“Hi, I’m a millennial, and I’ve become disillusioned.”
After reading Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia I began considering how supporting the Democratic platform perpetuates greed and excess on Wall Street. Now that we’re approaching an election, and campaign images are getting plastered everywhere, reading this book brings to mind the choices Leftists are currently being denied and the images that aren’t being shown.
I bet we won’t hear about how Obama appointee Ben Bernanke resembles his predecessor Alan Greenspan, the former Ayn-Rand-minded Federal Reserve Chairman, to whom Taibbi devotes an entire chapter called, “The Biggest Asshole in the Universe.” I doubt we’ll hear Tom Hanks narrate, “Really Obamacare was designed as a straight money trade… A radical reshaping of the entire economy, for two election cycles’ worth of campaign cash…” They’ll definitely avoid how Democrats worked with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to bail out Goldman Sachs, the company he once headed, who coincidentally was the largest corporate donor to Obama’s campaign in 2008.
The book offers a truth that is stingingly poignant to the lifestyle Americans have led in the past few decades. Mounting debt is an issue seemingly no college student, homeowner, car owner, or teenager with a credit card can avoid in this country. Everyone knows someone who has lost their house, gone through bankruptcy, or defaulted on their student loans. All of these people are victims of predatory lending from large companies who make a profit from their suffering. And the saddest part is our government got rid of laws put in place after the Great Depression that prevented this from happening.
A recent development is the rise of ad hoc community meetings where Leftists congregate to speak about these issues. They’re held in church basements, art galleries, public parks, on stoops in front of houses, wherever a group of people can come together after being forced out of complacency. In one room you’ll have a handful of Socialists, and in the next an A. A. meeting or a support group. The idea is to discuss what’s bothering us about society and how we can change it. The problem is everyone’s looking for someone to blame, but few can articulate Wall Street’s influence in government as what’s subverting democracy. I look to Taibbi, Danny Schechter, and Yves Smith for guidance on this topic.
Disillusionment to the binary of bad being inextricably linked with good is setting in. I’m beginning to think the bottom-up system is corrupted beyond repair, and that there aren’t any heroes among these villains. So I’m stuck—stuck contemplating a system that requires individuals to willingly accept the responsibility of serving their country while not screwing over constituents. Stuck wondering why key positions like Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Chairman aren’t elected by citizens. Stuck between two cronyistic parties.
 Matt Taibbi, Griftopia (New York: Spiegel & Grau Trade Paperbacks, 2011), 176.