Thursday, August 7, 2008

There's a Box

Findings of the federal mine “regulators” (I use the word loosely) are that those Utah miners weren’t killed by an earthquake after all. They were killed by their bosses. The mine operator chose to remove the columns of coal supporting the roof of mountain over their heads. Everybody knew this was coming. The bosses brought it on.

From the foremen on the line to the gentlefolk in the board room to the inspectors and the regulators to the administration that sets mine safety policy, the tacit consensus is, “It’s about our profits. Their lives are of no consequence.”

White-collar Americans are pleased to imagine that such murderous exploitation stops at the mine shaft and the factory door.

Not really. Linking the Utah mine murders to a tide of desperate immigrants to citrus-picking heat strokes to unaffordable health care to a tsunami of home foreclosures to the lies about global warming to Enron’s happy run of piracy to soldiers sans armor to Wall Street “bubbles” to vanished pensions to privatized water to outsourced jobs is the consensus that our lives are of no consequence. It’s all about their profits.

But this is the world we’re choosing. Translate slogans like “war on terror,” “over-regulation,” “let the market decide,” “big-government liberals,” “class warfare” or “socialized medicine” and find, “It’s about our profits. Their lives are of no consequence.”

Old women in Africa saw off their daughters’ clitorises with the lids of sardine cans. Old women in Afghanistan stone younger ones for adultery, real or imagined. It’s not only about the men whose status is thus secured. It’s also about the women who comply with them.

They accept that their welfare depends on their complicity.

It’s not that they can’t see outside the box.

They’ve forgotten that there is a box.