Always the Bottom Line

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
–Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress, Misattributed to John Steinbeck

Disgruntled whites walk the
streets of Cleveland waving
posters in front of the T.V.
cameras, “Socialism Doesn’t
Work.” Blue collar, disgrunt-
led, ordinary, not particularly
pretty, out of shape whites,
left overs from the Tea Party
— the base, the pundits call
them, sit in the convention
center cheering the illusion
before them — That’s Entertain-
ment!”
On stage — a mere
man reputed to have little hands
walks out of the smoke as if by
magic, to be greeted by wannabes,
then beautiful, white millionaires
and billionaires, thousand dollar
suits, thousand dollar dresses,
thousands and thousands of dollars
in plastic surgery, foreign accents,
Greta Garbo in Flesh and the Devil,
parade on stage in all their finery.
They toss red meat to the hungry
crowd but never think to ask them
over for dinner and drinks, Beef
Wellington and Russian vodka.
The Big Lie plays on, the crowd
roars, nobody in the booth calls
it for what it is afraid of losing
a job, fired by the corporate wigs
who sit at home nursing a small
batch bottle of bourbon, very
much in vogue, checking the ratings
and thinking about the bottom line,
always the bottom line.

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