The Amazon Trail
My anger had nowhere to go. It was huge. The headline that enraged me? “50 chief executives in finance saw their pay rise by an average of 20.4 percent.” Huh?
I scurried back into my dyke cave and plunged my brain into fiction.
I really dislike the term man cave. It creeps me out with images of unpleasant smells, hairy limbs and terrible hygiene. Then my sweetheart referred to “my” end of the couch as my dyke cave. Ick, was my fleeting reaction. I looked around.
Behind the couch was my special Verilux floor lamp. In front were two hassocks, the kind with storage, filled with books, maps, pens, paper cutters, scissors, rulers, book covers, newspapers, magazines, a heating pad, pet toys and brushes, a good supply of index cards, an iPad, calculator, ear buds and ear plugs, magnifying glass, jackknife, and more—all jumbled together.
The dog was on a pillow between us. A cat was curled up on one of the hassocks. Mail and library books were on “my” side of the coffee table. Two favorite throws lined the back of the couch. I’m surprised there was room for my sweetheart, though it would be awful lonesome with her further than the reach of my arm. Yeah, I guess my setup could be called a cave without walls.
I need a cave. Maybe we all do. The Huffington Post went on to report, “Bonuses didn't fall nearly as much as anyone expected. And compensation at a number of major banks even approached record levels.”
Wait a minute. Did the bonus money trickle down? Did all the workers get a 20% raise or only those who were already earning half a million or more? If there are enough funds to pay such a huge raise to the highest wage earners, why are they laying off so many employees while adding more work to those who are left?
Some of us are hoping to have enough money from Social Security to survive old age and there are plans for deep cuts. That bonus money? Maybe it’s going to the wrong people? Others are scraping by—or not—on disability payments, which also face deep cuts. Doesn’t someone who makes multiple millions in salary and then gets millions more for, maybe, increasing his (seldom her) company’s income feel kinda uncomfortable as they pump people into poverty?
Or maybe they didn’t notice all the job cuts in the financial sector—their own employees—and how they are now living high off the hog because they laid off or froze wage increases for loyal, productive, long-term employees whose paychecks wouldn’t cover the furniture in one room of a penthouse.
When I read the local paper in my tiny, cluttered dyke cave, I’m frightened by the increasing disparity between the superrich and the working stiffs. I wonder, what can I do? What can anyone do?
Occupy Wall Street has definitely had an impact. The Republican National Convention will be here in the Tampa Bay Area this August and the media turns to the local Occupy folks for information about the protests. Of course, the city of Tampa has declared certain natural protest areas to be completely out of bounds. The Republicans are claiming whole parks as their territory. The papers are running front page stories about the strip clubs and other adult entertainment venues spiffing up for the upright, uptight conventioneers.
I simply can’t understand. Conservatives vote over and over to take away everything they can from the poor and the middle class. They vote to take less and less from the obscenely rich. They run on archaic moral platforms yet are not expected to disappoint the owners of local dens of iniquity.
Inequity, iniquity. Cave men; man caves.
I used to live in a city which greeted visitors with an enormous statue of a cave man right off the freeway. Every year there was a parade and the Cave Man Club float featured a rough-hewn cage. The “cave men” would go into the crowd with their “clubs” and, to wild cheering, grab women to drag into the cage. Huh?
I sense a direct relationship between that sort of behavior and the callousness of the modern man cave dwellers. I am so angry that the governor of Wisconsin is still in office. I am so angry that Karl Rove expects to buy the presidency with billions of dollars that are so needed elsewhere. I am so angry that the Supreme Court made that possible when it decided that corporations are people.
With the return of cave man mentality, perhaps it’s best to live simply and enjoy what we have. That may be the only insulation possible against greedy, uncaring, destructive powerfreaks. That, and our dyke caves.
Copyright Lee Lynch 2012