The rank odors wafting from the Beltway, the Pentagon and Wall Street seems impossible to deal with. Neither demonstrations nor screeds make any sort of impact. The three roll on, impervious to the masses that pay the price for their actions and schemes.
One of the reasons it's so difficult is that we think of them as hierarchies with the implication being that if we could only neutralize the head the body would wither and die.
The problem is that there is no hierarchy; nobody is in charge. Rather, there is a circle, a toxic feedback loop that goes round and round reinforcing itself with each passage of whatever it is that gives it its rationale for being. Often it is a buzzword, an incantation or a magic word that moves like a particle in a centrifuge, picking up speed with each pass.
There’s the Wall Street circle where the magic word is “grow.” Then there’s the Pentagon circle where the word is “more.” Finally, there is the Beltway circle where the particle “power” moves faster than the speed of light. Slowly, the three circles are converging to make one big circle, each feeding on the other.
All circles are made up of arcs, the tiny segments that make up their circumferences. Remove one arc and the circle simply adjusts its circumference and closes the gap. This allows for the sacrifice of the occasional lamb like a Madoff or a Skilling. These sacrifices delude the public into thinking that the system is self regulating. If too many arcs are removed, there are others waiting in the wings, all too willing to step in and keep the circle whole.
The circles are not made up entirely of the powerful. An integral part of every circle is the wannabe underlings with their dreams of promotion and glory. The truth is, they don’t really need a leader. The circle is self-supporting.
As always, a closed circle excludes all who are not parts of its circumference.
That’s democracy, American style.