, in the study
Pimping dreams of riches for everybody
"Something for nothing, new lamps for old
And the streets will be platinum, never mind gold"
Well, hey, pass it on
Misplaced your faith and the candy man's gone
I hate to tell you but the candy man's gone

even though Cockburn’s song is probably a more accurate description of our current situation.

Do you think a politician could really be elected by telling the truth? Do you think Gore purposely didn’t discuss the environment during his presidential campaign because he knew he could never be elected by telling the truth about hard environmental choices Americans face in the future, a future that might be closer than most of us want to admit?

Do you think part of the reason the American people refuse to face the problems that confront us is because politicians have always been elected by “pimping dreams of riches for everybody?? Would you rather believe someone who tells you everything is alright, or, at least will be alright if you vote for him, or one who warns that hard choices await us if he’s elected?

One thought on “Pimping Dreams of Riches for Everybody

  1. Yes, yes. Cockburn cuts to the “heart of the matter.” When last in Denmark, we paid about 8 dollars a gallon. Buying a car includes a large tax, but they subsidize a wonderful train and bus system. Here, neither party gets it–well, as you say, they get us, not it.

What do you think?