Falling Down Again

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One of the most popular and most talked about movies of 1993 was Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas, Barbara Hershey, and Robert Duval. 

Douglas played William “D-FENS” Foster, an engineer at a defense contractor who has a really bad day.  Some described the movie as “an ordinary man at war with the everyday world.”

Foster became an iconic anti-hero for the people who (stealing Bill Clinton’s line)worked hard and played by the rules, yet found themselves at the bottom of the heap in the post-Cold War era of 1993.

Foster’s wife (Hershey) had left him, and he moved back in with his mother. Making matters worse, Hershey had a court order barring Foster from visiting their young daughter, whom he clearly loved more than life itself.

On the little girl’s birthday, everything falls apart.  Foster gets laid off from the defense contractor job.  The police (Duval) remind him he’s not to go near his wife or daughter.  And in one memorable scene, a fast food chain’s rules interfere when Foster just wants breakfast:

 

When I read the story of Jetblue flight attendant, Steven Slater, Falling Down  comes to mind. 

And I’m not the only one. 

According to a new Wall Street Journal/MSNBC Poll, two-thirds of Americans believe the worst is yet to come for the economy.  Democrat pollster Peter Hart sees Steven Slater as metaphor for voter sentiment.

Mr. Hart said the 2010 contest is being pulled by the sentiment associated with the JetBlue flight attendant who fled his plane via the emergency chute after an altercation with a passenger. Calling it the "JetBlue election," Mr. Hart said: "Everyone’s hurling invective and they’re all taking the emergency exit."

Like William Foster, Steven Slater seems to symbolize—in exaggerated form—the mood of the American people.  We’re fed up with bureaucracy and petty rules, “minute and uniform,” as Tocqueville put it,  “. . . through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd.”

Steven Slater broke through, alright.

In 1993, ordinary Americans—the Tea Party before it had that name—were ready to rumble.  After the Reagan years had restore some semblance of normalcy following the weird 1970s, Bush and Clinton conspired to impose a “new world order” that was inconsistent with our constitution, to use 18th century lingo. 

On November 6, 1994, the American voter signaled our disgust with Washington’s incompetence and encroachments. We switched controll of Congress from Democrat to Republican. In 2006, the voters reversed themselves, returning Congressional control the Democrats.  The voters wanted a change.

It worked.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 12,398 when the Nancy Pelosi’s surgically enhanced hand snatched the Speaker’s gavel from Denny Hastert.  Today, the DJIA opened at 10,300 and some change.  Some change, indeed.

In 2007, the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. Today’s it’s 9.5 percent and rising, according to Timothy Geithner.  Today, new unemployment claims unexpectedly rose by 2,000 for the second week in a row. Consumer spending slowed. The national debt has increased 21 percent since the Democrats took over Congress—and sole authority to tax and spend.

Even with all that bad news and angst, there is great news ahead. Elections offer Americans the opportunity to take control of their lives and their future. In 2010, the shift in power from Washington to the people could be  of a historic scale.

Can you see November?



5 thoughts on “
Falling Down Again

  1. Oh yes, and one more issue I have with you:

    10 percent of the people control 93 percent of the wealth. A country cannot continue to have the top people controlling more and more of the wealth or it won’t work properly. So, how do you propose to change that ratio and why can’t we keep certain social programs in place to also facilitate some movement of money from these people who get perks from government, scam people with bad loans, etc. to people who need some benefits just to get by?

    I believe your move towards self reliance is a bogus attempt to enrich Wall Street. And you know that is exactly what will happen if you continue down this path.

  2. You know the problem that I have with you Bill? Actually, it is in the form of three basic problems.

    1. The government is not in charge. The international banker cartel is in charge. So for you to say you are giving the power of government from government to the people is disingenuous. We have a problem with corporate fascism, not communism. The middle class was robbed by corporate ponzi fascism.

    2. Wall Street is bleeding and wants social security. They are losing the boomers, the money is staying on the sidelines, and 401k money is being withdrawn for hardship. Wall Street greed is fueling the CNBC push for social security money. Quit helping them and don’t allow the banks to divide the old from the young.

    Wall Street has a scam, and that is to divide mainstreet so that mainstreet gets all confused and cannot see that these bankers are the evil ones. And I mean starting with the private Federal Reserve Bank, and the Basel 2 central banks who allowed hiding bad loans in 1998. They allowed off balance sheet banking Bill, That and the repeal of Glass-Steagall were the root causes of the credit crisis, Bill.

    3. The government may have pushed loans for the poor. But those loans make up a small portion of loans that have gone bad. And the banks set up a system for the problem with bad loans. The repeal of Glass-Steagall, that allowed insurance to be written on the bad loans, allowed banks to write loans on all manner of credit scores with lies and with no documentation. You know who spearheaded the repeal and the scam? Phil Gramm, a Republican. And the vote was 90 to 8 with a pox on both parties, Bill! They all ought to be prosecuted if they gained one thin dime from the repeal, Bill.

    Option arm loans and jumbo loans had nothing to do with the original subprime loans. Henry Paulson said those were contained, and if those had been the only bad loans he would have been right. Turns out they were a small portion of the bad loans. So quit blaming the poor people for the credit crisis Bill!

    So interested in your response if you could give us something to believe in here.

    • Thanks, Gary. I meant to respond sooner, but running 4 web sites, opening a new Victory Center, working full time, and promoting a huge 9-12 Tea Party in St. Louis limits my blogging time. (So why did I waste so much typing complaining about my workload? Waddaya gonna do?)

      1. I don’t believe power is quite as concentrate you believe, but I think it’s far more concentrated than Natural Law allows. Further–and this is the real problem–very few of us give a damn about power. Oh, we all do when we go to use it and find it isn’t there. But then it’s too late. So the Tea Party is at least working to arouse awareness of this concentration of power in a few hands. Give us credit for that.

      2. I agree — to an extent–about fascism. Mussolini said that fascism is properly called “corporatism” as it embodies the government management of corporations. But I disagree that this is difference kind from communism. It is only a difference in degree. Both on are the Tyranny end of the TyrannyAnarchy line.

      3. The real cause of the meltdown? Too numerous to mention. A catastrophe never has a root cause. It has at least seven, usually more. Take away any one, and you may have an issue, but not a catastrophe. Sub-prime loans were only a fraction of the problem. Bundling bad loans with good and treating as AAA was another. Allowing Wall Street firms to go public–transferring risk from partners to stockholders and clients–was another BIG problem. In my more libertarian moments, I question the propriety of corporations as they’re currently fashioned. But I can’t find a workable alternative.

      But the solution is the same as it’s always been: power to the people. One election, one bill, one season at a time. I cannot solve all the world’s problems, but I can get the people I meet to be open to diffusion of power, if only a bit. It will be up to my kids to continue this fight, because it will not be over in my lifetime, I’m sure. But we will prevail.

      Thanks, Gary.

  3. D-FENS was actually unemployed for some time before the film began. He was looking for work, but pretending to go to the office daily to keep up the pretense.

    Kind of like the government presentation of the current economy.

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