Book Trailer The Noble Train

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Club

President Barack Obama is rich. About nine million and some change from book royalties. Good man. Nice to be President and have literary skills. Ride on. As a writer I applaud this rewarding of literary endeavour. As a citizen I am a little worried. All of our Presidents have been well off. So President Obama is just joining The Club. Maybe that's the problem--the Club. He's in and we are not. Little more rancor on the one hundred and sixty five million would have been nice. Little more from Gietner on the fact AIG is funnelling billions of dollars to foreign banks and American banks who lost everyones money. Maybe not such a smug assertion that bailing out AIG had to be done. Maybe a little more of a pause before shoveling over billions of dollars to a corporation that has others lined up other employees for million dollar bonuses. The problem is The Club is still there. You saw it with CEO Liddy explaining why it was important to give a man six million dollars to make sure he stayed in his job that he lost billions in before. I am tired of business patois. I don't buy it. I don't buy too big to fail. Business people should stop buying it too because who is making the judgement of too big to fail? The people who are too big to fail. The people in The Club. I have made some good money in my life. Not great money, but good money. A funny veil falls over you and you become curiously distanced from the problems of other people. You are a member of The Club. Maybe a junior member but a member and the "dirty little secret" to use President Obama words, is that you don't turn on others in The Club. Or you might find yourself back out there with the sweaty middle class. President Obama obviously feels the one hundred and sixty five million is a distraction. He is a generalist and has bigger fish to fry. But for most people the one hundred and sixty five million is the problem. It is the litmus paper of the whole economy where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class gets so squeezed they blow out to the poor or become like catatonic coalminers numbly going through their shifts. President Obama got this on the campaign trail. I think he still gets it, but he is now part of the The Club. And he is going to have to fight that fraternal hazing that goes on for all new recruits. He is going to have to fight that, "wow, I made it moment," that sort of makes you want to light up a cigar and stretch your arms, murmuring, "game over." We need him to remember what it was like when he had very little chance of beating Senator Hillary Clinton. We need him to remember when he started organizing folks on the South Side of Chicago. He was a man without a fortune then. A man with the uniformity of purpose that makes people do great things. We need him to remember, that for a lot of Americans it might be Game Over. And they aren't in The Club.

Books by William Hazelgrove