Here's the opening scene: Two lobsters are found sitting in a restaurant tank
trading philosophical observations. One pretends to be dead in order to avoid
becoming a dinner entrée on that night's pricey menu. The other prods,
"If you spend all your time playing dead, what’s the point of being
alive?" That line speaks volumes of truth about our mostly mesmerized America
and its refusal to face its grim reality, which includes our state of perpetual
war hatched by the deranged Bush-Cheney Gang;  a national economy going straight
to hell on a runaway train called "Free Trade;"  and a fossil-fuel
energy crisis that unless resolved will send us spiraling into another Dark Age!
The lobster bit comes from a one-act comedy, entitled, "In the Tank,"
which has been staged in NYC, Los Angeles and in Maryland, too. Baltimore's
Rosemary Frisino Toohey's play sounds like the present and dreadful state of
Middle America. She told me on the set of the film, "Music High,"
where we were both working as extra actors, that her drama does have relevance
to "the existential conditions" of the country in 2005, and that it
owes much of its theme to the insightful works, along the same philosophical
lines, of the celebrated Irish playwright - Samuel Beckett.
In any event, you simply can't pick up a newspaper in the U.S. on any given
day without reading distressing news about our failing economy, and the ongoing,
horrific consequences of the unjust and costly Iraqi War, and not feel fearful
for the future of our Republic.  Take Oct. 18, 2005, for example. The "Baltimore
Sun" carried a front page story, "Gathering in Sorrow," which
told of the recent tragic deaths of three Maryland National Guard members in
that Neocon-inspired conflict. Also, beginning on the front page of the "Sun,"
was an article about General Motors (GM) slashing health care benefits for hundreds
of thousands of its United Automobile Workers (UAW) employees, and for retirees,
too, of the company. This is the same GM which just closed its massive Broening
Highway plant in Baltimore City. Meanwhile, Delphi, the largest U.S. auto parts
supplier, has filed for bankruptcy protection and slashed jobs and wages. It
operates 44 plants in the U.S. and is expected to close or shift 11 of them.
Actually, there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that mandates that our
nation must subscribe to these so-called "Free Trade" policies. If
the Republic is for the benefit of all, why can't the economic system we adopt
do the same? The "Free Trade" schemes, hatched by cunning agents of
today's Plutocrats,  have devastated our once-vaunted manufacturing base,
 sourced out some of our best paying jobs, created a huge national debt in
the trillions of dollars for future generations to pay down, and are literally
bringing our country to its knees. America is more vulnerable now to a take
over by alien-based financial predators than at any time since its founding.
What kind of national security is that?The U.S., under the reign of the corrupt
Bush-Cheney Gang, must depend on foreign loans to stay afloat.  This is a
prescription for national suicide!
It is an axiomatic principle that if you don't have a Middle Class,
you can't have a genuine democracy! The Middle Class, like the fractious U.S.
Labor Movement,  is fading fast from the scene, thanks to our insane "Free
Trade" policies, which only benefit a select and greedy few. 
These elitist-oriented policies have created economic and social havoc in our
cities, towns and states (think "Rust Belt"). What the German and
Japanese War Lords couldn't do us during all of WWII, these nation-destroying
policies are now doing, with impunity. They must be ended! 
Take Manhattan Island for another visible example of what is happening to our
America. In order to live there today, you mostly have to be either very rich
or very poor, there doesn't seem to be any in between. Other areas of the country
are starting to look the same as the ultra-affluent Manhattan, with the growth
of gated communities in and around our major cities and the mushrooming of private
police forces patrolling the tony neighborhoods. This gives way to a "Them
vs. Us" paradigm, that is difficult to miss and if you aren't alarmed about
that phenomena, then maybe you should be.
A decade or two ago, working class families from Baltimore City would regularly
vacation for a week or two down at Ocean City, MD, a resort town, during the
steamy summer months; or, up at Deep Creek Lake, in Western Maryland during
the fall and winter season. Today, the cost of doing so has become too prohibitive
for the vast majority of them to continue that kind of activity. And, who do
you personally know that can afford to take their family to a Major League baseball
game more than once or twice a year?
A few of the extra actors, that I talked with on the "Music High"
film set, which was being shot in Baltimore City and environs last week, told
me that they have to work a number of part time jobs simply to make ends meets.
And, health insurance, or its lack, is another horror story. What a predicament!
And, I'm afraid, these anecdotal examples that I've witnessed are becoming more
and more the economic norm in the U.S., and not the rare exception.
As for the energy crisis, even before the damaging effects of Hurricane Katrina
on the oil and gas industries, author James H. Kunstler, who penned the seminal
book, "The Long Emergency," was predicting a "rough ride through
uncharted territory" for us.  The average price at the pump for a gallon
of gas this week is hovering around the $2.73 mark, 69 cents higher than a year
ago. Kunstler, however, sees a day coming, not that far off either, when the
fossil-fuel era will come to an end with disastrous results for America and
its oil-sourced economy. He quoted Carl Jung, the famed psychologist, who said,
"People cannot stand too much reality." Well, whether they can stand
it or not, their "sleepwalking into the future," has a major nightmare
or two in store for them; just as it does for that hapless lobster in the restaurant
tank, who's pretending to be dozing off!
Also, the cost of the Iraqi war is now at $202 billion, and rising, at the rate
of about $7 billion a month. In addition, l,979 American military personnel
have died in the bloody conflict and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have
perished. Nevertheless, two Maryland-based liberals, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski
(D-MD) and Rep. Ben Cardin (D-3rd MD), have shamelessly continued to vote to
fund the war. In my opinion, this illegal and tragic war would have been impossible
to start and to maintain without the conscious complicity of the gravediggers
of our Republic, the members of the U.S. Congress! There are a few notable exceptions
in that group. See, http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ for the names of members
of the U.S. Congress, who have been working hard to bring out the truth about
how America was lied into the Iraqi War.
. "Conspirators' Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300,"
by Dr. John Coleman.