The Rant 

Finally, an American protest. Demonstrations in New York City and elsewhere against corporate greed and social inequality. Hundreds of people arrested. People camping in parks and marching on bridges. People carrying signs that blast the establishment. I was beginning to wonder if America was ever going to get back in the swing of this kind of thing. And I hope it turns into a flash mob frenzy from coast to coast.

Just like the wonderful revolution in Egypt earlier this year, young people are finally getting out of Starbucks and the mall and rallying against what they feel is unjust, unfair, crooked, evil, and in some cases even illegal. I hope everyone will go a step further and never use a credit card again and avoid getting ripped off at those companies' whims with hidden charges and penalties. I haven't used a credit card in more than six years and never will again unless it is some kind of really bad emergency. Major banks like Bank of America? No way. I use a local Memphis bank, and it has all of three locations. They are never out to get me or anyone else. The people there are as friendly as any I know. They give out candy suckers to kids and dog biscuits to dogs at the drive-through window. They are not crooks and their officers do not own 13 mansions. They are "small town" and it is actually a joy to go there to do business.

I'm not sure why I got off on that tangent, but I think it's because I, like so many other people, have gotten paranoid about what corporate America will do to line its pockets further and what it is doing to support political candidates they need in their pockets to get richer. It's the old hippie in me, I guess. Well, a slightly hypocritical hippie with an iPhone and iPad. But my car has no bumper, by damn!

Okay, I am boring even myself with this soap box. What about Chris Christie running for the Republican presidential nomination? I love that dude. I don't want him to win because I love Barack and I really do believe he inherited just too much of an economic mess from the previous administration and the corrupt corporate world to fix it in three years. But Christie has more charisma and smarts than all of those other candidates put together, except for Herman Cain and he is a cool guy too. And he does know how to run a pizza business. I don't know anything about their politics, but at least they don't seem to be drinking the tea like the rest of the group. And at least he has a sense of humor and is not one of those Bachmann robots.

And you can bet that Christie never owned a hunting camp named "Niggerhead," like Rick Perry. I hate to even type that word, but it has already been in the major newspapers. Can you even fathom this? His handlers claim that he didn't have it all that long before he painted over the big sign bearing that name, which, according to The Washington Post, was still visible underneath a faint coat of paint as recently as last summer. This, in 2011. He should just drop out of the race and resume being a cowboy.

But enough about all that. I have an idea. It's not a great surprise that the military has been wasting billions of dollars on a bunch of nonsense at a time when that money could really be put to good use. I wish the feds would start taking that money and expanding the Peace Corps or Americorps to do more work here in the United States to help make it a more fair society for everyone. Inner-city programs in every major city would create jobs, help rid cities of blight, educate people in various fields to get them ready for jobs, build affordable houses and community centers, provide much-needed medical treatment to those who can't otherwise afford it, and become a really big part of how the country operates. They do great work in other countries and that shouldn't stop, but what about doing some things here? I don't know how it would be funded, but when you look at what the military spent in Iraq you can't convince me that there's not some loot that could pay for this.

While I agree with the protesters and hope they keep it up, wouldn't it also be great if they could find employment and be actively constructive in making the world a better place? I think if more people cared more about making the world a better place than they do flat-screen televisions and expensive shoes, jobs would open up. People would be more confident and positive and excited about living in the United States. But then, I could be choking on granola and patchouli and none of this might make any sense. Where is Cat Stevens when I need him?

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