Thanksgiving in Baghdad -- and at home

November 22, 2008 by susan

What an odd season it is. Our emotions swing like the stock market -- the high of Obama's election to the low of the three tone-deaf auto CEO's, begging for dollars from we-the-people because they couldn't sell their you-the-dope gas hogs. If they couldn't read the public mood enough to know that showing up in three separate corporate jets to beg for a bailout wasn't an effective PR strategy, is it any wonder they failed to notice that the foreign auto makers were thumpin' their buttery leather bums with smaller fuel-efficient cars? (To add to their very bad no good day, their octogenarian water boy, the hide-bound Rep. John Dingell, also took a thumpin' and lost his post as chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee, replaced by Henry Waxman, one of the few Dems with a zest for digging deep and a proponent of controls on auto emissions to help curb global warming.)
Gobble ahead for more.

But, as with any behemoth, it's nearly impossible to let them sink into the oily pits they've created, because so many of their employees, retirees, suppliers and other small businesses depend on them. This is why smart farmers and foresters tend to vary their crops. If a disease or fungus strikes, it doesn't take down the whole operation.

Bidness, on the other hand, has spent the last decade or so merging and conglomerating and mega-fying. Think North West Airlines and Delta. Think Wells-Fargo and Norwest bank. Think Target, Wal-mart, Cost-co and any other big box store. If the underpinnings of Wal-mart came unpinned, the world economy would collapse with a giant hissing sound. Didn't there used to be laws against this sort of monopoly, even if it's a monopoly of three?
Michael Moore, who started hammering away at the stupidity and callousness of the tone-deaf auto execs 20 years ago in his film, Roger and Me, agrees that we need to bail them out for the sake of all the little guys it'll hurt if we don't. But, he says, not before all the top brass get fired and a new team takes over. Not sure who he has in mind for the job --some loaners from Toyota?

Others suggest giving several million deserving Americans enough money to buy one of the guzzlers sitting in the lots. The Oprah plan, writ large. Pumps money back into the industry, helps the dealers and their employees, and unloads a whole bunch of cars no one wants. Also helps the oil companies, who need more money like bacon needs more fat, and clogs our streets and poisons our air, but hey, nothin's perfect.

So, we move into Thankgiving breathlessly watching our president-elect establish his cabinet and wishing that our president-disgraced, ignoring the wreckage of his reign with his now familiar post-Katrina detachment, would just go away.

Remember happier Thanksgiving days when he posed with a Texas-sized turkey on a platter, feedin' the troops in a mess tent in Mesopotamia? This year he was stuffed, trussed, and hung in effigy from a light post by those Iraqi ingrates, right next to the pedestal where the statue of Saddam Hussein was famously toppled. (By us.) No wonder he's in Peru promoting free markets. Sure beats eating crow back in Mess-o-Potomac.

These ups and downs make for a schizophrenic Thanksgiving -- enormous gratitude for the new hope that Obama brings us on the one hand, sadness over the economic hardships facing so many and deep uncertainity on the other.

But at least the turkeys are plentiful, and easily spotted despite their well-tailored suits and the Zegna ties carefully knotted over their wattles.

And this year, at least in this house, no one's going to be granting them any pardons.

Posted in


barbara says (not verified) | November 22, 2008 - 6:36pm

What in the world is a Zegna tie? Anything like a Pyrrhic victory?


susan | November 22, 2008 - 7:25pm

What?? Never heard of Ermenegildo Zegna ties? Italian ties that sell for, oh, $80 on the discount sites, more every where else. Can't imagine why. But I get your point. Is it anything like a Gordian knot?


barbara says (not verified) | November 22, 2008 - 7:51pm

See, that's why I love you, girl. You get my point(s).