The “Not-so-good” Ol’ Boy’s & Gals? –Robert M. Shelby, 9-4-11. [665 txt wds]

Will Gregory’s timely exposé of interest networks in Benicia politics, shown today in: “Does Benicia have a ‘good old boys’ network?” immediately raises the thought of “not so good” networks. Nationally, each state has cabals both of Republicans and Democrats working hard to impact legislation and enforcement or neglect. Some cabals work against the real interests and benefit of the general public. The “not so good” crowd has big money behind it from organized business. Labor unions are generally good for working classes, but can be subverted by lucrative, false progress.

Federally, we see the hard core members of each Republican caucus working hard at anti-people shenanigans while an even harder core of simpletons represent the “bad new kids” network of Tea Party electees advocating for a nation that quit existing over a century ago, in which “the good old days” were a current delusion foisted retroactively  by dreamers who are dim on history and today’s working life on farm and in factory.

Locally, Gregory highlights the split between (1) people eager for commercial/industrial growth that will transform Benicia into Richmond or Emeryville!–and (2) many who prefer our sweet, sleepy town much as it is, and who are not crazy to get rich quick from misguided pseudo-progress. Big landowners and would-be developers with dollar-signs in their eyes want to dominate this town and edge out those who want a more sustainable future and stable community life not governed by external forces greater than those that already impinge upon us.

Right here in Benicia Herald’s Forum, we read almost daily input from the “Wild Growth Crowd” who feel always “right” about everything and who are ever ready to denigrate ecological concern as “tree-hugging,” and to bad-mouth liberal futurists as “greenies.” You would think these grumpy porcupines are hard working “brownies” who will abandon the cobbler-shop if we don’t give them a bowl of milk every night–the milk of kindly, human regard! But, clearly, they do not deserve it, nor our thanks for their Fast-Money-preferring backwardism. They imagine their personal advancement will signal progress for all, as if the rising ocean of climate change will lift all boats at once instead of flooding harbor and field to make our lives ever more difficult and life’s quality less bearable. We need perhaps to figure out who are the real Luddites, here! And, who are the greedy self-aggrandizers of grandiose peculation?

We all know wealth is good. But, there are more kinds of wealth than those represented by financial capital, chattels and “real” estate. Benicia has long been a wonderfully wealthy community, though one looking over all parts of our town from outside and high above in the air might not notice. The grumpy materialists of restricted horizon who compensate for spiritual bankruptcy by public religiosity and outspoken negation will not likely agree. May laughter fall liberally on their heads.

Uncaring practitioners of hyper-abstraction look at only one side of the coin: “What’s in it for them?” The other side, of course, is “What’s left for anyone or everything else?” On the coin’s edge are those who imagine their self-interest opens up a grand future for everyone in a brave new world of yesterday’s streamlined and minimal institutions, the laws stripped of regulations assuring fair balance and restraint of injurious practices.

Such people have theirs already, or own enough that they can ignore the real world’s compexity and the interconnections between our country and the rest of the world. Just now, Europe’s troubles, reflected in falling markets, impact our markets and trouble the investors. What does the Tea Party caucus care about reality? They can blame Obama for all the troubles. Naturally, then, they are ready to bring on more trouble merely to turn him out of office, no matter at what cost to whom. The bad children will take over the whole school if the rest of us, the adults, don’t wake up and take action.

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