The soaring, middle-class rage against government catastrophes, terrorism, and corruptions of all forms is in part due to the immense catastrophes they have seen government and Big Corporations working with government produce in front of their startled eyes over and over again. The Great Financial Crisis is certainly a colossal catastrophe they have seen crashing all around them, Government officials deny everything and try to blame it all on the local real estate guy or gal who worked with you to get a mortgage for your home, But even the terminally ignorant and dumb see that government did not prevent it and intelligent people are perfectly aware the government not only was the prime mover of it all by getting interest rates below zero in real terms and the government is now giving vast piles of their money to the Big Bank Perps, rewarding the corporate perps for the catastrophe they helped to create.
But they are also seeing the government catastrophes erupting ever more frequently everywhere, from Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan to Katrina in New Orleans and even to police terrorism in our homes and FDA catastrophes across the board endangering all of us. You can see this in many ways. One of the simplest and quickest is to read America’s biggest magazine aimed at the middle class, general readers — Reader’s Digest. It’s one of the many middle class pulse-checkers and movers I check out all the time to get clear signs that we are passing the tipping points of public opinion on major issue. Other pulse checkers and movers I check all the time are AARP Magazine, newspapers and TV-news from Fox to PBS, Time and Newsweek, and magazines like Harvard and Princeton and the New Yorker and Atlantic and popular movie and TV reviews — which I normally do not have time for myself. I find the Digest about the best indicator of mass, middle class, general opinion tipping points. (AARP is a bit bigger and better for older people.)
The April 2008 issue of The Digest has a good article on “Can We Trust The FDA?” The answer is a 100 Decibel NO! The article even points out that many drug problems do not show signs of injury until they’ve been used for years — hormone replacement used by millions of women for decades is an extreme example, but they note there are many millions of people routinely endangered by Big Pharma drugs not tested for long runs and not followed once approved.
The March, 2010, issue of The Digest has a good summary article about police terrorism entitled “Terror In The House” in a standard section called OUTRAGEOUS, very appropriately. The article has not only the incredible REAL AMERICAN HORROR STORIES but also notes that the SWAT Team Terrors are soaring because the police use these heavily armed, trigger-happy cops for all kinds of nonviolent suspects these days. They quote Norm Stamper, a decent cop who moved from San Diego to Seattle to become chief there, saying that these cops forget this is a democracy with a Constitution — no excuses boys and girls!
There are lots of these now in these mass circulation, middle class Media. Only hermits can fail to get the messages and there is lots of evidence that people are convinced, from call-ins, changes in behavior on food and drugs, to political movements. We have just been through a massive campaign by Big Government, Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Media and all their allies to pass a huge central plan for healthcare in America. The middle classes watched and listened and in the end decided they don’t trust them and revolted against it. No one can know what the details are or what they mean in this vast pile of rules and regulations which are not even finalized. But the people know whatever is there the planners cannot be trusted. This has already spawned a huge new Tea Party movement and radically changed Party politics at the top, The AARP tried to straddle the issue but went along with the Party on it. I think The Digest is a better indicator of middle class opinion even on health care.
Outrage against the government at the top is breaking out all over.
Jack D. Douglas [send him mail] is a retired professor of sociology from the University of California at San Diego. He has published widely on all major aspects of human beings, most notably The Myth of the Welfare State.