The metamorphosis is complete. For some time we have been able to look through the increasingly transparent walls of the dingy chrysalis, discerning within the agitated writhings of an unlovely bug. But now the thing has split open and the creature is spilled out into the autumn light, its vile nature revealed. It goes immediately to feeding, and to our horror and disgust it is a bloodsucker, a flesh consumer, and we doubt it can be squashed or poisoned by the only recourses we have-the protest letter or call or a pointless vote some weeks hence. The Democrats are now the champions of Wall Street, wealth, and a world made safe for money and risk at the expense of common decency.
I drove a neighbor to work this morning, in Augusta. Her very used car needs a timing belt on top of the seven hundred dollars she spent to get it inspected, and the eight dollar an hour McDonald's burger job where she works five hours a shift at variable hours four days a week won't afford it roadability. I've agreed to pick her up a five tonight. This is no fun for either of us, or for the other persons she often must beg for help. But this is America. And it's not even winter yet, and nobody's living on stale Cheerios and overwatered soup yet to save up enough for whatever minimum the oil man requires before he'll hose their tanks.
Before being driven indoors by the first wave of tropical rain from a combination of storms aimed at Maine this weekend, the dachshund and I planted and pruned. The last two Acer pseudosieboldianum I had sitting in pots are now in the ground, together with a few odd half-priced Hosta that doubled their number by the application of a dividing knife. We lifted some basswood shade off smaller trees, pruned up a Korean mountain-ash (the only member of the genus worth growing), and settled the branches on a brush pile we have been building and time and decay have been reducing for three decades.
This is all true, real, concrete, believable, knowable stuff. And good and worthwhile and satisfying and life-affirming. I shall live longer for my time among my trees. And with the dog. Then the rain became too thick, we abandoned hopes for hauling dirt or improving more trees or mowing and came in.
And Public Radio, as it has been doing all week, was churning through the swill bucket of information and rumors and guesses and lies that has become the focus of our nation, the impending great Wall Street Rescue.
First there was a deal, then there was no deal and then there was. Ben Bernanke, a man I doubt could identify ten species of trees if he had Dirr's Manual in hand, says we've got to, got to, got to commit seven hundred billion dollars to this purpose now. This week. Today. The Market cannot open Monday without "a plan in place." Treasury Secretary Paulson, an apparent idiot, and an excitable one at that, concurs. President Bush, that folksy fool, just was on the news assuring us he had faith that Democrats and Republicans would put aside the evil of politics and come together in a grand display of bipartisanship and git 'er done.
Nothing new in any of that. And then NPR gave air to Senator Charles Schumer. Now, we all know Chuck's a master at both whoring himself and at loudly and indignantly posturing. Pretty much all Senators are, of course, but Senator Schumer turns up on the radio more often than many, and seems more sure of himself, more full of himself, and is more grating in his presentation (at least to me) than almost anybody since Trent Lott.
And what would Chuck have us know this noonday? Just the damned Republicans are standing in the way of transferring billions of dollars of our children's futures to investment bankers, speculators, jerks, liars and scumbuckets. The Democrats could, he says, pass this necessary bill without the GOP, but won't do so. So there we have it, as clearly as a webworm crawling up the branch of a buckeye under autumn skies-there's the Democratic majority all you earnest persons worked so hard and donated so much money to elect two years ago.
The Republicans, it turns out, have scruples. They believe in something. (Who could have imagined it?) They don't think the government should give over so much money to speculators and they object to relinquishing so much power to the likes of Bernanke and Paulson. The Democrats are livid. Time is wasting. We need to pass a bill now, don't you see! Barney Frank told Charlie Rose a couple nights ago; I heard it; I saw it. Barack Obama, the man who would bring Change, affirms his wish that Republicans would stop their obstructionist ways and meet him mid-aisle in some compromise bailout that would throw a few dollars to a few mortgagees, put a (ridiculously high) cap on CEO salaries, and reach right into your and my ass pockets and bank accounts and hopes for a better America and rip out seven hundred billion dollars (more or less-and it will end up being more) so that corrupt and negligent and self-satisfies sons of bitches who never worked a real job, never held a saw or a wrench or a hammer to good purpose, never tried to make a fan belt out of a nylon rope or get a Ford past the inspector by plugging up a shitty muffler with aluminum flashing and duct tape, so these worms can keep on keeping on.
And what can you do about that? Nothing. Not, as we say around here, a frigging' thing. Should I E-mail Olympia Snow or Tom Allen? No, they will vote for whatever deal comes before them. You can petition your own legislative team if you wish, but I'd suggest that instead of asking them to vote against the bill, instead of expressing your concerns politely, you threaten them, coldly, politely, but unequivocally. You vote for this, in any form, for any amount, you give one dollar of my money toward this purpose, and I shall not only never again vote for you, I'll work as hard as I can and donate as much money as I am able to whomever may run against you in any future election, whatever he or she says or believes or has done or proposes. As George Herbert Walker Bush said so many years ago: "This will not stand!"
And don't let Obama off the hook. I've had enough of hearing how he's only backpedaling and waffling and vaguely oozing around issues that matter to liberals so that he can get elected and then he'll bring out the buckets of Change. The time for change is now, Senator. Vote No. Be a Democrat.
No point here except personal outrage. Brother Cooper is not even getting his usual twenty-five dollars for this from The Wiscsasset Newspaper. He only writes this hoping it will inspire some readers toward a harder line, a bolder public voice of their own, and help them see that while the Republicans have long been their enemies, the Democrats have now ceased to be their friends. Now Cooper waits for the rain to pass so he can get back to his land.