These two short films, made eight years apart, pretty much say where we've been and where we are now.
They were created by movie maker (and animator) Charles Stone, and both have pretty much gone viral, but I put them up anyway because they plug nicely into the screed below ...
My first Presidential vote was cast for Richard Nixon. It was 1972. I was a Navy Swabbie. At the time, it seemed to me like the right thing to do.
This time around, my vote will be for Barack Obama.
Now I'm sure I'll get trolls who will call me a commie sympathizer and Muslim lover, a Librul, a Socialist, etc. etc. But let me explain anyway.
When a government has loused up as throughly as this one has, it's hard to get around the fact that all the damage will probably cause the general population to become ... I don't know ... pissed off. This is currently reflected in the poll numbers you find around the web*.
If Al Gore had become President, and versions of the disasters that have taken place under G.W. Bush had occurred with him, I've little doubt that the electorate would be on the cusp of riding Democrats out of town on a rail.
However, if we were in that alternate universe and the Democrats were about to become toast, I would not be one of the cooks burning them in the oven, because I'm not the man I was thirty-six years ago.
I am now middle-aged. A father and husband. A guy who has worked for a living for thirty-plus years, swimming against a rising tide of corporatism, where the top 1% earns the lion's share of wealth, where the government exists to protect and defend blue-chip companies and nobody else.
And I would still be voting the liberal, "spread the wealth around" line because I'm painfully aware that the United States has become -- in the words of novelist Gore Vidal -- a country devoted to "Socialism for the rich, and free enterprise for the poor," and I would like the equation to be redressed, at least a little.
Now I don't think Mr. Obama is the end-all and be-all as a Presidential nominee. And I don't believe John McCain is evil personified. But pushing income inequality to greater extremes -- as McCain's policies would do -- ends up making our problems worse. And sooner rather than later, more of us will end up like Dukie and his brethren: Out of a job, out of the house, and still in Iraq, being bled white to the tune of $10 billion per month.
There's not much time left before election day. Use it to make things better. And please vote.
* It's possible these poll numbers can change and Senator McCain might pull off a triumph. I doubt it, but it's possible.