Friday, September 30, 2011

Greider: U.S. political system destabilized, deformed, deteriorating

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 11:20 AM

As of Thursday, journalist William Greider didn’t know for certain exactly what it is he will be saying when he comes to Dearborn on Saturday to speak at a fundraiser for the local branch of the Democratic Socialists of America.

He did know two things though:

  1. He didn’t want the speech, which will focus on economic issues and jobs, to be completely filled with doom and gloom and

  2. Fulfilling his first goal won’t be easy, because Greider has built a long and very successful career on calling things the way he see ’em, and at this point finding reason to be optimistic about the direction of America’s economy is a difficult task.

“I don’t want to bullshit people,” says Greider.

But we already knew the guy is far from being a bullshitter.

Over a 40-year career, he’s worked at papers large and small, including the Washington Post, where he directed national political coverage. Then, in the 1980s, he went to Rolling Stone magazine, where he wrote a regular political column for 17 years and, in his spare time, began cranking out a string of best-selling books.

He is now national affairs correspondent for The Nation magazine, the granddaddy of America’s political journals.

When he talked to us by phone from his office in D.C., he — ever the good reporter — started the interview by asking us questions. He wanted to know how things were going in Detroit.

We responded by telling him what he already knew: people here are struggling. He, as well as anyone, has kept an unblinking eye on what’s going on when it comes to the state of this nation’s economy.

“I wish I could be cheerful,” he says. “But I think this country is in for a long, hard slog.”

Although the recession that began a few years ago didn’t match the pain inflicted by the Great Depression, Greider says that, in some ways, the recent downturn is in some ways more “profound.”

In the 1920s and ’30s, despite the economic collapse, America was still an emerging industrial economy. What we are experiencing now is the result of a long-term decline in that industrial base. Even if he economy does achieve some sort of stability, the prospects for significant growth over the long haul aren’t great, especially given what’s going on with the global economy.

Because of that, he predicts, there is a high likelihood of a kind of ping-pong political turmoil going on. With neither major party steering toward a sustainable economic course, the fiscal floundering is apt to continue, and a suffering electorate will be prone to punishing whoever is in power as frustration grows.

“We are now in a destabilized political system that is already deformed and deteriorating,” he says. “We’re going to see unanswered public anxiety pushing support for both parties going back and forth.”

And is it possible that sort of dissatisfaction and turmoil might result in a third party gaining real traction?

We plan on gong to hear Greider speak Saturday, and hope to get his take on that question. Look for our coverage of the event in next week’s News Hits column.

If you’d rather hear what he has to say for your self, tickets for the event, which costs $40, can be reserved by calling David Green at 248-761-4203. You can also pick them up at the door. The fundraiser, which begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, is being held in Dearborn at UAW 600, 10550 Dix.



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