08 Monday Dec 2014
Half-toll roads here (HOT (HOV?) FasTrak (ExpressLanes?)), schools with extra charges there (“public” charters), under resourced post office and other public services everywhere….
The assault on our public government by the forces of privatization is relentless. The continuous assault on those of us who would like to spread the risk and share the responsibilities of a Village, is unceasing.
It seems there must be so very many Trojan Horses lying as time bombs throughout our public government, embedded as partial worm holes of privatization that start the process of public acceptance of less service in a realm we paid for already. How else to explain all this give-away of public services, goods, belongings, entitlements, expectations? Why are we complacent about the loss of quality among so many institutions of public service, for so long?
Why are we content to let our public highways become entitled tollways for the monied? I thought our tax dollars built those roads, maintained them. I thought this was the great post-war boom, the opening of individual pathways to Everytown USA. But to travel east in LA one needs money to use part of the roadway, additional extracted beyond the shared contribution of our taxes to the commons, money invested in privilege. Rewards to those engaged, and victorious, in the game of capitalism.
The same is true for our public schools, threatened by privatization and the strength of money played by individuals for their personal, exclusive betterment. Money invested in isolated reservoirs of homogeneity and privilege. Money kicked back individually for personal advantage, reinforcing exclusive communities of advantage.
Our post office is another example of a public service rendered mediocre by financial neglect and malevolent design on its public status. By neglecting aspects that burnished its value as a public service organization formerly, the institution’s current failings attributable to federal financial neglect, are unfairly linked to the concept of a public mail courier itself. Fellow citizens rail against the “bad management” and slipshod, spotty service that follows necessarily from an organization with insufficient funding, targeted for private takeover.
None of these public institutions is inherently non-functional, they are supported by their users – we, the people, the middle class who pay our tax bills – insufficiently.
Do not accept improperly delivered mail or skipped mail deliveries or the loss of a regular mail carrier or any of the other indignities our postal service must shoulder as a result of being targeted for “drowning“. These are federal malaises made problematic by federal design: contact your federal congressional representative. Tell them these are public assets and there’s no reason we the people cannot make it work for us; we; the people.
This goes for all the building bricks of a functional, middle-class-mediated society, all around us. A political structure that siphons money upward, sequestering it at the top for the private benefit of those who have cornered the market on money, is not our only option. There are public institutions all around us, actively degraded now for want of the support of those who benefit from them.
This is the real division between have and have-nots, the set of those who are cognizant of this erosion of a public commons to which we the ordinary have recourse, and those who see either the profit to be gained in draining it, or are myopic enough to see only their personal gain at the expense of the commons.
Would you like mail delivered through snow, rain, and heat but perhaps not through gloom of night, for a decent rate by those paid a decent, living wage? Then it’s time to speak up about it – not to a local manager but to the federal managers who are forcing widespread privatization. It is suffusing American Education through our Department of Education, and service as fundamental and iconic as our mail through congress itself.
This is truly a war of the 1% on the rest of us fought on the broadest of flanks. Stand up against corporatizing bullies who would take us away from ourselves.