Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

A New American Diaspora

Ever since our ancient ancestors first walked out of the Great Rift Valley to populate other regions of the globe our species has been on the move. Critical turning points in world history have always been marked with dramatic shifts in population and settlement of people. The Phonetians, Greeks, Polynesians, Vikings, Crusaders, Mongols, Hebrews and the Pre-Columbian Asians who crossed the Baring Strait land bridge are storied migrations, explorations and conquests that shaped civilization and continue to inform our understanding of world history.

American history is full of examples of dramatic population shifts. The arrival of European settlers, the introduction of African’s through the slave trade, the westward expansion of America, the Trail of Tears of Native American resettlements onto reservations, the arrival of Chinese laborers in San Francisco, the second wave of Ellis Island European immigrants, the migration of African Americans to northern cities at the beginning of the 20th century, the Dust Bowl migrations of Midwest farmers and the most recent immigration of Hispanics, Caribbean, Middle and Far Eastern people are dramatic examples from our country’s short history of major population shifts.

Global climate change and the economic impact of high energy prices are causing dramatic shifts and migrations of people throughout the world. The United States will not be immune from its affects. Hurricane Katrina depopulated the City of New Orleans and is altering our propensity to build houses on barrier islands. The floods along the Mississippi River Valley, drought in the Southwestern states and the devastating wildfires in California and other western states are climate influenced events that are forcing populations to resettle to more eco-friendly locations. History may be rereading and we may be witnessing a reenactment of John Steinbeck’s great historical fiction masterwork, The Grapes of Wrath .

The permanent rise in energy prices will reverse the urban exodus of the middle class to suburbia. As the car culture took hold of post war America, cheap gas, and vast highway systems encouraged the development of suburbs. Now that gas prices are skyrocketing and mass transit infrastructure continues to be neglected the middle class will migrate back to the city to live in close proximity to resources, jobs and services. Urban exclusivity will be protected by congestion pricing programs, the absence of affordable housing and high cost of services. This will create a dramatic demographic shift in the America as lower income people are forced out of the city creating a growing population of rural poor. Social service reservations may need to be created to assure subsistence for the rural poor.

The stated intention of airlines to restrict and eliminate service to second tier cities will tend to isolate these communities and create high concentrations of the economically disadvantaged. This will create tremendous strain on local city and state government’s ability to provide basic services to the new classes of disenfranchised people. High energy prices and the changing American topology due to climate change pose a multitude of risks to the fiscal viability of local governments.

Let’s close with Bruce Springsteen’s Ghost of Tom Joad.

Risk: demographic, tax base, urban, rural, climate change, population,

July 9, 2008 Posted by | bankruptsy, credit crisis, environment, folk, homelessness, social unrest | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dos Equis Presidentes (Part 2)

William Jefferson Clinton’s the “Man from Hope” biography reads like a modern political Horatio Alger story. He came from a difficult and confused lineage and used his exceptional gifts of charm and intelligence to advance to the highest public office in America. Early in his first run for President, I developed an admiration for Clinton based on his sticktoitness, fortitude and his ability to keep on coming after getting knocked down by the seeming knockout punch.

He is a living testament to Ma Joad’s closing words from the movie “The Grapes of Wrath.” Say’s Ma Joad, “Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good an’ they die out. But we keep a’comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out; they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, ’cause we’re the people.”

In Clinton’s mind he has been crowned by the tide of history to speak for the common people. Any tactics or political counter punches he can deliver on adversaries are justified to ensure that the democratic march of history arrives at a destination that extols a yeoman’s vision of a Jeffersonian utopia. Clearly a sense of entitlement to lead and the justification of his actions will be condoned by fate and history will absolve him.

So he takes risks. He takes the high, medium and low road to achieve the goal of securing the Democratic nomination for his wife Hillary. He will say or do anything to achieve this goal. He is not above stoking racial suspicions and broadening the racial divide to get Hillary the nomination.

Every tactic, any strategy to deliver the dynamic duo to the domicile of their dynastic destiny will be fully employed; the alienation of African American voters notwithstanding. If the Clinton’s use of deft political machinations to get the nomination succeeds they risk the disenfranchisement of African Americans from the Democratic Party. If this strategy succeeds Clinton 2 will raise the Stars and Bars over the White House signaling the return of the Dixiecrats and the triumph of racial politics.

You Tube Video: Look Away Dixieland.

Risk: Political, Cultural, Racial

April 24, 2008 Posted by | Clinton, democracy, democrats, politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment