Is there anyone who doesn't love The Wire? Over at Guernica, Bill Moyers is interviewing the creator of The Wire — David Simon. Simon is talking about the stuff he usually talks about — the disenfranchisement of the underclass, the failure of the War on Drugs, and the ennui of living at the end of the American Empire.
But this is the part, in the light of the pay raises and the jobs party buses, and how life seems pretty OK for some folks while other folks can't catch a break, that I wanted to bring to your attention:
These really are the excess people in America. Our economy doesn’t need them — we don’t need 10 or 15 percent of our population. And certainly the ones who are undereducated, who have been ill-served by the inner-city school system, who have been unprepared for the technocracy of the modern economy, we pretend to need them. We pretend to educate the kids. We pretend that we’re actually including them in the American ideal, but we’re not. And they’re not foolish. They get it.
This scares the shit out of me, because I'm afraid it's true. And not just for the inner city. I mean, obviously, in a state like Tennessee, we have a lot of rural people who have been ill-served by their school systems, who are unprepared for the modern economy, and we're busy finding ways to ensure these folks can still learn creationism in science classes. We're buying fancy RVs for them to apply for non-existent jobs in. We're enacting tort reform, as if that's going to bring jobs.
I think we have to wonder how much of this is theater designed to make people feel like they're included in the American ideal — when really, they're being left behind.